Tumi Molekane’s long awaited album is finally here.
The Motif boss first spoke of the album over a year ago, and since then has teased fans with numerous features on his peers’ songs, world tours in between, and theatre installations here and there. More recently, Tumi released ‘In Defense of My Art’ and ‘Hello Kitty,’ bringing the anticipation for his own full length project had reached an all-time high, with no signs of release. Until now.
This morning at midnight, Tumi not only put out a surprise iTunes link to his album, but also personally sent us at HYPE an letter where he revealed the premise of his decision to to construct the album the way he did. He also shares some intimate thoughts about his mind state.
Return of the King is Tumi’s third solo album, with the first and second being Music From My Good Eye and Whole Worlds, respectively.
Read Letter below:
We Were Almost Great
An Open Letter
Not sure if anyone can remember a show called All You Need Is Love. It was one of them franchised TV shows licensed from Germany. It was a television matchmaker show that looked to connect and reconcile loved ones. It was by all accounts a successful show with a clear format and a game show look about it, well a game show on Valentine’s Day. I loved this show, not so much for the romance but for the unavoidable cracks in its format. Midseason something started to happen though. When they were looking for loved ones to reconcile they started finding these incredible stories of displacement, migrant workers with different families, breakups caused by poverty, of lost children and cross cultural family feuds. I can imagine this was incredibly frustrating to the producers trying to keep to the romantic formula of the show. The show lasted a few seasons but the die had been cast.
I like to think All You Need Is Love became Khumbul’eKhaya. The slick German game show got infected with the unavoidable truth of who we are. The real didn’t want to play along with the fantasy.
I think we are at that point in this country. Where these licensed ideas of freedom, democracy, unity, the free market and identity are starting to get infected by the real fact of poverty, corruption, insecurity, privilege and the heft of capitalism. We are starting to see the cracks. What was a picturesque Image of good triumphing over bad has become a complicated abstract. We are approaching that point where we are seeing a new show develop. A show titled We Were Almost Great.
We are trying to remember our heroes but are magnifying the villains, wanting to honour our artists but ignoring their art, supporting our teams by mocking them, trying to inspire our young through meaningless celebrity.
We are going to have to decide what kinda series we are. counterfeiters and licensees to our own lives. If we want to be treasured or sold. The instant gratification self proclaimed selfie stars or real kings and queens. Does the movie change now? Do we make our own unavoidable true story or become that dream deferred, the rainbow in a storm, the almost great.
I choose great. Always. It’s not easy to keep insisting on great. It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, it’s lonely heavy work, it’s thankless but it’s the only way I know to create and cultivate greatness. I approach my music in this way. I assume it’s important, that someone out there can use it for their party, their problems and their reflection. So when they talk about my work they talk about how it made them feel, what it gave them, where they disagreed, where it touched their dreams. I want people to purchase my album because they buy my story and believe my music and I didn’t want a big tasteless campaign interfering with that. One can control their own story and how it is transmitted. With that said It gives me great pleasure to announce on this, the 16th of June the release of my album. Enjoy. Return Of the King #TUMIROTK