A few years shy of the dawn of a new millennium, Batswana hip hop heads were incredibly inspired by the poetic power of lyrical jest in hip hop that they created their own subculture in the world of Hip Hop. This culture was eloquently termed “Motswako”.
One of the known creators of the genre, Nomadic, has graced our melodic ears with a fresh take on an individual’s audit of his ethnic identity with the new album The Pula Citizen. While conversing with our Afrolutionist Mmabatho, He describes his new offering as “in fact, not a patriotic choral of any order.” But his individual account of where he comes from, his experiences, lessons, and all this written from a faraway land or territory. Riddled with push and pull factors that paint an enigmatic beauty of his identity, The Pula Citizen has utilized an individual human’s story as various reference points in combing through a kaleidoscope of matters that shape cultural identity .
The album is akin to a series of love letters in regaining his culture in various facets. In the forefront, it speaks on sincerity and botho of building wealth ,– as he utilizes his voice to create a culture of motivation. “ It’s all about knowing and building from the very values the culture was built on, ultimately seeing its people rise.” He noted, further insisting that inspiration and motivation should never be a trend in music but an entire way of living. Uplifting songs such as Go featuring Zeus and Up for the Shot feautiring Proverb are indicative of this culture Nomadic is injecting into hip hop.
While the Pula Citizen is infused in Motswako, it is also home to various facets of African linguistics. Ke Ba reeditse, featuring Venus is a point of reference of how we can express ourselves in more than one indigenous language. As Nomadic defines the song. “Ke ba reeditse is about speaking your truth and how better than in your own dialect. I asked her (Venus) to sing of her truth in Xhosa and I in my Tswana. It just came off better pronounced and bountiful.” Outside of the art of language, Nomadic veered into multiple forms of expression of sound. Using human chords as part of an expression in his music came as a result in his experimental project, similar to his TEDxGaborone Talk. During his project, Nomadic made music to rain, played glass and beat boxed to the pitter-patter of each rain drop pecking the ground. That inspired the use of vocal chords as the bassline of the creative process of the album painting a complete picture of a Pula Citizen.
Because Nomadic grew up in an environment where emceeing was based on knowledge, style and being able to cypher at be the one to beat during battle-rap, he was able to create his own voice in music. This is, according to him, why he could identify gaps in his musical climate and how he could use hip hop as well as his ingrained culture to reach those he wanted to communicate with. Nomadic is an unapologetic, self-proclaimed Tswana reading, speaking, writing and breathing body. “Oral tradition has always been a vital part of our day to day and historical lives. Our praise in poem, unmatched.” He declares. “Setswana is a beautiful language, detailed and rich in content. It was only right to pick it up from where bo Ratsie Sethako left it and shift it to new dimensions via all the elements of hip hop.”