UK-Based Zimbabwean Rapper Sainté Drops 'Vacation' E.P

Gashirai Gondo, a Zimbabwean-born Leicester-based rapper known as Sainté, is back with a new 7 track EP titled Vacation showcasing lo-fi production, hard-hitting bass, and the occasional double-time flow.  “My restaurant’s not fully open right now. This is my pop-up store,” Sainté says in an interview with Apple Music. “The time will come to cut the ribbon and open properly, but for now, I keep asking myself, ‘How is the world changing over time?’ We all know that attention spans are getting shorter, so you must serve things slowly. But when you look back at all that was done, from ’21 to ’22, many will realize, ‘Oh, we completely misunderstood this guy.’ I’m honestly waiting for that!” 

The rapper, singer, and songwriter traded in dreams of reaching the NBA while enrolled at Loughborough University’s men’s basketball program, for the microphone and worked with the YSM (Young Sainté Movement) collective, facing equally stacked odds against an identical outsider status. However, his 2021 debut, Local MVP, ensured his intended gap year would become a permanent break. And months later, follow-up Out the Blue all but confirmed his stunning draft into the big leagues of UK rap.

The third EP Vacation sticks to the smooth, jazz-influenced sounds of its predecessors, working through new elements of Sainté’s bold, mosaic approach. Sainté has kept the project exclusive and only links with Maryland rapper Joony on the last track; “East” produced by Parker Jazz Keegan and Brad Baker. 

“Slowly, they’re starting to get what type of vibe I’m providing,” he says. “But still, people are surprised when I tell them that I don’t swear in any of my music. Or I don’t have Lamborghinis next to twerking girls in my videos. That’s not the image I want to push. I’m trying to inspire young people around the world, and those in unfortunate positions just like mine when I was starting out and didn’t know what to do.” It’s an admirable side-note to his overall ambition that you wouldn’t necessarily know about, judging by the angsty opener, “Arrogant”, or the brash, celebratory tone of “Compare”. And as the seven-track tape hits its brightest spot—“Sade”, a trap-influenced ode to a British soul icon—the many sides of the artist gradually appear across an intoxicating, ever-changing menu. 

Vacation was unveiled at a listening party in collaboration with Hypebeast last night 20 October in London, UK. 

The project title could be a play on a classic British film The Saint's Vacation released back in 1941.

UK-Based Zimbabwean Rapper Sainté Drops 'Vacation' E.P

Sainté self-produced a couple of tracks off the project whilst Parker Jazz Keegan, Bradley Baker and Scottie Thompson also locked in some songs.

Here is the tracklist and Sainté’s track-by-track insights:

1. Arrogant
“When I made this, it wasn’t meant to be the intro, but I was thinking, ‘How do I want to reintroduce myself?’ Because when you drop [a project], you’ve entered the room. But once it’s out, you’ve left. So, that introduction is key, but you can’t overthink it—the response isn’t about you. So, this is the perfect intro for me. It’s flexing, but it’s still humble and very much Sainté.”

2. Organic Growth
“It’s all in the name here. My growth is very much evident, but people can’t deny the fact that it’s organic. The voice at the outro here is Trey Richards, brother of Jae Richards, and they have their own platform [4YE Media] that I watched all the time back in college and uni. They’re Canadian, and they’re kind of popping in comedy, sports, and fashion. They’re also close friends with Drake. Last year, Trey posted [2021 single] ‘Champagne Shots’ on his Instagram, and long story short, we hit it off on the phone after that. Now we’re good friends. To get someone I’ve looked up to for so long on this track is the cherry on top.”

3. Valentine
“I call this the underdog track because of how much it grew on me. I want all the single ladies singing this on a ‘You thought I was feeling you?’ type of vibe. And I’ll let you in on a secret: every song I’ve ever released has a sibling out there. Two obvious examples are [2022 singles] ‘Queen’ and ‘Aim’, and I won’t say what other songs pair up, but you’ll be able to work it out if you listen closely. It could be a similar feeling, a small part of the sound or something like the hi-hats, even the vocals. There’s always that relation, somewhere.”

4. Sade
“With this project, I wanted to give out that feeling Sade gives when I listen to her music. It’s like taking you off somewhere luxurious for a short while: a vacation. This track was an interlude, to begin with, but it has a personality like mine. It fought for a chance and got itself another verse eventually. Of all my singles, it’s certainly one of my favourites.”

5. Compare
“This song is all about the delivery for me. Let’s say you came to me, super stressed out. I’d probably reassure you in this exact tone. But it’s also a low-key rant. I’m starting to feel that people want to box me, so they can put me on their [comparison] board with other names. I knew stuff like this would happen, but I still want to say, ‘You can’t categorize me or tell me the type of artist I am.’”

6. Soul Mate
“This is a low-key love song, without being forceful, whilst paying homage to one of the greats, 50 Cent [sampling 2005 single ‘Best Friend’].”

7. East” (feat. Joony)
“I listened to the [nearly] finished project, like, ‘OK, am I happy with this?’ And trying to answer my own questions on where I want to take things next brought me to ‘East’. This song feels like it’s from the same realm as the rest, so I had to throw it on as a bonus.”

Check out the promo below and follow this link to Stream the project.

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Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

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