Masedi: pride of the Vaal

Paxama hitmaker Masedi ZA says he wants to build his brand before releasing a full-length album. Picture Supplied

For some strange reason the Vaal region has not been able to penetrate the SA music industry in the same way that other well-known townships such as Soweto and Umlazi have.

But Sotho rapper Masedi ZA could be altering that trend for good. Last year, the soft-spoken Masedi ZA brought life to the area through his song Paxama (Relax). The hit single spawned a trend of sorts and hundreds of social media memes as fans mimicked the message of relaxing carried in the song.

After struggling for the most part of 2015, the rapper born Masedi Mokhothu told The New Age that after seeing a social media post, he thought about penning a song that would get people excited ahead of the festive season. The song gave the young rapper the big break he had been waiting for.

Released in November, Paxama went on to put smiles on the faces of thousands of South Africans. “The whole concept behind the song is about working hard now and relaxing after putting in the hours,” the Sebokeng-born rapper said.

The song has done wonders for my career in a short space of time. “I have gone from being unnoticed to performing with big name artists such as Black Coffee, Emtee, Shimza and many others.”

As a rapper from the Vaal, where inspirational stories are few and far between, Masedi ZA says he has taken it upon himself to be the torchbearer of his community.

I want to inspire young kids to do great things,” he said. “I want to break down the barriers that exist between Vaal-based artists and the rest of the country. “There is talent in the Vaal, the only problem is that there aren’t many heroes and people to look up to and I plan to change all of that.”

The 25-year-old musician also wants to encourage Sotho rappers to flourish. “There has not been a movement such as motswako as far as Sotho rap is concerned. Just like Sotho and Tswana, my language deserves to shine,” Masedi ZA.

Since 2015, Masedi ZA has released a number of singles such as Ngwana Hao ft Real Deal. However, the rising hip hop star says he is not in a hurry to release a full-length album.

The idea is to build the Masedi ZA brand, the man and the face before releasing an album,” he said. “Unlike other rappers, I am using the name I was given by my parents as my stage name.

I am very much proud of my Sotho heritage and that is the reason I decided to keep my birth name as part of my identity.” Some of the people Masedi looked up to while growing up included the likes of HHP and former Orlando Pirates midfielder Steve Lekoelea.