Gigi La­mayne is cer­tain to raise eye­brows with her first full-length al­bum and not only for its lyri­cal con­tent, writes He­len Herimbi

Gigi La­mayne looks into the crowd and de­clares: “iGe­n­e­sis is go­ing to go gold! It’s go­ing to be the first al­bum by a fe­male hip hop artist to go gold in Africa.” She looks se­ri­ous about it too.

Dur­ing her Live N ReYired per­for­mance – which is an un­plugged ses­sion hosted by the Gaut­eng ra­dio sta­tion and cul­tural in­sti­tu­tion, YFM – the rap­per, whose real name is Gen­e­sis Gabriella Tina Man­ney, treated a mixed au­di­ence of much older peo­ple and tweens to a pre­view of some of the songs that will ap­pear on her new al­bum.

Dur­ing her Live N ReYired per­for­mance – which is an un­plugged ses­sion hosted by the Gaut­eng ra­dio sta­tion and cul­tural in­sti­tu­tion, YFM – the rap­per, whose real name is Gen­e­sis Gabriella Tina Man­ney, treated a mixed au­di­ence of much older peo­ple and tweens to a pre­view of some of the songs that will ap­pear on her new al­bum.

Hot on the heels of re­leas­ing a trend­ing mix­tape, that spawned ra­dio-friendly sin­gles like Shisa, and grad­u­at­ing with a Bach­e­lor of Arts De­gree in me­dia and an­thro­pol­ogy with four dis­tinc­tions and at the top of her Wits class, one would as­sume Gigi wants to take a mo­ment to catch her breath.

Not so. The 21-year-old, who was named one of the faces of Moshito 2016, is ready to drop her de­but full-length al­bum, iGe­n­e­sis (which is a play on her name), at the end of next month.

Not so. The 21-year-old, who was named one of the faces of Moshito 2016, is ready to drop her de­but full-length al­bum, iGe­n­e­sis (which is a play on her name), at the end of next month.

“It’s just go­ing to be a schiz­o­phrenic al­bum,” she re­peat­edly says on the show that is hosted by DJ Sabby. On the al­bum, the Ice Cream rap­per will fea­ture the likes of Riky Rick, Proverb and Dun­can.

Son­i­cally, iGe­n­e­sis has a lot of dance el­e­ments, a lot of sing­ing in the pop vein and main­stream rap beams. It’s clear that Gigi is work­ing hard to es­tab­lish her­self as more than just your lit­tle sis­ter. On this night, she rocks faux locs in a mo­hawk style, leather short-shorts and knee-high boots.

Son­i­cally, iGe­n­e­sis has a lot of dance el­e­ments, a lot of sing­ing in the pop vein and main­stream rap beams. It’s clear that Gigi is work­ing hard to es­tab­lish her­self as more than just your lit­tle sis­ter. On this night, she rocks faux locs in a mo­hawk style, leather short-shorts and knee-high boots.

It’s clear she’s all grown up. Many of the

songs she pre­viewed are about love and imag­in­ing “be­ing your wife”, like on Silly Lit­tle Girl. Over a kwaito base­line on a song called Gu­luva, which is her mom’s favourite, Gigi lets the ’hood in her come out. She ex­plains that the song is about “be­ing in love with a gang­ster. We like bad boys; we don’t like guys who be­have. My lit­tle cousins are here,” she sud­denly re­mem­bers and looks into the crowd: “Block your ears!”

Con­tin­u­ing with her so­cially con­scious side af­ter ap­pear­ing on Chan­nel O to pass the Fees Must Fall mes­sage, Gigi has a song called Ju­manji. The ex­pla­na­tion? “The song is about a lady called Penny Spar­row who didn’t have some nice things to say about us.” The cho­rus? I’m a proud mon­key/I live in Ju­manji/I’m a proud mon­key/And no one can stop me.

Con­tin­u­ing with her so­cially con­scious side af­ter ap­pear­ing on Chan­nel O to pass the Fees Must Fall mes­sage, Gigi has a song called Ju­manji. The ex­pla­na­tion? “The song is about a lady called Penny Spar­row who didn’t have some nice things to say about us.” The cho­rus? I’m a proud mon­key/I live in Ju­manji/I’m a proud mon­key/And no one can stop me.

Con­tin­u­ing with her so­cially con­scious side af­ter ap­pear­ing on Chan­nel O to pass the Fees Must Fall mes­sage, Gigi has a song called Ju­manji. The ex­pla­na­tion? “The song is about a lady called Penny Spar­row who didn’t have some nice things to say about us.” The cho­rus? I’m a proud mon­key/I live in Ju­manji/I’m a proud mon­key/And no one can stop me.

With­out con­text, this song is go­ing to ruf­fle a few feath­ers. But what’s hip hop with­out a bit of controversy, right? Gigi talks a good game, but seems like she still isn’t all that com­fort­able stand­ing alone on stage.

With­out con­text, this song is go­ing to ruf­fle a few feath­ers. But what’s hip hop with­out a bit of controversy, right? Gigi talks a good game, but seems like she still isn’t all that com­fort­able stand­ing alone on stage.

It’s only when her DJ steps out from be­hind the booth to hype her up that her eyes change from clin­i­cally go­ing through the mo­tions to a bit of a sparkle. At that mo­ment, she seems like she’s re­ally en­joy­ing her­self.

When alone, it’s like she’s learning how to fake it till she makes it, but doesn’t re­alise she’s al­ready well on her way to achiev­ing what a lot of women haven’t in Mzansi hip hop. Here’s hop­ing she gains more stage con­fi­dence past her gen­e­sis.