Review

Meet KWA:LIA: the PE rapper who has emerged from the depths of his head with relatable visual for single “Graves”

After a period of existential hibernation, boom bap-inspired silver fox KWA:LIA (real name Jean du Toit) has emerged from his burrow with debut self-produced single, “Graves” fit with symbolically charged visuals.

The Port Elizabeth-based artist’s sonic signature stems from a combination of riff-based rock with hip hop style drumming influenced by legends like Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, Wu Tang and Run DMC.

After bringing the boom to bars with bands since 2002, “Graves” is the first solo single released off KWA:LIA’s larger project – a four-track EP titled Writes of Passage inspired by the philosophy of self, due to drop any minute. 

KWA:LIA pulled good friend and fellow film confidant Chris Allen of Allen Visuals and his cousin, Riaan du Toit into the single’s visual playground. Allen’s gimbal work at a drained waterpark threads together with the intensity of du Toit’s underwater scenes, and actual vintage photos and footage of Jean’s parents and ancestors, speak to a nostalgic mourning for the death of a certain self. 

While questioning free will, identity and what influences a person’s ultimate life experience, “Graves” is a hard wave goodbye to one developmental phase in life and a skeptical nod to the next.