Review

Hanna’s coming of age Guilt Free EP is rooted in self-love

On her new Guilt Free EP, Zimbabwean-Ethiopian lyricist, Hanna, swaps durags for declarations of self-love and positive affirmations and in doing so, crafts a delicate coming of age body of work that signals her new era.

What started as a way to process the persistent guilt Hanna felt from pursuing a rap career while still at UCT, then morphed into a self-reflexive body of work that allowed her to make sense of the chaos that ensued in the wake of her father passing away, and subsequently having her heart broken courtesy of a situationship.

Hanna channelled all those emotions into her week-long studio stint in Cape Town alongside Mike Zietsman (PHfat) and Luc Veermer, whose acute attention to detail in teasing out this EP’s best bits cannot be understated. Veermer’s work on the ambiently dark, trap-rooted “Metropolis” and gospel-tinged “All I Need” underscore Hanna’s ability to seamlessly transition from one genre to another while providing expert sonic texture.

Singles “Guilt Free” and “Pride” allow Hanna to work through themes of self-affirmation and self-respect, while “Props” featuring Nappy Katt (real name Katiso Molefe) is a feel-good reminder to be kind to yourself and sets the tone for the journey that you’re about to embark on.

With Guilt Free Hanna cleverly pivots to shatter any genre-rooted image of her that you might have had, appealing in the process to anyone who’s ever experienced insurmountable pain, leaned on themselves, and made it out the other side.