On 9 November, rapper AKA announced to the Megacy, as his fanbase is affectionately known, that his third studio album, Touch My Blood had gone platinum, meaning that 30 000 copies had been sold.
Touch My Blood, as the title suggests, is the closest fans have got to the artist through his music. His previous albums, Altar Ego (2012), Levels (2014) and the 2017 collaboration with Anatii, Be Careful What You Wish For, were also strikingly personal. But on Touch My Blood, in a departure from the usual subject matter of South Africa’s mainstream hip-hop, the rapper shares his take on the country’s politics.
The eponymous opening track impresses in its subtle revelation of AKA’s politics. On Touch My Blood, AKA is telling his story, remembering his rise and basking in his success.
They told me to relax, I massage my own ego
Started me a band and clocked Guitar Hero
Brasse Vannie Kaap, we not from Mondeor
People of the South, they bump me not ’migos
I swim in the tank with sharks, and not Nemos
Evil people who act like Don Cheadle
I can smell a rat, the Axe is strong deo
He goes on to ask: “How do we get the land and banks from white people?”
As a coloured man, he recalls the limited privileges he enjoyed during apartheid. He interrogates the position he occupies in post-apartheid South Africa: “Pre-94, I was a larney/ Post-94, kwenzakalani [what’s happening]?”
He gives his take:
Grandfolks voted for the party that threw us in the garbage
Mmusi Maimane says that we the next Zimbabwe
All I see is Zimbali from my suite in Dubane
As with many of us, the political and the personal are intrinsically connected for AKA. But his refusal to look beyond his own reality in his rebuttal to the DA leader shows his capitalist leanings. This revelation is echoed in the track Mame, featuring JR, which in its directness, sounds like the album’s mandatory socially conscious song:
So what if uBaba bought a big house?
Ten years on an island for your big mouth or suffer in silence
This is our time; pull an i8 and X6 out
What now? Lunchtime gravy?
Fuck you, pay me!
For AKA the reward for fighting for freedom is money. According to the rapper, our former president [Jacob Zuma] had every right to plunder the state’s coffers for his personal gain. After all, he spent 10 years on Robben Island.
I feel like we on the edge
Do you want freedom or do you want a Beemer?
Even Mandela pulled up in a Benz