This week SACHH goes one on one with Amal – a music composer, writer, graphic designer and pioneer in a youth movement called Christlikerap, a movement that combines rap and poetry with a biblical twist.
Malusi Qumbisa, whose stage name is Amal, grew up steeped in Hip Hop. His childhood is coloured with memories of rap legends. Amal recalls, “When I was 11 years old I stayed with my big brother and he was a big fan of Tupac…he also played a bit of Mzwakhe Mbuli.” Amal fell in love with the Hip Hop world, in particular consciousness rap and gangster rap. His musical influences include Dead Prez, Common Sense, KRS1, Mos Def and many other legends in the mainstream movement. So how did Amal became a rapper let alone a rapper for Christ? His exposure to Hip Hop from a young age sparked an interest in rapping and he dived into the culture, head first. Amal explains, “I think I only chose to stay, the genre chose me. My mother never taught me to swear but she took me to church so I decided to rap about what I know better.” Amal believes that South African Christian Hip Hop is a new wave of Evangelism.
Amal describes his music style as “Christ-like rap or Bible-based rap.” Amal believes that what makes a CHH song a hit is its lyrical content. He says that his best performance was in 2013 when he performed in Mozambique, thinking back he recalls, “I really felt that God was smiling at me.” The three things that Amal looks for during performances is good communication with sound engineers or the DJ, good stage monitors and how he looks on stage. We asked Amal what is the biggest stage that he dreams of performing on, Amal gives a remarkable and proudly Africanist response, “I’m actually dreaming of performing in an event that will put under one roof Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town and stage an all authentic African Bible-based rappers, poets and vocalist. When Amal is not making music or dreaming about an African renaissance in CHH, he spends his time doing graphic design. He also enjoys spending time with kids. When going out with friends and family his favourite thing to order is a milkshake, although he admits that he’s really a coffee lover.
South African Christian Hip Hop is a new wave of EvangelismAmal
In the South African Christian Hip Hop space Amal’s playlist notables are Lux Kentane, 031 Minister and Solomon Spencer. The ideal Christian artists that he hopes to collaborate with are Dr Tumi, Jabu Hlongwane and Khaya Mthethwa. Although Amal is also interested in working with producers in the mainstream space who are not exclusively in the Christian industry.
Amal’s recommendations on which SACHH artist we should be on the lookout for is Lux Kentane, adding that his on the right path. As for who he believes was a pioneer in building South African Hip Hop, Amal had this to say, “I think it’s a bit hard to say because of the incredible talent we have in our country. There are some artists who came up with deep biblical rap in their songs but they never said anything about their faith in Christ. Take Zola for instance, I personally was very encouraged when he released ‘Mzayoni’, but I’d say that there are many but there’s still some work to be done.”
Right now Amal is working on an EP in which he explores his journey of faith as a rapper, reflecting on “the good and bad turns…the highs and lows.” Amal will be releasing his first single on the 6th March, his Birthday, titled ‘Uthando Lukababa.’ In his concluding thoughts, Amal has this to say to aspiring rappers in the SACHH movement. “Plan, pray, save money, invest in your own craft and buy tools. Learn how to play at least one instrument or understand it properly. Help other artists, never complain about producers, management and things like that, as other artists do.”
SACHH raises the flag and raises the bars.