It’s always great to see an artist feel their music the way you do. Not in a “I know I’m the sh**” kind of way but as someone who genuinely enjoys good music. That is exactly what CashTime Life’s Ma-E did as he presented his solo debut to a select audience during his listening party last night.
The event, held at Bassline in Newtown, comes ahead of the release of his first solo album, titled Township Counsellor.
Ma-E said he was heavily influenced by his relationship with the music he listened to in the late 90s, the experiences he had growing up ekasi, as well as the things he learned from the older men in his life. The rapper also attributes his humility and gratitude to this upbringing.
While sharing what influenced the album and the story behind each track, Ma-E made sure to assure the crowd “this album is going to be so fire. Trust me, I worked so hard…” and by the sounds of it, he really did. Which would explain why he was seemingly calm about the release.
Fans may already know the tracks “uGogo,” “Ke Summer,” and “Siyaz’philela” which Ma-E said he dropped as a single for the streets (an unofficial single) to give fans a taste of what Township Counsellor will be all about.
The official album single however, which made its radio debut on Metro FM, is called “Lie 2 Me” and it features AKA. I can confidently predict that this track is going to be a banger. The beat had the crowd moving from the jump and both AKA and Ma-E brought the heat with their verses.
Other features include Maggz, PRO, Sean Pages, Kid X and Emtee – most of whom were in attendance last night.
this album is going to be so fire. Trust me, I worked so hard… – Ma-E
According to Ma-E, another major aim of the project was to inspire the next generation of artists and put them on. “The focus of the project – more than anything was motivating the people and motivating the youngins. Letting them know that if you believe in yourself, and if you associate yourself with the right people and if you work hard on your craft, you go anywhere,” he said.
One of these youngins is CashTime’s in-house producer, Lunatik, who co-produced majority of the beats on the album. This comes on the back of working on K.O’s Skhanda Republic.
Lunatik said he was “happy and inspired to do more and change the game more” after seeing the way attendees reacted to the beats on the track’s he co-produced. He actually has upcoming projects with Ambitouz Entertainment and has beats for Fifi Cooper, Saudi and Emtee in the works.
Emtee’s Ambitiouz label mate, DJ City Lyts, said he was overwhelmed by how happy he was to see Ma-E finally venture out on his own. As a fan, he’s been listening to Ma-E for ages and wanting him to release a solo project. “He’s the niggah that knows what to say. He’s a real hood, Soweto guy, so I can relate to everything he says. From the first song to the last song, I can hear a lot of the things I experienced as a youngin’,” he added.
Emtee echoed City Lyts’ view that the album’s narrative is “hella authentic.” He went on to add “there’s this song where he talks about seeing a girl in the hood but you always feel afraid when you see her, always afraid to approach her and that’s a common situation in the hood.” That song is a track called “Uyang’chaza.”
Emtee didn’t want to give away too much about what to expect from his label in future. All he could say was “expect anything because we’re the guys that like to just surprise people.”
Ma-E’s Label mate Kid X, who is also featured on a track on Township Counsellor is the next CashTime artist to release something and we can expect in quite soon. No dates have been release as yet but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you guys.
From first listen, my personal favourites (which just so happen to be some of Ma-E’s favourites) are the tracks called Lie 2 Me, Uyang’chaza, Hlasela, and Ok’salayo. He is also very proud of his collaboration with PRO on a track called On My Way as well as the songs called Uyangizwa, Ringa and TseBlind.
The only criticism would be that the album does not have enough cross over appeal to introduce Ma-E to music lovers who may have no experience of life ekasi. Granted, the album is called Township Counsellor but Lie 2 Me is not enough to entice a different kind of listener to check out the whole album.
The album’s narrative also neglects to reflect on how far Ma-E has come as an artist and a man. There is not enough focus on his transition from past to present. Here’s hoping he is saving that for his next project…
Township Counsellor drops TOMORROW (25 March) so I hope you’re all ready to go out there and get it!
You can check out Ma-E’s Video for the hit single “Siyaz’philela” below:
Article co-written by Mohau Mamafha (@strawhatmo)
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