Popsnotthefather talks about his new music and recognition
Apple Music’s New Artist Spotlight for May is Popsnotthefather (real name Lungani Siseko Mabude) a Gauteng-based rapper and singer who fuses smooth hip hop with experimental melodies.
"It's super crazy," said Pops. "It means that we're finally being recognised for what we're doing. We've spent hours in the studio and I've slept on the floor and I'd be like - what am I even doing right now? But it's so great and so surreal to be included as Apple Music's New Artist Spotlight."
Pops’s debut album, "NNNN" (an acronym for Not Now, Not Never), released through Africori is a celebration of the female form and an eclectic collection of hip hop-rooted tracks.
After being introduced to hip hop in Grade 5 by his cousin Onke, who would play the CDs that came with every issue of South Africa’s Hype Magazine, Pops developed a keen interest in music theory and took up violin until Grade 10. But it was his friendship with producer 808x in Matric that persuaded him to start dabbling in rap music.
His debut alternative single “DTF” (2018) and subsequent high profile feature on The Big Hash’s album “Save Me” (2019) put Pops on the map, but he chose to spend more time perfecting his signature sound before releasing a complete album.
W caught up with him.
Tell us about "NNNN", what was the inspiration behind it?
The album is called Not Now Not Never because I’m inspired by the type of music that grows on you. That type of stuff that will grow into a classic.
Is there a particular theme and if so why?
It’s a celebration of love & lust. I’ve been learning a lot from the women around me & I try to share some of the stories the best way I know how - through music.
How did you approach the writing process?
I used whatever energies I was given at the time to pin down the words and the energies came mostly from the people with me in the studio. The mode and the vibe in the studio contributed to the lyrics.
How would you describe the lyrical content?
I would say it’s feel-good music. I think it’s good to feel sexy.
In terms of its sound, how would you define it?
It’s futuristic, but nostalgic in a way.
Which track means the most to you and why?
“Down on my knees” because there is a special story to the song. I was basically finished with the album and one of my Instagram followers that live Wuhan started sending me old R&B tunes that inspired her and kept her sane during lockdown. She and those classics she introduced me to, inspired me to write “Down on my knees” .
What do you hope people take away from this EP?
I hope they gain a new perspective on how we could do this R&B thing in Africa.