Namebe Soul: FELA (prod. by Soulace Music)
A casual Sunday read
Hey guys, so I’ve started a new column called That New Sh*t where I’ll be reviewing new songs and albums that come out. I decided to go with That New Sh*t because it’s literally that new sh*t. It’s like when your friends ask you if you’ve heard that new song or album that’s come out and their like “…has dropped that new sh*t”. That’s the kinda vibe I’m going for with this. Something natural, something dope, something that flows and where better to start than by reviewing FELA – a new song released by my good friend Namebe Soul.
FELA is the newest track from his forthcoming EP Souvenirs, which is set to drop on 6th August. The track produced by Soulace Music was largely influenced by the extraordinary and multi-faceted musician Fela Kuti. Namebe actually told me that the inspiration behind the song came, when him and his friends were looking through Fela samples. He ‘spat the rhyme on the beat’ like a true lyricist and got called ‘Fela Chuku’ by one of his guys, which I thought was pretty jokes. He took off his last name and ran with it. That’s how the name FELA came about.
Before I give it the ‘In the writers mind’ seal of approval (oh I kinda like that actually), I’d like to start by talking a bit about the artwork for the EP. All credit to Chris Donlon of course for his artistic flair! To me, the artwork is reminiscent of what I believe to be really authentic and interesting about hip hop. That is the ability to tell a story through rhyme. Namebe has cleverly used the cover to display the story of his past and his present. He reveals himself to the viewer through the artwork, helping us to get a sense of what the EP will sound like. It actually took me back to Kendrick’s cover for Section.80 which was also a reveal into the person behind the music.
The Bible highlights Namebe’s faith, the football marks his hobbies and the music represents his deepest passion. Together, the ‘souvenirs’ in the box shape the person that he is today. FELA definitely corresponds with themes in the artwork. “Cause I had to fight for this I stay alive for this,” Namebe raps inspiring strength through his lyrics. This can also be taken as a reference to his passion to pursue a career in music. He begins the track with the fierce repetition of “Hear them chanting, say their coming, pointing fists but we ain’t running”. His flow is melodic and his use of wordplay such as “sabre thoughts, sword words” cuts deep and makes us think – the mark of a true lyricist. He talks of how “having no desire” or “no reach to get higher” can hold us back from our true calling. He makes us look inside ourselves, reflect on where we are at the moment and where we should be.
“Move through the shadows of evil, with a mic in my right hand and a wound on my left”. Yoooo! Let me tell you…I loved this lyric. It immediately brought the image of the Bible in his box of souvenirs to my attention. What I also took from that line is that Namebe is trying to preach a message through his music, but it won’t be easy (hence the wound). He goes on to talk about how he hopes that his music will leave a mark/live on as part of his legacy. He sees a flawed generation and talks of a world where hip hop “will change the kids”. He speaks of a better future through music and his hope is inspiring to us all. Then to top it off he ends the song with the powerful statement “My God is great” and we are left anticipating his next moves. Given that Namebe is an independent artist with lyrics such as this he is one you need to watch.
If you want to find out more about the artist…click here to read my full interview with him!