Exclusive Song Premiere: ‘Summer Jams,’ Alekesam

Today, we bring you breaking news from Sal Masekela that doesn’t involve a Kardashian. The former Daily 10 on E! and X Games host, and professional surfer is adding another entry—musician—to his eccentric CV. Rather than the sort of self-indulgent exploitation of Autotune and synthesizers typical of some of the celebrities he reports on, Masekela presses the rewind button on life, and his name, to produce the deeply contemplative album The Sound of Alekesam—a blend of R&B, jazz, and hip-hop under the moniker Alekesam. 

After years of telling other people’s stories, Masekela begun to string his own plot twists and motifs together. Indeed, his is a story worth telling.  Exiled from South Africa, Masekela’s father Hugh found success in America with the 1968 number-one hit “Grazin’ in the Grass.” Issues of abandonment and addiction cast a dark shadow on this success, however. Admittedly, Masekela’s musical foray is also an attempt to connect over sound waves, and reflect upon the story of a father exiled from his country, and a son exiled from his father. “All we ever needed was the music to tell us what went wrong,” proclaims Masekela in “Summer Jams,” a declaration of music’s unique ability to diagnose, sometimes alleviate, our most persistent pain.


In any event, today’s offering is decidedly more light-hearted. As summer continues to tease us, showing a little leg and quickly revoking the offer, Alekesam satisfies our desperation with “Summer Jams.” The track is delightfully sensory, with tropical-flavored beats and upbeat rhythms that summon the smell of sunscreen and salt water, practically undoing months of cold and loneliness in which we promised ourselves never to indulge in an ill-advised summer romance again. “All we ever needed is here right now,” Alekesam croons, reminding us also to “wear your stress like a sun dress.” Wholly satisfied with an amuse-bouche of summer, we only wonder if our stress is more of the Jil Sander or Alice + Olivia variety. “Summer Jams” is upbeat enough that we might go for the latter.