I’m all about the Rouge

Via @rouge_1 Instagram Image Credit: @iambigdreamz

Via @rouge_1 Instagram Image Credit: @iambigdreamz

Okay look. I’m a late bloomer at some things. It took me a minute to get to listening to Rouge’s album. But when I did, I couldn’t stop listening to it. I also can’t stop replaying her verse on Ms Cosmo’s “Connect” featuring Nasty C and K1’s number one, Kwesta. She also killed it on Shekhinah’s “Power To She”. Rouge is shifting the game.

The New Era Sessions is a quality album. It came as no surprise when she grabbed the gong for “Best Female Artist” at the South African Hip Hop Awards this past week.

I strongly feel that categories based on gender should fall but that’s a debate for another day.

The New Era Sessions is quality because Rouge is quality.

The artist born- Deko Barbara-Jessica Wedi was discovered in high school but little did she know, she’d be dropping the baddest lyrics and rhymes a few years later.

Rouge, which is French for ‘red’ was a chosen stage name by the 25-year-old as she felt it embodies everything she is about, things like, power, love, anger, passion and rage. She also chose it because it incorporates her Congolese heritage. And yes, to answer your question, she speaks French.

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She has been in the industry for a couple of years before she burst into the limelight and recognised for her magnificent talent.

Rouge released hot singles such as “Real Talk”, “My Moment”, “Party”, “Mi Corazon” featuring BigStar. In 2015, she released “Bua” featuring Reason. Same year she featured in Supa Mega’s “Baddest Remix” with all the other baddest Mcees such as Gigi Lamayne, Fifi Cooper and Moozlie.

The following year, she featured in Dj Switch single “Better Than This”. She then dropped her first single “Mbongo Zaka” featuring Moozlie from her debut concept album, The New Era Sessions.

She describes it as a conversation with a robot, which is a metaphor for the internet- social media but in a therapy setting.

It’s a futuristic 15-track album. She called on her regular collaborator BigStar, as well as Moozlie, Kly and Shasha.

It begins with an intro (as all albums do) it’s a spoken poetry vibe type introduction behind an instrumental. In it, she tackles her fears on being in the industry, love, break up, family and a story of success that she envisions for herself. It ends with four topical break down of the entire album, Old School, Trap, Love and Empowerment.

“Underrated” opens up the ode to old school conversation with Rouge telling her tale as a new artist trying to find her position in the ‘jungle’ that is the music industry and about how she’d rather remain underrated than live like ‘the rich and famous’ only to be forgotten when she steps out of the game. “Celebrity” continues with her take on celebrity life, all the luxuries and how these stars can be horrible and care more about their aesthetics whilst ignoring all the people that put them where they are. She goes on to elaborate on what she is bringing to the table and what type of star she is going to be. She’s asserting herself as a force to be reckoned with on “Let It Go”.

“Deja Vu” is a dance track sure to get you on your feet, taking a negative situation turning it into a positive situation. “No Pressure” leads the trap sound, with playful flow, Rouge talking about feeling zero pressure to do just about anything anyone else expects from her. “Dololo” with the sexiest voice by BigStar. Rouge says to think of it as local scrubs, remember TLC’s “Scrub”? Yes, that’s it. “Arumtumtum” is another playful song that’s just about having fun. With a catchy beat, you’ll find yourself singing along. It’s the kind of song that sticks with you. It closes the Trap chapter.

“Naledi” is a melodic sound that opens up the Love set with a story about a girl called Naledi. She is basically what the new generation calls a thot, attached to her every bit of negative connotation you can find. Rouge unravels the story behind her ratchetness, reasons behind who she is and why she does what she does. Almost similar to the girl in Angela Makholwa’s Blessed Girl.

“The Break Up” is a personal experience rhymed in a argumentative dialogue, which ultimately led to a break up. It’s very relatable to many (if not everybody) it’s very emotional, it can make you crack into pieces — so best avoid when you’re around people unless you’re braver than the rest of us who get triggered by such.

“Simon Says” is a story about a main having a go about all the sides who are trying to overtake her position.

“No Strings” switches to a relationship about zero attachment from a girl’s perspective. Basically flipping the script from sexualising women to sexualising men.

Fragile masculinity was seen in a lot reviews or rather responses to the song with men talking about “women shouldn’t talk this way”. BOY, BYE!

“Mbongo Zaka” leading single for the project start the empowerment conversation. Featuring Skhanda Queen, Moozlie. It’s about a woman boss, who is pretty independent and about that guap life.

“Sheba Ngwan’o” tails the success story she wants for herself and this in a nutshell about people looking at her as prime example of where they want to be in life.

“Mabele” is an African-themed song from Lingala language of the Congolese people, which means soil. It’s about returning back to soil. Taking pride about where you come from. It closes The New Era Sessions perfectly.

Cop your copy at your nearest Musica or buy on iTunes and PlayStore.