“I make more money now” – The Saudi rapper on being his own boss


While he was still working on his first mixtape after creating his new venture, it was leaked months before its official release.

He is now ready to release his second mixtape, Msotra Don’t Die since he left Ambitiouz Entertainment a few years ago and he is praying that the same thing doesn’t happen.

His first mixtape, which he released in 2020 titled The Drip’s Leak, was leaked after it was pirated.

Rapper Anele Mbisha, popularly known as Saudi, hopes that won’t happen to his next project.

“I’m praying it doesn’t happen this time because when it did I was devastated,” he told Drum.

Many thought he leaked the mixtape as a publicity stunt, but he says the project was far from done when it hit the internet.

“I did not leak the songs myself. I was really disgusted to find that they were all over the net. I thought I’d let myself set up a little project and publish it officially. I hadn’t finished at all when it leaked. I had to quickly put in the effort to promote it but it was the first time I had to promote my project. It was a learning experience. Luckily, I signed a distribution deal with The Orchard,” he says.

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The new mixtape has 12 tracks and features only Emtee.

“I have a feature. I didn’t intend to have features but Emtee uyafosta, he insisted,” he jokes.

“I hadn’t released music for so long, I wanted the project to be very focused on me and my talent. But because I’m close to Sjava and Emtee, having them on my projects doesn’t seem like a feature to me. They are part of the process.

Saudi wants people to choose their favorite songs in Msotra Don’t Die but he is passionate about the intro titled Father’s Day.

“Father’s Day stands out because it speaks to what I’m going through. I’ve never had a father and my understanding of the alpha male is someone who takes care of his family,” he says.

“My mission was to buy a house and be the father figure I never once had, for his name’s sake. That matters to Anele Mbisha, not the Saudis. That’s a goal and a dream. This is the intro to my mixtape. Fortunately, I’m not a father yet. I’m at a point in my life where I understand how important it is to have a father and I have days when I would have liked to do it.

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At one point, he was untouchable and part of a group of artists signed to Ambitious Entertainment.

Their music has been on the top charts of radio stations across the country. His music was featured in the Marvel Comics movie, Black Panther. The list of artists included Sjava, Emtee, A Reece, Fifi Cooper, DJ Citi Lyts and B3nchMarQ who have all since left the label.

Saudi now runs his own record label Ovloe Monoloply and once he got the hang of it the business ran smoothly.

“I’m the only artist signed to the label because I believe in myself,” he says.

Things have been easier than he imagined since he left the label and he is happy to be in charge of all his finances.

“Being my own boss put my career in my hands,” he says.

“I earn more money now. But I have a lot more responsibilities.

Unlike other artists who left their former record labels unhappy, Saudi says he did well.

“I don’t need to speak ill of people. I would never want anyone to betray my trust, so I don’t do the same to them. Ambitiouz was not some strange slave trade. I was well paid. I left on good terms because we had a good professional relationship.

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Being his own boss isn’t easy and when he first left the label he wondered if he had made the right decision.

“My biggest worry and anxiety was whether I made the right decision or if it would work and what would happen if people closed the doors. What if bad things were said and people didn’t want to do business with me. But I found out that none of that happened. It was all in my head, it doesn’t exist,” he says.

“It was a huge scare and again, being young and being around people who have a passion for music motivated me.”

He sometimes lacks the comfort of having everything taken care of by a record company, but he does not regret having run his own company.

“I’m not going to lie, I miss the good times and the good memories of Ambitious,” he says.

“It was a fun time in my life with friends. We were doing this for the first time and having success with friends that you came from downstairs with made me feel good. It was crazy. But at this point of my life, I need more as a man, a recording artist, a business and much more than what I have been offered in the past,” he says.

“If I left, it was so that I could grow. I know I needed a certain amount of information to be in control and I’m still learning every day.

Saudi says in the process he learned he can’t do it all on his own and needs a team.

“In the beginning, finding time for music and business was a big challenge, but I learned that I couldn’t do everything on my own,” he says.

“I can’t be my own manager, CEO, create the music, rehearse and attend shows. I learned to delegate and give people jobs and find a system that works for me and we can all make money,” he says.

His goal is to be one of the greatest artists in Africa.

“I want to be the greatest artist on my continent. I want to do it while having a sound that is unique to me and really South African like it always has been. I want to upgrade to Burna Boy or Black Coffee. I have all the time to do it and the potential to do it. It’s really something that matters to me,” he says.

But he knows he has to get involved and collaborate with other creative people.

“I like artists who are creative and supportive. Collaboration is the secret of success in this sector.

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