By Ryan Cahalin
Mrisi is a multifaceted musician combining a range of sounds from traditional South African music, Jazz and Hip hop to craft his own unique artistry. Over the years, Mrisi has shared the stage with the likes of Omar, Prince Fatty, Rizzle Kicks and worked alongside the likes of Rag 'n' Bone Man. With Mrisi’s 2018 debut E.P Mamela receiving critical acclaim, Mrisi has now released “West Baby”, his first track of 2020 displaying his versatility and poetic flair.
Mrisi’s vocal style is profound, delivering his spoken word lyricism in a meditative manner. There is a very chill yet self-reflective vibe to this track as Mrisi contemplates his heritage and speaks on colonialism to a mellow, laid back Hip-hop style groove.
Your music includes a range of sounds from South African music, Jazz, Soul and grassroots Hip-Hop. How would you describe your musical style?
“I would describe it as being a mix of music from Africa and the African Diaspora. I try to make my music as varied as possible while still having my sound but I like to think I make people feel and think with my music.”
What have been your main musical influences for your new music?
“There are a lot of musical styles that I've learned and played that have had a huge impact on me but I'd say that my new music has its foundations in South African traditional music, Hip Hop, Reggae, Rnb, Jazz & Trap Soul.”
What was the songwriting process behind the new single, “West Baby” and can you tell us more about the meaning of your lyricism?
“West Baby was part of a batch of beats I did when I was really focusing on production and new techniques. It is a very simple beat but the bassline carried it well and the synth lines over it came naturally and had a very South African vibe about them. The sax was played by Natty Rasamurai.
The meaning of 49360 is 4 x 9 = 36 plus nil = 360 degrees which is everything. I am giving a nod to the numbers of the universe, these mathematical equations are everywhere so I like to put it in the music as well like the old alchemists. When I say bill yard, bill zola I'm talking about building a house referring to 'West Baby's' buying land or property where they come from outside of Europe or England & also smoking.”
The current national lockdown has posed an immediate effect on the music industry, particularly within live music. How has the lockdown affected your plans and creativity?
“I think it has really made people in general but especially musicians wonder what will be the future of the industry. There are many possibilities for what could happen, the music industry has changed drastically over the last 10 years and will continue too. People love music so there will always be a market, this might be the time to start the next app to change how music is consumed.”
What can we expect next from you following this new single release?
“I will be releasing an E.P with Yazmyn Hendrix, a great musician that I did a track with on 'Mamela' my debut E.P and also releasing a new track 'Mama' and a whole range of other music!”
“West Baby” is a truly reflective record featuring a deep sliding bassline and jazz-inspired instrumental which well compliments Mrisi’s introspective lyricism. Mrisi’s conscious rap style similar to that of Loyle Carner and Ghostpoet is refreshing and well-unifies the artist's many areas of musical influence.
Check out “West Baby” below: