He’s been in the music biz so long it’s hard to imagine this is his first solo album. But in between building his record label and working on his girlfriend’s new music, Mampintsha hadn’t found time to hit the studio – up until now.
“Kudala ngifuna ukwenza I album yami (I have been wanting to make my own album since I broke up with Big Nuz). And then this year I was lucky to have time to work on my solo album due to the lockdown,” he tells DRUM.
Mampintsha, real name Mandla Maphumulo, says all 13 songs on Bhut’Madlisa are inspired by his life. “The album is all about my life, there are no lies there,” he says.
“I have been through a lot and I was in a very bad space. I’ve been betrayed and painted as a bad person by people I was helping. They turned their backs on me,” he continues. “I was confused at some point in my life, thinking after all the good I have done for those people, they now see me as the enemy.”
Released under his West Ink record label, the album features some of Durban’s finest, including DJ Tira, Big Nuz’s Danger and gqom queen Babes Wodumo. “We are still together, we have been working on our music during the lockdown,” Mampintsha says of him and Babes.
The controversial celebrity couple has had an on-off relationship since video footage emerged of Mampintsha (38) assaulting Babes (25). Both laid charges of assault against each other and Mampintsha later issued a public apology to the singer.
According to him, they’ve put the drama behind them. “We took all our focus and put it into our work,” Mampintsha tells us. Since hooking up, they made headlines for everything from domestic abuse allegations to claims of substance abuse, but Mampintsha says he and the Wololo hitmaker have grown from the experiences and what was said about them.
“The word past means exactly what has past,” he says. “There is no family or person that doesn’t go through difficult times. So, we have grown and matured by what we went through. And now we are just focused on positive things.
“We are moving forward, what they have said and wrote, it’s on them and not us,” he adds. “We have moved on and we are thankful for the support we received.”
When he dropped Bhut’Madlisa, it sold out on iTunes, and Mampintsha is thrilled with the response. “This is amazing and for people to love the whole album, that’s crazy. Ngi happy, ngi happy kakhulu angifun’ ukuqhamba amanga (I am happy, I am very happy I don’t want to lie).”
It’s a ground-breaking debut, he says. “We are not making gqom music anymore. Into ehambisa okweqgom’ (but it’s not gqom when you listen carefully). It sounds like gqom, but when you listen carefully it’s not. Just like amapiano came with a new sound, we have also created something new and people love it,” Mampintsha says.
It took the musician and producer one week to finish the album. “Then there are four songs that Skillz the producer, did in just one night,” Mampintsha says. Although each track has meaning, he singles out Bakhuluma Ngani as a favourite. “[There] I was asking myself, the people that have been talking about me, how can they say all these things about me when they don’t even know me?” he tells us.
Mampintsha wants to set the record straight through his music. He says Babes’ new album, Idandokazi, is also inspired by her life. “When you listen carefully to our albums, you will hear we sang about our lives. She’s talking about her experiences and what she has been through. She spoke her truth,” he says.
“We are reclaiming our dignity.”