When I was told few weeks ago that Lesotho’s Morena Leraba was working on a new track with producers from Brazil, I didn’t really know what to expect. Obviously intercontinental collaboration is how I got to know him when he created a track with Kashaka last year (and I also happened to call the initial bits of that very song one of the best moments in tropical music in 2016 which you can read about here) but South American rhythms mixed with his strong vocals performed in Sesotho would be something completely different. And then there was also his Bophelo Ba Ntsupe which had its world premiere in my Basy Tropikalne radio show in August – this track, in turn, is more delicate and sees Leraba actually singing rather than rapping.
Impepho – a single that’s being released tomorrow via Subterrâneo Records – proves to exhibit yet another side of Morena Leraba but first things first: the track is in fact not only the aforementioned collaboration between two continents (with Brazil being represented by Nordeste de Amaralina’s Trap Funk & Alivio) but also brings together two African nations as Lesotho is joined by South Africa personified by Johannesburg-based rapper Mankind. Early seconds of Impepho are already surprising with the song beginning sounding as though it’s been taken out of some lost NAAFI’s mixtape. Then Leraba’s powerful voice comes in and similarly to last year’s Lithebera it’s a huge moment. The music remains quite dark and gloomy throughout the whole track which in this sense is a new experience for me with this Mosotho artist. By no means it’s a disadvantage though as both Morena’s and Mankind’s verses fit those beats perfectly with their firm and at times aggressive manner of rapping.
Good job done on so many levels.