It's his life in lyrics. This month, Yanga Ntshakaza (33) also known as Yanga Chief, released his 15-track album titled Pop Star where every song touches on a personal experience or of those close to him.
In the album, Yanga Chief raps about love, politics, money, success and his dreams.
“My album is a journey and I decided to end it abruptly because the project that will follow will be a continuation of that journey,” he says.
He features Thabsie, Maglera Doe Boy, Langa Mavuso, Frank Casino, Tshego AMG, and Save Milli. “People expected me to feature AKA, but I did not. Kiernan is my friend and not just a colleague, we are genuine friends and I don’t have to have him on every project and abuse the friendship privileges.”
Every song in the project has a special place in his heart. “My music is about my life, my realities, and day to day struggles of love, money, success, family. I know there is someone who relates to my story. I can sing about things I aspire to, but my music is therapy, it’s my reality,” he says.
In the song Ndiyabanika, he sings about his girlfriend Tanya Ntungwa who has been perceived to be a “slay queen“ or has the image of a “gold digger”.
“And that’s not the case,” he says. “People will be very surprised to know that she is the opposite of that, and she is very supportive and a down to earth person. In the song, I talk about how I fall in love with a woman perceived to be a gold digger because of her beauty and appearance. It closes off with a skit of the interview Khanyi Mbau did with Debra Patta on Third Degree about being the self-proclaimed Queen of Bling.”
Before his career kicked off a few years ago, Yanga recalls a time where he was uninspired and had with no sense of direction.
“I was still doing film then and a little bit of music. I had been sleeping on JR’s couch with only one pair of sneakers which stank and no sense of direction," he adds.
Looking back Yanga Chief is grateful for the humble beginnings which have taught him discipline. “Had I been in a place of privilege I would not be humble or view the world the way I do right now. I needed to start from the bottom,” he tells Drum.
In his album previous album Becoming A Pop Star, Yanga Chief released Mtase dedicated to his younger sister.
“Then she was still studying at Rhodes University. Now she is all grown and has her degree in accounting and doing her articles here in Johannesburg,” he says.
“I won’t lie, I missed so much of her growing up and I missed my moments where I could have given her guidance because throughout her life I have had to play a father figure. So, I decided to dedicate the song Basenzile, to her; cautioning her about relationships, men in the big bad city, and how dating in Joburg can be tricky, at times and she needs to guard her heart,” he adds.
In the entire project, Yanga wishes people could relate and “just enjoy the music.” “It's real and it's from the heart,” he adds.