Africa Beats: Tumi Molekane, South Africa’s hip-hop poet

Afrobeat Bloc

South African rapper Tumi Molekane is as much a poet as he is a musician – and his thought-provoking lyrics are delivered with easy grace.

For the BBC’s Africa Beats series he has reunited with Mozambican guitarist Tiago Correia-Paulo, from his former group The Volume, to perform Signs.

He says the song was inspired by a cockroach in his kitchen, which he assumed had scuttled off into a crack in the wall.

“But then I started to think… what if this cockroach just disappeared? We always rationalise these things away.”

His latest album, Rob the Church – made after a year travelling and performing around Africa and making the documentary Afrique – has a contemporary hip-hop sound, but the African influence is there in the shape of polyrhythms and Afrobeat syncopations.

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