“Music is my life, and I will make music for myself, but if I feel that I need to release something I will do it. I just don’t want to put pressure on myself and spoil the experience of making music,” Sjava once said in an interview with TshisaLIVE earlier this year.
And he has done nothing but make music and fulfill himself thereby. From a music obscurity, he has become one of the most visible on South Africa’s music scene and one of the most respected too.
Other tracks are “Abafazi,” “Linda,” “Amagama,” “Eweni,” “Isibhamu,” “Confession,” “Ikhandlela,” “Wamule,” “Umama,” “Ujesu,” “Angik’deli,” “Intombi Yami,” “Uyay’khohlisa,” “Uvalo,” “Gijima,” and “Xola.”
Sjava, who has the abbreviation ATM (African Trap Movement) to his social media accounts, has made ambitious leaps in the trap genre in South Africa and has been recognized as such. “Umqhele” has got some trap gems that should keep trap lovers on their feet.
On the whole. “Umqhele” is a brilliant offering, worthy of the ears of anyone with even the remotest affinity to music. The album is an audacious advertisement of what Sjava can do – and that’s much, for great are his powers as an artiste.
While “Umqhele” spots several tracks which are just great, we pick “Isibhamu” as one of our favourites. It is a song of immense lyrical beauty, delivered with poetic ease that calls for applause. “Isibhamu” calls you to love it, and you are going to love it on first listen… the beats, the delivery, everything.
While “Isibhamu” may be called a beauty, and the album as a whole may be thought beautiful, there is something intrinsically “fatal” about the album and its coming. “Umqhele” may translate to death. Not the death of someone but the death of art, of good vibes.
Sjava, who recently defended Trevor Noah over his grandmother’s location and choice of house, had made it apparent that his next project would be his last project. And then he would take a bow from music.
“I always said that I only make music for myself, not for the fame or hype. I am not going to make music after I drop my next project,” Sjava had told TshisaLIVE in the same interview.
That announcement was greeted with incredulity and with fear. Many would rather see him stick around. If this should translate to mere performances here and there and no album drops, fine for many. But no, Sjava, whose real name is Jabulani Hadebe, has dropped his next project.
What next? Death of art and Sjava’s disappearance from the scene? We hope not. At 29 Sjava is young and still has a lot to offer. The muso, who got fans talking when he went to the DSTV MVCA with the tag uncut on his R47k jacket, had better reconsider the decision to call it quits.
He is already at the height of his powers. So why take a leap down the cliff? Swizz Beatz, Awilo Longomba and even our own AKA are older and still on the world music scene. It would be great to see Sjava tarry on the scene too.
With his recent nomination for the 61st Grammy via the “Black Panther” album which featured “Seasons,” his collaboration with Mozzy, Sjava has got stick around to gift us more Grammy nomination-worthy music beauties.
In electing to quit the scene after dropping his next project, he may be following a tradition stars like Riky Rick and, most recently Mampintsha, had adopted. Mampintsha, who recently released his EP “The Gentle Don,” had said he would quit the scene and retire from music after releasing all his songs and hits this year.
There was a caveat to his statement, though: if fans want him to come back, they should ask. He would listen and return.
With Sjava, one is not sure yet, since he is yet to quit and has not said anything about quiting even after releasing his “next project” – in this case “Umqhele.”
We hope to wake up tomorrow to hear the statement to quit the scene after his next project was only a joke. It certainly wouldn’t be in bad taste. Don’t quit music, Jabulani Hadebe. Stay, Sjava, stay.