AKA’s fifth solo studio album, MASS COUNTRY has finally arrived. The album releases two weeks after his tragic death. The 14-track album is a love letter to the country and the sounds he grew up with, and a cathartic journey through grief, healing and self-rediscovery. The artistic album cover, which was put together by Karabo Poppy, paints exactly the story AKA wanted to tell with this album.
The Supa Mega tapped in producers including Christer, Fdeezus, Oriah, 031Choppa, KDDO, SayFar, Nlcno, Tshepo “Teddy” Moloi and Loud Haileer, alongside co-executive producers Nhlanhla “Nivo” Ndimande, Tshiamo Letshwene and Zādok.
To elevate the tone of the album he locked in solid features with the likes of Emtee, Nasty C, Nadia Nakai, Blxckie, KDDO, Musa Keys and Thato Saul to name a few.
MASS COUNTRY also cements AKA’s legacy as a producer who used an almost encyclopedic knowledge of South Africa’s most beloved hits to reinterpret them through captivating samples and interpolations.
Stream the album below:
AKA on some of the key tracks from his final album:
“It’s a lot of shout-outs, just talking about how I remember when I came into the industry—it was a whole different landscape. From there, I just want to get into…I just want to talk my shit.”
“Mbuzi (Freestyle)” (feat. Thato Saul)
“You’ll see, during the whole album, there’s all these little South African tidbits—like [the opening line of Mgarimbe’s classic hit] ‘Sister Bethina’ here and there. It creates a little bit of mixtape-i-ness and gives a little bit of weirdness to it.”
“Company” [AKA& KDDO]
“This was a great collaboration with KDDO. [We’ve] got a little Naija vibe there. My girlfriend [Nadia Nakai] hates this song. But it’s not me singing [the hook]…It’s KDDO. I can hear it at KONKA, Makubenjalo, all those places. It’s gimmicky; that’s as gimmicky as the album gets. But I’m allowed a little bit of candy floss here and there. You know what I’m saying?”
“Paradise” [AKA, Musa Keys & Gyakie]
“On this rap, I was thinking something Sade-ish. In the previous song, we say, ‘One girl’s not enough for me,’ but now we say, ‘You know what? Actually, I’m a nice guy.’”
“Amapiano” (feat. Laylizzy & weathrd)
“I’ve always had this affinity to Mozambique and Angola—I’ve always wanted to make something for those people. But they’re our people at the same time. It’s all one people: Southern Africa. I wanted to connect with that type of vibe. [Co-writer and Mi Casa frontperson] J’Something is a good friend of mine, and there’s this great artist called Laylizzy from Mozambique. It samples Sergio Mendes—‘Oooo, aria raio’ [the primary refrain from Mendes’ 1966 hit ‘Mais Que Nada’].”
“Dangerous” (feat. Nadia Nakai) [AKA & Blxckie]
“There’s no way I wasn’t going to do a song with my girlfriend on this album. So, this is a song with me and Nadia. Do you guys remember that song by Meek Mill, ‘All Eyes on You’? You know how rap music used to sound maybe like 10 years ago? Just like, damn man, so many love songs. Just something really sultry just for me and her to have a track. For some reason, I haven’t really done…my catalogue doesn’t contain a lot of music with female artists, so I [was] trying to right that wrong.
“After Anele’s passing, [the tracks at the end of the album] were the first songs I made. These are to say, ‘OK, this is where I was in my life. You guys need to hear this. This is the hard stuff to talk about, but here it is.’ The album would be incomplete without that type of material. This one and ‘Diary’—it’s all the shit that I needed to get off [my chest]. It’s a lot.”
“I wanted to make an MK-ish influence [referring to uMkhonto we Sizwe, or ‘MK’, the African National Congress’ paramilitary wing]. Conscription was a thing here back in the ’80s. So, it’s just saying, ‘Well, you’re riding with me now, so you’re in the army now.’ And then also to sprinkle a little political content in there, a bit of social commentary in there.”
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