Yanga Chief's single 'Mbali Yam' a heartfelt ode to his mother and his musical growth

Published May 8, 2024


Rapper Yanga Chief has released a new song 'Mbali Yam', which is dedicated to his mother.

After shelving the song for years and witnessing his mother, who is a teacher, nurture relationships with her students, Yanga Chief decided to release the song shortly after her birthday and in time for Mother's Day.

“I sometimes go to shows and people approach me and tell me, my mom was their teacher and we'd automatically have a bond. I've always felt there's a side to my mom that I'm not privy to and other people are.”

“I spend so much time in Joburg and these people have spent more time with her through her teaching them. I thought let me release it now, my mom is still alive, it's around Mother's Day. Everything made sense.”

A song that has been in the works since 2018, Yanga Chief even performed it on J.R's 'Feel Good Sessions,' but the right time for its release just never came until now.

"It was meant to come out at the time 'uTatakho' was a big song and every time I listened to the song, it just felt too personal and I wasn't in the space where I was trying to be that open."

The release of 'Mbali Yam' is leading up to Yanga Chief's EP release 'Imvelaphi' in June.

Six songs that hold significant meaning for him and have stories attached to them should have been released a while ago but were never made available to the public.

His collaboration with Kwesta, "Guluva," featured on the EP, was produced during the Covid pandemic by a young individual from Queenstown who tragically passed away due to Covid. Consequently, he was never able to hear the song with Kwesta on it in its finished version.

“All of the songs have meaning and a story. I think the sound of it is very nostalgic that's why the EP is called 'Imvelaphi' because when I listen to it, it just reminds me of where I'm from and the things I have been through in life.

“For me, this project is a collector's item for any Yanga Chief fan, because that music in terms of sound, is very descriptive of what kind of artist Yanga Chief is.”

In December last year, Yanga Chief released the single 'My Baby' which signalled his musical return but the song does not feature on the upcoming EP. "The sonics didn't connect to the rest of the EP."

“I think a lot of people are going to listen to the project thinking let's hear what else is there on the 'my baby' type of sound and honestly in those six songs there is nothing there.”

He hints that his next project will be on the 'My baby' type of level, but this EP is more ‘going home’ music, back to the roots.

With this project, Yanga Chief made a conscious decision to make music for himself and answer his music calling.

"My calling is a healing one and at this point in my life I think it serves me best to provide a bit of healing for myself and hopefully people will be able to resonate."

Outside of being an artist, Yanga Chief has also been growing in the creative space as a film director, his most recent project being the '16V Doctor Khumalo: Untold' a four-part documentary.

"What I've enjoyed is just immersing myself in the film space in the last couple of years; the people I've met along the way. The film community has accepted me, the people with different stories, it's all about storytelling no matter the medium."

“The Doctor Khumalo documentary was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, Doctor Khumalo is still alive and it means a lot to be able to tell his story in such a way that people resonate with it.

“I plan to do more in the film space but right now the focus is on the EP.”

The artist is currently signed to Sony Music and has one more project to release under the music label and when his contract ends he will go back to being an independent artist.

Having had a good working relationship with the label, Yanga Chief wants to leave the label on a good note. "I just want to leave on a career-defining note"

‘Imvelaphi’ drops on all streaming platforms on June 14.

IOL Entertainment