SAGE POET’S SECRETS OF THE SECRET OUT
Hip Hop and rap music in Malawi are making a steady ascent to becoming the sound through which young people are using to express their experiences and thoughts. There is a steady movement sweeping through the continent about embracing one’s African culture and roots, infusing it into music, creating the rise of storytellers in the gospel and secular circles.
Sage Poet’s latest album is a duo project with one of Malawi’s gifted producers, Justus. Their latest release “Secrets of the Secret” might be a lot to handle for the average listener. True to his name, Sage Poet’s album showcases “great wisdom” in his story-telling, delivery, references to stories in holy books and history whilst keeping to the rhythm of hip hop sounds produced by Justus.
Real name Wongani Kawonga, Sage Poet is a socially conscious Hip-Hop artist based in Lilongwe, with six studio albums under his belt. His first album “True School” was entirely produced by RebelMusicQ. His second album, the 10-tracked “Unsung Heroes” (2012) and 5-song EP “The Uncool” EP (2013) were both duo projects with his long-time producer, RebelMusicQ. In 2015, Sage Poet released “Master the Pain – Magnus Opus”, produced by legendary Hip Hop Dominant One of Ill Electric Records. His 2018 album, “Alchemy” was produced by Justus of Bass & Truth Entertainment and was recorded at Day Break studies in Lilongwe.
Sage Poet would describe his latest album release as a fiction album: a combination of stories from holy books and traditional tales told correctly and contradictory at times, a complete dialogue starter that gets the listener thinking on the meaning of the themes of the songs: the seven deadly sins.
The story begins when a young African boy goes swimming and starts to drown, and in his state of unconsciousness, he finds himself in contact with the spirit realm. That is the backstory to Sage Poet’s sixth album, “Secrets of the Secret” which was released on the 25th of March this year.
Mixed and mastered by Nefter, the album features two of Malawi’s rising artists, Luzio and Khingi, with song titles named after the deadly sins: Wrath, Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth and Envy. If you are a legit Sage Poet fan, then you might have linked his latest release with his previous album, “Alchemy”. In “Alchemy”, Sage explains, the character who commits suicide had all the information but he missed out on a key factor, which is addressed in Secrets of the Secret: LOVE.
Sage Poet believes the first step to ascension is to first seek self-actualization and understand that Love is the universal constant in the dichotomy between good and evil. He explains that once love is removed from the equation then the seven deadly sins takes its place. In the end it becomes a vicious cycle. The album draws us into the dialogue between the creators and man, pointing towards Love amongst God’s creation and creatures being the secret of life. It embodies a thesis in the way that it identifies a specific issue, analyzes it, draws conclusions and makes recommendations accordingly. In this case, the subject is Africa, through analysis of traditional stories, holy books and texts, Sage concludes that the root cause of our problems is the lack of love. Could the lack of love amongst ourselves as Africans be the reason why Africa fell from its golden age despite having amassed great intelligence and accomplishments? Was slavery amongst Africans an indication of lack of love? Would things change now if we were to fully grasp the key ingredient of life, LOVE?
The young African boy could be a representation of African youth, and the conversation in his unconscious state can be likened to conversations young Africans are starting to have on how to effectively address challenges in Africa. The album proposes several solutions to improving the current state of African affairs; from creating education curriculums that reflect the vision and address the challenges of African nations in a realistic and authentic way, to Africa uniting as one to have leverage with countries that come to do business, to making Swahili the official African language. Sage Poet’s thoughts on how African society can improve itself filters through the songs and makes for an interesting listen.
Secrets of the Secret is an album that changes the way society views and understands hip hop. In a society that sometimes sees music as a drop out’s career, Secrets of Secret, is a testament of the research, creativity and delivery it takes to fuse facts, stories and history with music, to create a body of work that reflects the talent and intellect of the artist.