After releasing a banger called “Thola Zaka”, self-taught mixing engineer, Thapelo Mothlathledi, better known as Lava, became Sotho rap’s savior. Lava is a Sotho rapper who rhymes over trap beats. The genre hasn’t been active on the commercial scene of late and little light has been shed on artists still contributing to the sub-genre. Lava is intent on changing this.
Born and raised in the Free State, Lava lives in Johannesburg where he is the head mixing engineer at Khustic Media. He got the job after shining at Electromode, where he had been working since 2011. In October, Lava showed total dedication to his craft when he organised a listening session for just one song. It was the first time I had ever heard of a listening session for a single track, but after I heard “Thola Zaka”, which features another up-and-comer, Priddy Ugly, I understood why.
As an engineer, Lava worked with heavyweights in the game, such as Cassper Nyovest, AKA, Bongani Fassie and Khuli Chana. Then he decided to start working on a solo project, which kicks off with the new track.
“If you listen to the song you’ll hear a trap song, but the drums and the way we both come on the beat keeps it authentic,” Priddy Ugly said about “Thola Zaka”. Directly translated, it means “get money”. On the song, the boys tell stories about the challenges they’ve faced while chasing the paper. They speak of ambition and their hopes of living lavishly when the hustle pays off.
“There isn’t really anyone representing Sotho rap and the media doesn’t pay attention to it. I’m trying to bring back Sotho rap in a different way,” said Lava.
Not only has the social media response to “Thola Zaka” been positive, young OGs JR and Shugasmakx have showed Lava some love.
“I always believed he’d do good. He’s my boy too, so I know what he’s capable of doing good,” Shuga said.
Lava is currently working on his first album and judging from the stellar work he has done with industry heavyweights, we can expect a well-crafted debut.
“If you listen to my song, the drums, the recording and to the way I mixed it, we made sure it was quality. I felt Priddy was also a great addition to the song because I like what he did,” he said.
“When I heard the beat, and at that time it just had the chorus, I went crazy! I told Lava that we can record the joint now. That’s how dope it was…” said Priddy enthusiastically.
Priddy and Lava made a good pair on the song. Their relationship shows they work well together and gelled behind the mic.
Having been in studio with the best and playing a role in some of SA’s most popular albums to date, Lava’s hustle is taking him from stride to stride.
“Jozi is jungle man. All you have to do is focus and don’t take your eyes off the goal,” said the rapper.
We can only expect more heat from Lava throughout the rest of 2014 and 2015. Sotho rap certainly has a saviour in the pipeline.
Follow Lava: @Lavawamrepa
Download “Thola Zaka” : Here