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Scorcher from Papa Zee

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MASERU — Papa Zee, arguably Lesotho’s biggest hip-hop artist, has popped a scorching album that has already set tongues wagging on the market.

The tattooed rapper has been on the road around Maseru for the past two weeks to promote Psalm 23, his debut CD which however is yet to be officially released.

On Thursday night Papa Zee had a cameo appearance at Miss P’s gig at Times Caffe before holding a promotional exhibit in the city centre yesterday.

“The CD is not officially released yet but I have to make efforts to take it to the people,” Papa Zee told the Sunday Express yesterday.

Papa Zee, born Motlalehi Leshoele, said his efforts were very necessary considering the poor state of the music industry in the country.

“Walk up Kingsway (Road) and you won’t find a music shop until after the traffic circle,” he said.

PapaZee (Medium)“This is supposed to be a capital city but you won’t find more than four music shops.”

Psalm 23 is not necessarily a gospel album but the title aptly sums up the divine inspiration Papa Zee needed to get where he is today.

The famous Bible verse says “the Lord is my shepherd” — an inscription which the big rapper apparently spots as one of his many tattoos.

Although he has been slowly making his mark in South Africa where he is based, Papa Zee said he will not forget his roots.

“Papa Zee is about bravery,” he said.

He said his bravery was symbolised by the tattoo of the dan mask on his arm.

Papa Zee said he needed to be brave because the road has been bumpy for him since he was a small boy growing up in Maputsoe, 80km from Maseru.

“I was born in Maputsoe — not really a rural set-up. It’s a bit of a slum which we can call a township,” he said.

“I grew up in an impoverished place. It took me a while to hear hip-hop, American artists that is. I was not one of those lucky people who have been to top schools such as Machabeng.

“That should make you understand how hard it was for me.”

Papa Zee said he had no particular reason why he chose the hip-hop genre.

“I just fell in love with hip-hop. I love it,” he said.

Papa Zee said the message in his music as well as his approach to business were influenced by his life and the impoverished state of Lesotho.

He said his main aim was to influence change in people’s lives through his music, not really to make a big break.

“I live within poverty. Papa Zee is from poverty,” he said.

“In my family maybe two of us including a cousin can afford things.

“So my break is not selling CDs but being able to influence people to think in a certain way. I know most people earn maybe M800 a month so asking them to fork out M100 for a CD might be too much.

“I’m realistic about the situation.”

“My music is about influencing people,” he added.

“It’s about teaching people about Aids, unity and confidence . . .”

Papa Zee, who is still single, said he made most of his money from live performances.

“I make most of my money from performances. I do live shows and corporate partnerships,” he said.

However, the album Psalm 23 is likely to rake in a couple of thousands more for Papa Zee.

Tracks on the 13-track album include Bothata, Le Mmone, Ke Tshwerwe ke Aids and Lokisa Ditaba.

“It’s an album for Basotho. It’s for Africans. It’s for everyone,” Papa Zee said. — Staff Reporter.

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