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Sho Madjozi continues to explore tradition and culture in What A Life

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Sho Madjozi’s new mixtape, What A Life, hears her continuing to explore her culture, which can either be the reason for her success or signify her reaching her musical peak.

Sho Madjozi released her mixtape, What A Life, on Friday, 27 November 2020. The mixtape marks her first release since signing her monumental recording deal with Epic Records. The mixtape has been tapped as a celebration, considering the whirlwind journey that Sho Madjozi has had in her three-year career as a fully-fledged musician.

Therefore, if Sho Madjozi’s debut album, Limpopo Champions League, was her introducing herself as a Xitsonga-speaking musician, then What A Life can be considered as her unapologetic full embrace of her tradition and culture. This has undoubtedly been her main differentiator in the music industry, as she has managed to make a name for herself by highlighting her relatively marginalised culture.

On the one hand, the advantage of this is that it has created a niche for Sho Madjozi. This has allowed her to spearhead the move towards embracing one’s culture, whilst shining a light on artists that seek to do the same. Moreover, it has ensured the continued support of her loyal and growing fan base of Xitsonga and affiliated language groups.

On the other hand, there is the threat of repelling previous consumers of her music who had previously not invested in learning about the musical genre that Sho Madjozi has brought to the fore. In her earlier years in the industry, Sho Madjozi used colloquial phrases and terms to make her music accessible and appealing to many.

The risk of using language as the main draw card is that some music lovers are not willing to understand the meaning of songs in another language. However, if the listener is unwilling to learn, then Sho Madjozi’s first album would be a better option because of its international appeal.

Upon listening to the mixtape, there is slight confusion about whether the mixtape is meant to be an introduction to her as an Epic Records signee, or an ode to her heritage and culture before international acclaim.

The mixtape is available for purchase on Apple Music.

Listen to What A Life below.

Sabelo Makhubo
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