Mozambican rapper Azagaia has died at the age of 38, Television of Mozambique (TVM) announced Thursday, citing a family source, without specifying the cause of death.
Azagaia was the stage name of Edson da Luz, writer of the intervention lyrics that earned him, among other things, the title of “rapper” of the people.
“I am extremely shocked. There is no doubt that Mozambican music and culture are grieving. The world has lost a unique rapper,” Mozambican Culture Minister Eldevina Materoula told Lusa in reaction to the news.
Azagaia became famous for open criticism of the country’s governanceso much so that in 2008 he was interrogated by the Office of the General Prosecutor (PGR).
Three days after violent protests paralyzed the capital, Maputo, over price hikes, the issue began “People in power”.
“I was asked if music can’t incite people to violence,” he told Lusa, after being heard on PGR, where he replied “no” because “a work of art is susceptible to interpretation.”
“We don’t fall for the old story anymore / We’re out to fight the scum / Thieves / Corrupt / Shout for me to make these people go / Shout for me ’cause the world isn’t crying anymore,” Azagaia said into the microphone.
The rhymes were not broadcast on public radio and television, and MPs from the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), which has been in power since independence, singled him out as an opposition interpreter.
In 2014, he caused controversy when he appeared on a television program tossing a cannabis cigarette, justifying it for therapeutic purposes and having already been detained by the police on two occasions.
A few months after the scandal, he announced the end of his career on the Internet, all told in the two albums “Babalaze” and “Cubaliwa”.
He moved to Namaacha, his hometown, 75 kilometers south of Maputo: “If it’s for me to die, I’d rather be there,” concluded the rapper, son of a Cape Verdean father and a Mozambican mother.
Still in 2014 he announced that he was suffering from a brain tumor and a fundraising campaign was created that raised €20,300 to pay for surgery in India.
The campaign collected contributions from fans in Mozambique, South Africa and Angola.
Edson da Luz returned to the scene a year and a half later, at a concert in a Maputo nightclub in April 2016, but since then he has remained in a much more discreet position on the Mozambican art scene.
Among other titles, fans called him “the people’s ‘rapper'” and many recognized him as the writer of the theme song “As Lies da Verdade”.
The track comes from his album “Babalaze” (meaning “hangover” in the Changana language) an adaptation of the poetic work “Babalaze das Hienas” by the late Mozambican poet José Craveirinha. hope / Because people were taught to fear change / But what could I tell you / That the opposition and the government are no different / Everyone eats from the same plate / And everything is as they want”, reads the lyrics of one of the iconic themes from the Azagaia.