Mandisa Nduna, also known for her sobriquet Zulu Mecca has released a beautifully crafted artistic production with WEPT. project.
ZuluMecca is a modern-day renaissance woman with aptitudes in various fields such as poetry, acting and now rapper. Her versatility is something many pines for, and whatever she produces is done with craftiness.
‘Broken Canvas’ prefaces the album with a powerful self-catechism. The uniform melody is a vintage-like sound and transports the listener to a towering mental space. ZuluMecca’s rampant voice complements the sound. In this song, she seems to be in a self-interrogatory mode and asking for guidance from her ancestors to enter this new reformed chapter of her life.
“I’m a wounded prophet, I drink too often, I’m Insecure and overly cautious”
This intro is deeply reflective, and ZuluMecca is being vulnerable. I respect how she introduces the project because you wonder how it unfolds in the next songs and I believe this is how most people feel in society. The struggle to elevate because of all your vulnerabilities and the constant search for guidance to pull through.
The album transitions to the second track “Sing Forever.” Right here, the beat picks up but the sound still takes from the intro track. ZuluMecca is simply adding on to how much she has released emotion, wept, sung to the heavens and just reiterating that nothing in this life can really deter or make her afraid because of her greatness.
She says, “Fear is a portal for mere mortals, my spear shorter I tear corpses, I clear borders, I bear crosses.”
ZuluMecca‘s storytelling is so compelling that you just have to revert to her bars. The lyricism flows out of her easily, it’s easy to miss it. But the wordplay, her cadence in this track and how she picked up the momentum clearly show the state of mind she was in while recording this track.
She ends the track with a statement, “I’m an Oracle with the fortitude of a warrior, Zulu notorious for its kingdom…”
‘Culture’ joins in with an exciting vibe. You can tell Mecca was lighter in mood recording this song. It’s catchy, lyrical and a reminder to people that she is the culture. I love when she adds the “tss tsa ttss tssa aaa” ad-libs as it ties with the song perfectly.
“I gave you prophecy, shows you the god in me, I gave you knowledge…”
She’s basically proclaiming that she is the culture because she has given versatility through her discography, her lyricism, style, prophetic words, and so forth.
ZuluMecca converts to “Happy Art” and begins with the question,
“Do happy people make good art?”
“I’m alive so that’s a damn good start”
This is a valid question because we’re all walking paradoxes as she proclaims in this song. “Happy Art” is more on the conscious side of things, and it’s a very intimate listen because many can relate to this. The listener will feel seen with this one, and I believe that’s the intention of most conscious-themed productions.
ZuluMecca is unpacking a lot because most of the time with artists or creatives. Our artistry is best delivered when we’re going through a lot and you wonder if you can ever produce art if life suddenly made sense. Would they receive it the same? Lots of unpacking here. This is my favourite so far.
“Lost In The Fire” seems to be a metaphor for all the things, memories, and people Mecca has lost but also this can be literal as well. It’s a reflective song, and she’s going through the motions of the “what ifs.”
On “Deliver Us” ZuluMecca features lordkez, a musician, poet and multi-creative artist. She kicks off with clean vocals,
“Ain’t no mountain too tall for me to climb
Ain’t no river too long for me to dive right in”
They both pair well on this track and mesh with the jazzy melody. Mecca chimes in,
“Screaming he his risen but that shit don’t make you spiritual
If man-made god in his image well that’s your witness now”
Deliver us is beautifully spun into a conversation about our faith and us, the balance of it all like she said.
The ending track “Breathe Outrolude” interpolates the intro track, she picks up from the gut-wrenching end cry on “Broken Canvas.” Here she is chanting,
“breathe, please, breathe you are not drowning”
This ending is perfect and I’m disappointed it’s ending. ZuluMecca really exceeded my expectations of her, and she released a solid body of work. It’s thoughtful, intimate, powerful, raw and uncut. One of the best, arguably the best project out right now. 10/10.