On: AKA

After hearing his new album Helen Herimbi quizzes AKA about love, liquor and lyrics A day after AKA returns home from Cannes, France, he’s hooked up to an IV at Reviv wellness centre in Johannesburg. He’s there for some rejuvenation after travelling and before he releases his third solo album, Touch My Blood, this Friday. He’s also adamant about telling me his view of the backlash he received after releasing a single called Beyoncé a few weeks ago. With lines like even made the f**k*ng news on that Mozambique trip and waited two years just to see you with your weave off , the public assumption is that the song is about AKA’s ex, TV personality, Bonang Matheba. After the song dropped, some corners of social media began calling AKA’s expression through song bitter. “I would just like to say I am not the first person to make a song about a relationship or about a girl,” he tells me then shrugs. “I would also like to say if you guys didn’t know, or assume you know who the song is about, then you wouldn’t give a f**k.” Well, alright. Touch My Blood has 16 tracks produced by the likes of Tweezy, Makwa6eats, Buks, Anatii, Tazzy and Nigeria’s Kiddominant along with AKA and Master A Flat. Not all of the tracks are about that relationship. In fact, the themes that jump out are: a nostalgia about soccer, heavy discussions about presidents, a bit of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Bheki Cele and a whole lot of drinking. “We speak about soccer all the time,” says the 30-year-old artist whose real name is Kiernan Forbes. “In fact, while making this album, we would watch old soccer YouTube videos – like Jogo Bonito, old Ronaldo – just to get inspired. We even made a song that didn’t make the album and the sample came from soccer.” Some of the results include paying homage to Bennie McCarthy’s classic Shibobo verse on Fela, featuring Kiddominant. This is also a song that sees AKA try out his best pidgin flow. There’s even what feels like a Read More …

On: AKA

AKA is silently sitting on the edge of a white couch. He is unfazed by the din of his band and other hangers-on. Next to AKA, Anatii takes Boomerang after Boomerang of himself on his cellphone in his shiny Michael Jackson-inspired outfit. But AKA doesn’t notice. He stares past the catering table of fruit, chicken and mountains of bottles of vodka and champagne. For the first time since we arrived at his dressing room at the Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards at the Sandton ICC, the rapper, businessman and self-proclaimed pop artist is quiet. I ask him what he’s thinking about. He looks up at me and nonchalantly says: “All the things that could go wrong.” Why? I quiz him. A crescent of a smile creeps up on his face and he says: “So I can figure out how to stop them.” REWIND On a chilly Saturday night, I am invited to follow AKA as he performs at three back-to-back gigs and hosts the Mayweather vs McGregor fight. For Gauteng gigs, there are usually nine personnel and friends who travel with the artist whose parents named him Kiernan Forbes. That’s what AKA’s road manager, Tshiamo Letshwene tells me. I lose count of the heads but by the third gig of the night only the ones who can handle such a rigorous schedule are left. I expect to jump in his Viano but, the driver tells me, the V-Class is a newer, better ride. We wait at his home for a little while before he gets into the car so I ask AKA if he was sleeping. “No,” he shakes his head, “I was packing for all these shows. It’s like packing for a trip.” At the ICC, his team keeps him in the middle as we walk through corridors to the dressing room. They take such long, swift strides that I realise just how short I am. They slow down but don’t stop when we pass a door. The name on the wall next to the door reads Bonang Matheba. He gently opens the door and all I hear is a Read More …