NGATANNGWE is the Setswana word for togetherness. The musical composition is inspired by the need to unite and come together in all aspects of life as Africans. From building strong families and communities to artists uniting towards a common cause as well as good international relations amongst countries in the continent in light of the mandate of the African Union.
I started writing the tracks for the album soon after the announcement of the COVID19 lockdown. Like everyone else, I found myself with a lot of ‘alone time’, which gave me a chance to look back, reflect and reminisce on all the blessings, achievements, disappointments and failures in my life. In track 8, CONSCIOUS, I take the listener through the journey that led to me being the artist that I am today and thought it necessary to highlight the importance of a conscious mindset for it requires consciousness for one to realise their purpose in life.
This was also during the time that my relationship with someone I truly loved ended so I was then mandated to reflect my emotions in song. I had jotted down the idea for track 4, RE LE MMOGO some 2 years prior when I started noticing cracks in the relationship but I could not fully extend my mind onto paper to finish it at the time but the circumstances around me as I was working on this project were somewhat fit for the idea to mature and come to pass.
The breakup was a lot to take and in the second verse, I had to literally beg and say ‘mathata a teng, kgaogana ga se karabo girl’ meaning problems are there, but separation is not the answer. and that led to a follow-up song SENKGANANG, a concept taken from a Setswana saying ‘senkganang se nthola morwalo’ meaning, that which rejects you, takes off the load from your shoulders. This was my way of accepting and dealing with the heartbreak I was going through and also learning to forgive and pushing myself to look forward.
Notwithstanding my experiences, I hold a lot of love and respect for all women. I found it pressing to highlight, albeit in my own way, that it is only through the togetherness of men and women that we can build strong families and communities in NAH STOP LOVE (track 6), BOTOBETOBE (track 12) and HOLD YOU DOWN (track 11). Listeners will quickly pick up that despite the varying aspects the tracks deal with, they all reflect back to the key concepts of the project, forgiveness, unity and togetherness, NGATANNGWE.
Financially I was at my lowest point but I knew that eventually, things would get better! I dealt with this in the last track of the album, DIRA where I said ‘dira ka iketlo fela soon o tla bona diphetogo’ in the chorus, meaning ‘keep on working towards your goals because soon you will see results’. This was a period during which many people suffered extreme stress and depression largely due to the Covid 19 pandemic, so meditation was important for me to manage and sustain myself through my troubles and, as a Rastaman, I would obviously consume some marijuana for motivation and to calm the nerves, hence the song MARY JANE featuring Mosah.
We have a unique style in the North West and Tswancehall is promoting the use of our own language to convey our message. We are deeply rooted in the African cultural and spiritual way of life. Due to the pandemic, a lot of artists lost hope in the arts and their craft. They could not perform to the public and were ultimately stripped of their key source of sustenance. It is therefore important for artists to unite like never before. Listen to BOKONE BOPHIRIMA VIBES, track 14 ‘welcome to Bokone Bophirima Vibes and see how we do it” presenting Tswancehall reggae as a unit to the world and highlighting that your brother or sister is not your enemy over petty issues, but rather we share a common enemy in the system that governs over us. In track 13, BATTLEFIELD, in the first verse i sing ‘ga ke batle go bona mi breda jaaka mi enemy just because we had a little bit of argument, there is a greater enemy ahead Europe, America haffi dead . So love to my Tswancehall family Ras Pablo, Ragga Damdee to mention a few.
Music being a competitive industry, I knew I had to stand my ground at all times and believe in myself Guarding against all sorts of badmind, bullying and negativity from the industry and media. RUFF (Rough) explains it all to say I might be a cool humble person but if provoked, I can also turn ruff. Marcus Garvey in his teachings stressed the importance of self-confidence and I incorporated that concept into track 2, RATINGS to point out that as a creative, I am at a point where I no longer need any validation in what I do because the Most High has blessed me with the necessary skill and talent. MI CROWN is a confidence booster for me personally and I am telling my people in the North West to crown me locally, within the province before engaging South Africa and the world at large.
Lastly, with the song U GOT MY BACK, I had to express my gratitude for the trust, love and support from my production team Lavoro Duro and LNT Sound, who have all played significant roles in the production, marketing and promotion of this album, reminding me that no man can do it alone, we all need like-minded people on our respective journeys, again emphasising the need for unity and togetherness, NGATANNGWE.
Thanks to Rastafari for the guidance RED I SCORCH