Laliboi’s video for “Emonti” is a wholesome and progressive take on deep cultural ties

LaliBoi (real name Siphosenkosi Nkodlwane) fuses his rural Xhosa roots with a streetwise township flavour to create a deeply unique fusion of traditional tribal music and hip-hop delinquencies. It’s just about the most culturally rich and relevant thing I have heard this year.

Vocalist and mult-instrumentalist, he first took on the scene as a trumpeter, and has worked his way through the ranks of radio stations, jazz bands and sizzling collaborations until today.

Here he takes on earthy Xhosa rhythm with a dash of jazz inflection and forward-thinking originality. The beats are courtesy of Township Tech magician Spoek Mathambo and they lend just the right dose of contemporary inflection to chart LaliBoi’s sound right at the top.

“Emonti” is awash in African rhythm and growling traditionalism, pinned to a muffled-bass beat, paging synths and rap verses laid down with percussion on his very tongue. The video takes it back to the bush. Knobkerrie in hand, stretchers in ears. Friends break out dance moves in a crumbling building, and grapple with sticks in a golden field in turn. A blue-lipped woman turns heads.

Its a wholesome and beautifully progressive take on deep cultural ties – and it’s utterly authentic.