Stilo Magolide. Picture: Alex Kamutondole
Stilo Magolide looks like your stereotypical rapper. He’s decked out in jewellery, his body is decorated with tattoos and his mouth shows a set of diamond encrusted grillz.

We’re sitting in an expansive, beautifully arranged recording studio and Magolide’s latest single, Sefolosha, is playing softly in the background. It’s only been a couple weeks since he released it and he’s planning on putting his full muscle behind it. 

“It’s the first time I’ve dropped a single that people have to pay for right from the jump. It’s my debut album single so it was very important for me that it comes across that way – the whole language of how we push, even making sure that we get Stamp Communications involved because now it’s serious, we’re not playing. Not to say that we were playing before, but now I just want to give my fans and consumers a more in-depth feel to everything that we put out.”

It’s a catchy tune that stays true to Magolide’s knack for creating anthemic party music.

Being a basketball fan, the name Sefolosha reminds me of Thabo Sefolosha, a basketball player currently playing for the Atlanta Hawks – his father is South African, though he was born in Switzerland.

“I could say it was inspired by him in a way because I’ve always thought that it was very interesting to have sort of an official South African basketball player in the NBA. But more than anything, I was just intrigued by the name. The name is very swaggy and it’s got like a very provocative and inexplicable depth and feel to it. Nobody can ever explain why they like the name, but they do like the name. What I’ve done with the name is direct it towards a feeling. I think the name makes me feel good and when I say it to people, nine out of 10 times, I get a smile from that.”

The original plan with the song was to release it as a free download and then as an official album single in August. Now, the album is set for release sometime next month. Shukumisa, a song he released last year featuring fellow Boyz N Bucks affiliate Riky Rick, was meant to be the album single but, because of the record label politics that were taking place at the time, he decided against it.

I ask him whether we should expect some other interesting features on the album.

“There’s no crazy features. I just kept it very tight-knit and family orientated like my previous mixtape. There’s a couple of surprises though. Like, you’ve never heard a track with me and Anatii so we’ve got Anatii on the album, but as a feature and not a producer which is very dope for me. I think that type of light is very interesting.”

He describes being an independent artist as tough and expensive. I ask him if he’s ever been tempted to sign for a major label to ease the pressure and get a bit more support. 

Stilo Magolide. Picture: Alex Kamutondole

He contemplates for a bit, then responds: “I’ve been tempted. Like I remember a year and a half ago, I got like one or two international offers, but it wasn’t what I was looking for because the offer didn’t make sense. I felt like yes the label is dope, but it just didn’t have the live aspect that I’m looking for. It’s one thing to lock yourself in a deal where they can fund everything, but it’s a another thing if they can’t open doors that you couldn’t open yourself. If those are gonna remain locked but you guys have all this money in your room then you’re just privileged. You’re like Great Gatsby, you have no alliance. The other rich people don’t like you, so your family in turn only grows within a small cocoon.”

It’s an analogy that speaks to Magolide’s lofty ambitions. His goal, and a prevailing priority of his, has always been to be an international level performer.

“I think hands down, I’m probably one of the best performers this country has ever seen, in the sense that I can perform a song nobody knows. Everywhere I go, half the time people don’t know what my songs are because I don’t get played on radio or anything like that. But I still kill it. I can jump on stage right after the whole Ambitiouz stable and still kill it. When I perform it’s just me out there. I don’t have no back up, it’s just me,” he says.