ART STATE Hip Hop Correspondent Thandeka Diphoko was invited to the launch of Thembile Thembile’s The UltraSound EP. After giving it a thorough listen, and a young chat with the MC, she tells us all about it.
Straight To The Music
8th Paradise sells you the dream of a better reality, the instrumentals are stunning but sad; the words are heartbreakingly beautiful in that he lays it all on the table, but still manages to convince you that everything is going to be okay.
Thembile David Dumayi, affectionately known as Thembile Thembile, was born and grew up in Botshabelo Free state, then moved to Thaba Nchu in 2016 and that’s where he is currently based.
One of 5 kids, the last one, he says as soon as he was born, his mother knew she had found the one, so she closed down the factory.
Dude loves music and he loves his family, this is pretty evident in his first project titled The UltraSound EP. He says he’s just a regular kid who has big dreams and won’t quit until they come true. Music is currently the only thing he does because if he’s not in studio, then he’s performing or hosting shows.
Back To The Music
On the opening track of the EP; 8th Paradise, Thembile raps about how he has given his all to the music, to his team and expresses how he has lost himself in all of it. While he seeks for a place where his heart can be at ease, it is through his music that he can articulate his feelings and clearly identify where he is and where he needs to be.
“Patience is everything, not just for the rewards of your hard work but being patient with yourself, being patient with the process of finding your individual self.”
A Reluctant Celebrity
A father, a husband, an artist and an overall awesome human being, Thembile Thembile shared with us that his biggest fear is becoming a celebrity, as he loves belonging to himself and his family. The Listening Session he held at Thaba Nchu proved just how much he appreciates his closest people but it also showed us how talented he is and how he still has a lot to offer the entertainment industry; he may not want to be a celebrity but I predict he’s going to be quite popular soon as you cannot ignore the talent, the skill, and the realness in his music.
The Alma Mata
Speaking of realness, the inspiration is and has always been his wife. In 2012 the couple decided that she’d work and he would do music full time.
“In 2015 she broke down in frustration, I wasn’t working as hard as I should’ve been. As she was crying and explaining how hard she was working for me to make music, my eyes opened. I started recording the Ultra Sound EP then.”
He talks about his wife, Tshegofatso, often throughout the EP but he also talks to her on songs like The Broke Poet and Love & Cheap Tattoos. A perfect approach on introducing Thembile Thembile to the world, Thembile wa Tshego; and together they own Ilema Records. This way he still belongs to himself and his family, but the world gets to know him and his music.
The Extended Play
“My proudest moment both personally and in my career was finally releasing the Ultra Sound EP. It is a very personal project and it took a while to create.”
Besides the laidback sound on songs like 8th Paradise, The Broke Poet, Love & Cheap Tattoos, the EP has some upbeat, bass’ed and beefed up singles like Kgetsi Kapa Lebokoso, which is personally one of my favourites; and on this joint Thembile flexes his skill like any rapper would be expected to and indeed he shows up and shows off in terms of lyricism and bars.
Before Kgetsi Kapa Lebokoso though, he comes through on a song titled Galase Moweng, which is the perfect build-up song as it is where the lyricism first comes out, solid bars, quirky punchlines and quite a few quotables – the man was after all, one of the best debaters in the country, as he was awarded national debating colours by the South African National Debate Council in 2003.
Thembile also used to make beats, until he wrote his first poem around 2009, and that poem became his first song around the year 2010.
He has also worked with a few talented local artists such as Nex; Tsebo; BigSize; Desperado and Geezues to name a few, and he feels each one taught him so much. “I would also like to work with Thandiswa Mazwai; Anderson Paak; Blaklez and Kendrick Lamar.”
Sedi Laka – The Lodestar
A song that has been getting a lot of airplay and quite a lot of requests is Sedi Laka. The seventh song on the EP, which Thembile decided to put up for free download on the 7th of January 2018, the day which was also his son’s birthday.
Now on this song a man makes a plea to God to hold him up and shine a light for him as everything seems bleak. A friend defined it as a powerful song with the most earnest lyrics she has heard from a rapper as yet, she described it as a song about faith that all things come together eventually, she felt it gave her a sense of hope. Another friend felt it spoke to her soul; shined a light on her worries and reminded her that we have a saviour.
Why did I ask my friends from different walks of life to listen to it? Because beautiful music is to be shared. This is one way the world connects. Whether a fan of Thembile or someone who was just introduced to his music, the message he shares resonates with anyone who lends him an ear.
The EP is beautiful, honest, well produced, well captured in terms of the execution of what he needs to say. He sings, he raps, he produces; and he has delivered.