Motheo Moleko’s first release as a solo artist kicks off with big, punctuated hits from a horn section and booming drums as trumpet soars over the top. From the first note the track is bursting at the seams. It’s a grand entrance. Twenty seconds in a sharp tempo change brings in the verse and it’s clear that Moleko’s creativity has not fizzled.
The first verse is full of “maybes” and “latelys” as he wrestles with social and political issues happening locally. His lyrics are politically charged but steer clear of criticism in favour of hope. The vocal tone lines up neatly with the message as Moleko lets the horn section do most of the shouting. It sounds secure but never timid. His love for words is highly apparent and he is as much a writer as a musician. He’s tapped deeply into the South African experience and distilled it into meaningful lyrics that ring truer than ever in light of the spate of protests sweeping South Africa in the last month.
In the outro, things get jazzier. Live instrumentation allows for a blend of pleasingly organic hip hop. Paired with the lyrical style that Moleko has made himself known for, the combination is powerful and, perhaps most importantly, thought-provoking.
‘Ruse’ is a stunning piece of South African music that puts egos aside and seeks to create awareness and inspire change for everyone willing to listen. We need more of this.
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Listen to ‘Ruse’ below.