Rouge is water. Straight up. I think one of her greatest qualities is her ability to adapt and then add to that. We heard it with Bua featuring Reason. We heard it on the Baddest remix. Her versatility allows her to bend without it ever seeming like a tight fit – all while (to me, anyway) enjoying the ride that is finding her voice.
So when I saw that she had dropped a song on the same day as uRiky Akbar, I wondered what style she’d hit us up with next. I’m happy to say while Mbongo-Zaka is not uber current – and I feel like it’s a sliiiiight nod to the Nicki vocal switch-ups – it’s really dope.
Again, she’s pushing to show us her dexterity. While it’s not a middle finger to the industry, the aspirational first verse is a wink at the boxes outlined for her (as a newcomer and as a woman? I dunno) by listicle makers and testicle garglers. And then she comes back, flips it in another language (hip me to what it is, Rouge) aaaand reminds you she can sing. Gurrrl.
Plus that “I’m just trying to get paid” is hella catchy.
And then, Nomuzi “Moozlie” Mabena is the featured artist. I’ve said it a few times and I’ll say it again: whether you like her popping off quicker than someone who has been rapping longer or not, Moozlie has the potential to really cash in on being a woman who raps in this country. Further than any woman has yet.
I love that she addresses those Petty Labelle rumours of her needing a guy to push her pen. She says: “I’m gonna show you that ghostwriting shit that you talking on Twitter is just so absurd.”
Oh, today, Cashtime Life announced that they’ve dropped Moozlie from the label. Through a short email, the label said: “We no longer shared the same vision with Ms Mabena and we thus elected to release her from Cashtime Life.” I wonder if she’ll keep the Skhanda Queen moniker.
I’m still cheering for Moozlie whether she goes back to TV – now that she’s also parted ways with MTV – or gets on her indie music hustle, or both.
One last thing I want to say about Mbongo-Zaka, it’s gravely concerning to me that Rouge raps: “no publishing, no management but still rock it.” The management she can figure out on her own but no publishing? That’s counter to the zaka message, no?
I really dig this song. What do you think of Mbongo-Zaka?