When Auckland rapper Mzwètwo tried travelling to the U.S. in 2016, he was denied entry at customs. The rising artist and producer recently explained the scary ordeal in a Facebook video, detailing how he was handcuffed and held overnight in a jail cell.
After being taken to his cell, Mzwètwo met another detainee; who told him all about his family and then offered Mzwètwo (who hadn’t eaten all day) a burrito. Mzwètwo said in the video, “In that moment I realised the power and impact of love, the value of love… To be able to love and accept love. I realised the value of freedom, the value of expressing yourself.”
He added that the weight of what had happened hit him after he returned home, saying “After my embarrassment, after my depression, I realised what a true gift that experience was.”
Mzwètwo’s cellmate has been detained for over a year, and isn’t due to be released for another month.
Inspired by the event, the rapper has released one of his most heartfelt songs to date. ‘I Just Wanna Ball’ is an emotional and stripped back tune about wanting freedom and equality, and it covers the mental health issues that Mzwètwo’s faced over the past year.
His lyrics are raw, achingly honest, and the song’s set to simple guitar played by Nick Raven. He softly raps that he’s tired of being made to “feel like my colour is a sin”. It’s incredibly compelling, produced sparsely and tastefully, and it may be his best song yet.