Lyrical maestro Stogie T is not only impressive for being one of the SA Hip Hop OGs actively still putting out music, he is consistently unmatched lyrically. Add to that the fact that he pulled off a successful rebrand which didn’t require being completely different. He comes back to grace us with an 8-track EP titled The Empire Of Sheep.
It’s the third project under the moniker Stogie T. Knowing Stogie, it was bound to be a bar-fest. At a length of 8-tracks, I find it to be well packaged, making it easy for consumption. Stogie went with a classic jazzy sound, which seems to be his go-to for a premium finish in sound. It’s been a strong point since the rebrand, a sick beat selection.
In his previous project, Honey and Pain, Stogie set out to put in contrast the good and bad of life. With this EP he gives us experiences of common folks in societies they live in. the song Nobodies paints a sad picture of how little regard society has for the poor. Ayanda Jiya does an amazing job on the vocals in the chorus, giving the song energy. Stogie tells his stories in an artistic way. His ability to paint pictures can be spotted on most of the tracks on here.
Love and War is a song that will come out as a favourite for many out of the EP. He is non-sequential as he tells a story of a soldier in a place of war who finds himself mesmerised and tempted by a foreign beauty. The temptation is heightened even more by the fact that it’s a rare occurrence for him. Stogie proceeds to build the soldier’s character while giving his surroundings life as well. The story of conquest is glorious, the deeds behind it are anything but. A knight in shining camouflage. He is just as creative on PTSD as he gives a perspective of a retired soldier with no place to belong while suffering the lasting effects of war.
It’s not all war stories though. The EP has rappity rap joints to give a reminder of the force that is Stogie T. The EP starts off with one – Kill The King. The philosopher side of Stogie is one to admire, it adds another dimension to an already multidimensional emcee. The Last O.G and Vendetta are the other songs where Stogie takes a break from his theme. Shitting on the current generation of rappers is more graceful when he does it through his raps.
Back to the theme, this is a project about common folks and their experiences through life. Stogie packages it perfectly with Strength. Strength to those who have fallen, and more importantly to those who are still going strong, making an honest living. He’s poetic as he gives props to those who may not be getting much of it, if any.
“An army of sheep led by a lion will always defeat an army of lions led by a sheep”. This paints another context as to the name and the theme of this project. Stogie T could be highlighting that we live in a time where there is lack of leadership, be it in politics or in society in general.