SISTA X just released an amazing 22 song track album titled the X Agenda. We managed to review this body of work (Sista X makes a statement with The X Agenda) so catch up on what we had to say earlier otherwise read on for an exclusive 2 Parts interview with Sista X as she lets us in who she is, how the X Agenda album came about and more.
Who is Sista X & what is she about?
Sista X: Sista X is a human being. I could easily be identified by my gender, place of origin, my work: artistic or otherwise, and/or achievements (i.e., a female Zimbabwean, poet/hip hop artist…etc..), but before all that that, I am firstly human, hence, at this point, I choose, define myself as such. Sista X is all about humanity and human dignity, and being a female, a black person and an African, the quest for humanity and human dignity has always been the driving force behind my works.
What was the process of putting together the X Agenda?
Sista X: At the time when I decided to finally drop an album, I had no concept in mind. All I had was list of unrecorded tracks which I felt would at least make a 14 track album. I’m a beat collector, so I already had beats that I had received or bought from friends and local beat makers (Zimbabwean and South African) and only had to fish around for some reggae beats coz I didn’t have much of those at the time. But at some point it felt like that was not enough. I had to conceptualize. Figure out what I wanted to achieve with the album. At that time, so much was happening around Zimbabwe and South Africa (two spaces that I exist between). These happenings fed into my creative process and birthed “The X Agenda”.
With a concept in mind, I had to re-evaluate and, in some cases, revamp the material I had. I also had to come up with fresh material that suited the agenda. Coming up with new material proved not to be so difficult. I’m a person who is highly conscious of content, so I read a lot during this period. I also have a jogging routine, where I go jogging in the morning before work with my music and earphones. The morning air opens the mind and allows the creative juices to flow. So while jogging, I would freestyle to the beats I had or at times to hip-hop and reggae tracks from random Spotify playlists. This process also led to the creation of a couple of new tracks.
So the process of creating the album thus entailed exercise, freestyling, reading, lots of studio time (in the evenings after works and on some weekends), saving, and lots of discipline, (financially and otherwise). As a self-funded project, financial constraints slowed the process down a bit since I did my recordings a salary at a time. I had to add studio time to my monthly budget to get a track or two a month. But it was worth it coz I also got to work with various artists from between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Artists whose art I respect a lot. When I decided to make the album a double disc, the idea was to have the first tape consist of solo recordings and the second tape consist of collaborations. While I kept that balance between solo recording and collaborations, after second thoughts, to avoid monotony, I decided to mix it up.
There was also a lot of listening too, and leaning to be open to new ideas and views and to forgo my own. I had lots of disagreements with the 6ixbeats (Godknows Muparutse) who produced and engineered the album. I would lace a track the way I wanted it, and he would be like, ‘No; that doesn’t work’ even when I, the paying client, insisted that I wanted it the way I wanted it. And I appreciate that about him. The role he played and his honesty. He was very much involved in the album and did not allow me to just record, pay him and go without, him voicing his opinion and adding an input.
What is the resounding message from your X Agenda album?
Sista X: The X Agenda, in its totality, is an agenda on its own. The resounding message is that: “We are tired”. We are tired of living in dread (as women, as children, even as men). We are tired of being forced to cross borders and of separation of families. Tired of the loss of our identity; the breaking and dis-empowerment of our men…of the youth; of not being able to afford; of police brutality. There is so much more that we are tired of. But while acknowledging our state of despair as a people, there is an assentation of our strength and our worth despite circumstances. There is message of hope, a call for resilience, a prayer for more strength. An assurance that we are not alone in this struggle and that there will be better days. There is also confrontation and a plea for our leaders to do right by their people. Our man to do right by their women and children. Humans to do right to their fellow humans.
What is the sound and style of your album?
While I was going for something militant, as can be picked up in a few tracks like, “Chimurenga X” and “Tadzoka”, I tried to maintain the old school hip feel. I wanted a real RAP album that has that rhythm and the poetry while also embracing the different genres of music that I love and listen to. Thus the reggae sound here and there coz I predominantly listen to roots reggae. There are also jazzy elements and a bit of neo soul.
Don’t forget this is a 2 Parts interview with Sista X, so look out for Part 2 here. In the mean time go and stream the X Agenda album or BUY it HERE and beat this quarantine vibe, you won’t regret it!