Strolling the streets of Mafateng, Lesotho, in Southern Africa, where I live and work, I heard a thumping hip-house beat, blaring from a nearby storefront. The droning hook was dripping with effrontery—one that my passing Sesotho could grasp: ha ke na nako, ha ke na nako, ha ke na nako ("I don't have time, I don't have time, I don't have time"), referring apparently to all the people vying for the rappers' attention. What struck me was its uncanny likeness to Migos on a Zaytoven beat.
The song was mostly rapped in Sesotho (one of Lesotho's two official languages, the other being English, which British colonizers brought with them over a century ago), a language that is largely open-syllabic (in words, single consonants are almost always followed by single vowels). The emcee masterfully deployed his native tongue, facilitating a choppiness that sheathed his monosyllabic, pulsating verse. Wielding Sesotho, it's quite easy to achieve what Western rap audiences refer to as the 'Migos flow'. The beat stuttered, looping a deep bassline underneath a soaring, mellifluous melody. If I closed my eyes, I could've effortlessly pictured myself back in college, very much on one, at a kickback in a smoky West End, Atlanta apartment.