Vuyo – Under the Stars

In terms of production and lyricism, VUYO’s musical inspirations oscillate through J DillaMiles DaviesFela Kuti, and The Beach Boys. Accordingly, he derives eclecticism in his style of “seldom” penned, impromptu compositions, being most comparable to the humble perseverance and conversational music of Anderson .Paak, with its twinges of neo-alt-hip-hop and life-experience outpours. Born in Zimbabwe and partly raised between Norway, South Africa and Zambia, Ole “VUYO” – Xhosa for “happiness” – Småge experienced varied culture and hardships when still a toddler. With a father heavily involved in the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa amid Nelson Mandela, and a mother deeply invested in the Namibian liberation, their family suffered recurrent death-threats. Consequently, Ole and his mother moved to Oslo where he lived out his teenage years in the Norwegian capital, and recently joined the collective North Of.

Under The Stars is a standalone track from Norwegian/South-African rapper VUYO, a prequel to his debut EP dropping August 17th. The track runs with North Asian-style serenity per flute and birdsong samples, which the director, Tom Ringsby, complements with equally serene forest settings. Kanye’s Graduation-esque ride cymbals ring through the composition adding to the dynamic VUYO expertly establishes with the production.

The single aerates a sense of completion, yet the underlying message is one of juxtaposed grief and aspiration. VUYO mirrors his musical ambition with “Hector Pieterson’s Soul” – one of many of the brave young men and women of Soweto who protested the forced introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools in 1976. Pieterson was one of the first of many school children to be shot and killed by police during the tragic Soweto uprising… There’s a powerful message that lives on in the anniversary of his death in South Africa – Youth Day – which commemorates the protests.

Here’s what VUYO had to say about the track:

“A straight up rap tune, Under The Stars has no harmonies, no chorus, no bridge – the song surfaces as a conversation between the dreamer and the pragmatic, the one who searched and the one who has seen – and evolves into an explosion of hardship and the realist’s brutal world view.”

Mixed by Poppa Lars and mastered by Chris Sansom.


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