Mlindo’s Emakhaya proves afropop’s vitality is perfectly in tact

Mlindo The Vocalist’s ‘Emakhaya’ comes at just the right time

Just like R&B in the 00s, afropop has had a hard time keeping up with an incredibly volatile music climate. With forebears like Mafikizolo looking further north to incorporate West and East African influences to their sound, a tangible dearth has been left here at home.

The genre received a handy resurgence with the arrival of Sun El Musician’s Africa to the World but even that made a healthy compromise between afropop and traditional house. Enter Mlindo.

Discovered by DJ Maphorisa on Twitter, the artist who officially goes by the name, Mlindo The Vocalist offers the pivot to the next generation of afropop with his debut, Emakhaya.

At a private album launch event at The Orbit in Braamfontein, Mlindo revealed that he was in Grade 8 in 2009. That would likely make him my age: 25. At 25, his album is loaded with the kind of subject matter my uncles and aunts would want to bop to on a slow Sunday.

Songs like title track “Emkhaya,” “Mosadi,” “Usukulude,” and “Wamuhle,” try to rationalise love with a very mature outlook. It’s as if Mlindo were declaring, ‘I love you and that’s all that matters. So tell me what we’re going to do now?’ He even gets help from maskandi heavyweight, Shwi Nomtekhala on “Wamuhle,” a lamentation about the one who got away.

Also at his launch, he acknowledges he put some songs on their that may speak more to his age. Smash hit single, “Amablesser” makes an early appearance on the album with day one collaborator, Maphorisa. Kwesta, Thabsie and brother, Sfeesoh wrap things up with the ever-infectious, “Macala.” More than that, Vyno Miller assists with “Cold Summer” and “Mosadi” switching the album’s sound up with a trap infusion which, surprisingly, works very well.

To Mlindo, he made a strong debut worthy of its weight in gold. To afropop, he’s done the job of giving it a much needed lifeline. The fanfare it once boasted is back home where it belongs, and that’s what makes Emakhaya special.

Stream Mlindo’s Emakhaya via Apple Music below or via your favourite platform here.

Well, what do you think?