Sepulana (Eastern Sotho) rapper Masta H (Hlompho Lekhuleni) is finally in studio working on his debut full-length hip hop album after releasing two mixtapes in the last three years.
The new album to be titled Mapulaneng Ke Gae will be H’s way of stepping into the plate to put not only his music but the language on the map. “Sepulana is one of those languages that have suffered under apartheid as various attempts were made to destroy it by Balkanising it with Sepedi. However twenty years into our liberation I feel confident that the country should gear itself for eleven more official languages in the next twenty years with Sepulana being the first one to join the rest”, said H.
Following the success of Mapulaneng Volume I and II, which were both mixtapes and his introduction to the game this indigenous language rapper finally decided to bring his Sepulana hip hop genre to join other mother tongue genres such as motswako.
“I have much respect for the guys from the Tswana guys from the North West who came to Jozi and decided to promote motswako as a genre to be reckoned with. This given the obsession with English hip hop that has seen many rappers trying to express themselves in a foreign language while their mother tongue is filled with proverbs, idioms and cultural wealth that can never be fathomed in a foreign language”.
H used both his mixtapes to expose other indigenous rappers such as JOP who in 2013 released …A Kgokologa Moholoholo. He was followed closely by Mr Doo who is signed to H’s Lepulana Musik label. Doo’s mixtape was titled Jamtown Mixtape Volume I, a tribute to the small village of Madjembeni where both H and Doo hail from.
Since last year H has only featured in various artists as he stood back to work on his debut album. He has been featured in the Pre-Villaged Mixtape by Tembisa based Lepulana la Joni (Donald Chiloane), due for release on H’s label next month. He has also contributed work to Mr Doo and other artists while also grooming his protégé, K-Cee.
This talented rapper believes that his debut album, due in July this year will raise the flag for South African indigenous language hip hop. Being the pioneer of this Sepulana genre, H is not delusional about the reception it might get. “This country must learn that there are more languages and each deserves to be promoted equally. I aim to do that with Mapulaneng Ke Gae”, he says.