At times it’s necessary to take a step back and breathe in order to return stronger which is exactly the case for Anele Mbisha, better known to his fans as Saudi.
The African trapper and a luminary in the South African hip hop scene, has emerged from a profound hiatus, debuting his highly-anticipated album, ‘Msotra Don’t Die’.
Saudi is well known for being part of chart-topping music from Ambitiouz Entertainment during its glory days. He was even featured on the ‘Black Panther’ soundtrack.
Quite a journey it has been for the finished project to reach fans' ears, with even a leak last year. “It feels amazing, it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, it feels like everything I’ve been praying for is coming true.”
The vibrant project, comprising 18 tracks, is released under OVLOE Monopoly Saudi’s independent record label. “It feels such a relief for this to be out! The songs are just so great. I have a great collection of songs and can’t wait for people to hear it.”
During his hiatus, the artist has been working - an artist may step away from the spotlight but never really steps away from the craft.
“I’ve been doing a lot of healing, learning who I am, who I want to be - and who I want to be is the most successful artist of my generation.
“I've been working, I need music in my life, I need to be able to express myself, even if I haven’t been putting out the music, I haven’t stopped working. I’ve been working tirelessly with a bunch of producers to create this project.”
The creative process behind ‘Msotra Don’t Die’ signifies a profound shift in Saudi's approach. “Collaboration with diverse producers and instrumentalists has expanded the album's musical horizons.
“It just rejuvenated the sound and brought this freshness into it. The process took about two to three years of working on it.”
He also worked with the legendary producer Mfanafuthi Ruff Nkosi who has the highest of standards.
This album was inspired by and dedicated to his mother. She is even on the album artwork; “that’s a picture from her wedding day”.
“I wanted the cover to be a picture of her where she looks the most beautiful. I just wanted to celebrate and dedicate the album to my mother. It’s also not a dedication to my own mother but to all mothers.”
The album showcases Saudi's evolution as an artist. "I've reached a whole new level in my ability. I'm finally at a point where I believe in myself more than any artist."
‘Msotra Don’t Die’ echoes Saudi's growth within the music industry and personally as an artist. "I've evolved into a musician aiming to elevate the status quo of South African music. My life experiences, both triumphant and challenging, serve as a narrative in this project."
In his evolution as a musician, he has also become his own boss and has had a couple of things to learn in order to do right by the brand and artist that is Saudi.
“It’s been a great process and it's also me learning about the business that played a great role in the music not coming out as soon as fans expected it to come out.”
The album resonates with universal themes of love, hardship, triumph, and self-belief. Saudi envisions it as a refuge for anyone going through despair, fostering strength and hope.
‘Msotra Don’t Die’ is available on all streaming platforms.