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TOP TALENT: ATI is poised to release a new album

Fireworks guaranteed from ATI’s imminent album

He was termed the voice of change.

Who could forget his high-profile one-man demonstrations, which famously led to his arrest for filming outside the State House?

His sympathisers glorified him. They chanted, they sang his name, and brought traffic to a standstill in the city center.

A year later and all is quiet.

ATI’s ‘hero’ status has slipped. Some even nicknamed him ‘Iscariot’, a sell-out who caved-in, backing down just when the struggle needed him most.

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Through it all, however, one thing has never been in question: ATI’s undeniable talent.

It was without a second’s hesitation then, that Voice Entertainment’s SHARON MATHALA snapped up the offer to attend a listening session as the artist puts the finishing touches to his upcoming album, “Box Office”.

The session is intimate.

We find ATI with his producer.

This is the very same studio used to shoot some of the scenes for the ‘Setimamolelo’ music video.

The sense of history is thick in the air, which seems to crackle with creative energy.

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The LP is a continuation of ATI’s last album ‘Envelope’ where he gives listeners an insight into his ‘true self’ and has honest conversations through his lyrics.

With ‘Box Office’ the rapper stays true to his original sound, adopting a dance vibe reminiscent of the hit ‘Envelope’.

There is also obvious growth, as the singer attempts – and pulls off – to deepen his cutting-edge, dangerous feel.

The album bears the distinctive touch of young producers Riley C and Redd and also features the sounds of Dintle and Veezo View to name a few.

The idea is to appeal to a wider audience, explains ATI.

On his ‘Neo le kae’ song, in which he features Dintle, ATI is unusually cautious with his lyrics, which makes for a claustrophobic listen.

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On his ‘Makakauwe Maruaruwe’ track, he reflects on the journey that made him the subject of newspaper headlines last year.

He touches on exactly what was going through his mind during his first and second arrest, in which he was seemingly protesting against the Government of the day.

Other songs such as ‘Weapon of Love’ and ‘Ke lela le lona’ are slow burners, sure to grow on you.

The listener won’t jump at placing them on echore.

They are more subtle but once you get the hang of them, they may match, if not surpass, the huge success of another single on the album, the already-released ‘Lephoi.’

ATI gets real and raw with experiences on the singles ‘Call on me’ and ‘Setimamolelo’.

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Both are already in the public domain and have enjoyed rave reviews.

However, it is perhaps the trio of ‘A re bine’, ‘Still here’ and ‘Soul Taker’ in which he talks about his childhood traumas and troubles at school, which could just prove the crème of this inspiring collection of music.

His ‘Setimamolelo’ song is a musical stunner but it will be hard for listeners, just as it was for me, to pick a favorite.

ATI is yet to finalize the last bits of the album, like how many songs it will have exactly as well as what to call some of the songs.

But one thing is for certain, ‘Box Office’ is truly deserving of the title!

As we wrap up our exclusive session, the singer hints that after ‘Box Office’ he may bow out with a project called ‘Blockbuster’.

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