On this four-track suite, Sjava asserts himself as an empathetic worker’s champion. “Abangani” finds him and Ambitiouz Entertainment labelmates Emtee and Saudi describing life struggles over a deep, ‘70s-inspired soul cut. “But I made it anyway,” harmonises Sjava, who often flips between Zulu and English lyrics. He slowly unravels before his lover on the floating R&B of “Confession”, but he picks up the pace on “Intombi” and its strutting, electronic funk rhythm. On the closer, “Iqhawe”, he’s a motivational speaker, offering pastoral epiphanies about the selves we reflect to others.
Umphako is the first project from Sjava since his critically acclaimed and gold-certified debut album Isina Muva.
Just as we've grown to expect from Sjava, the songs on the EP are personal—exploring relationships ("Confession," "Intombi"), friendship and humble beginnings ("Abangani") and motivation ("Iqhawe"), with both humor and emotion.
On "Iqhawe," the man tells us that when you look in the mirror after getting up in the morning, and you don't see a hero, you aren't ready for the day. Got you questioning how you've been doing this life thing, right?
Sonically, Umphako, just like Isina Muva, explores more than just trap. The artist and his producer, Ruff, just keep on expanding and redefining the subgenre African Trap Music (ATM).
Umphako, as Sjava said earlier this week, is something for his fans to chew on while he works on his sophomore album, which is currently untitled and has no release date yet.