AKA’s Levels Album Cover Decoded

AKA's Levels Album Cover Decoded and explained as African Futurism

AKA, one of South Africa’s prominent hip-hop artists, released his highly acclaimed album “Levels” in 2014. While the album received critical acclaim for its musical brilliance, AKA’s Levels album cover is also a captivating expression of African Futurism rich in symbolism and historical references.

We decode the meaning of the “Levels” album cover, exploring its connection to Africa’s links with Ancient Kemet (Egypt) through the depiction of the Pyramids of Meroe in Sudan.

Additionally, we will examine how the album cover echoes the origins of colonialism in South Africa by portraying the arrival of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape Coast in 1652.

Moreover, we will analyse how the inclusion of various elements, such as a Boombox, classic S-Class Mercedes Benz W126 Coupe, an African shirt, and a Rolex Oyster Watch, underscores the African Futurism present in AKA’s music, particularly in the standout track “Run Jozi.”

I. The Symbolism of the Pyramids of Meroe

The album cover of “Levels” opens with a striking image of the Pyramids of Meroe, situated in Sudan, hinting at Africa’s historical connections to Ancient Egypt.

Meroe was a prosperous kingdom and a significant center of trade and culture in Northeast Africa during the height of its civilization, around 300 BCE to 350 CE.

The pyramids of Meroe, like their counterparts in Egypt, represent an architectural marvel and are a testament to the advanced civilization that once thrived in the region.

Depicting the Pyramids of Meroe on the album cover highlights the shared heritage and cultural ties that exist between various African civilizations, transcending geographical boundaries. It serves as a reminder of Africa’s rich history and the achievements of its ancient peoples, challenging the historically prevalent narrative that tends to overlook or misrepresent the continent’s contributions to human civilization.

II. Echoes of Colonialism in South Africa

The second part of the album cover portrays an important historical event that laid the foundations of colonialism in South Africa. It depicts the arrival of the Dutch East India Company under Jan Van Riebeeck at the Cape Coast in 1652.

This moment marked the beginning of European settlement in the region and the eventual colonization of South Africa.

The portrayal of this event in AKA’s Levels Album Cover carries a deep message about the impact of colonialism on the indigenous African populations.

It acknowledges the harsh realities of colonization, including dispossession, exploitation, and the imposition of foreign ideologies on the local cultures. By including this historical reference, AKA draws attention to the complexities of South Africa’s past and the enduring struggles faced by its people in the wake of colonial rule.

III. Elements of African Futurism in AKA’s Music

The album cover of “Levels” incorporates several contemporary elements that signify the concept of African Futurism, a genre that envisions a future that embraces African culture, traditions, and technological advancements. The inclusion of a Boombox, a classic S-Class Mercedes Benz W126 Coupe, an African shirt, and a Rolex Oyster embodies this futuristic perspective infused with African aesthetics.

  1. Boombox: The Boombox is a symbol of hip-hop culture and its roots in African-American communities. By featuring a Boombox, AKA pays homage to the genre that has been an influential part of his musical journey.
  2. Classic S-Class Mercedes Benz W126 Coupe: The classic luxury car represents success and achievement, reflecting AKA’s rise to fame as a successful artist. It also symbolizes how African artists are breaking barriers and gaining international recognition in the global music industry.
  3. African Shirt: AKA’s attire in the album cover embraces his African heritage and cultural identity, emphasizing the importance of celebrating one’s roots and identity in the face of globalization and cultural homogenization.
  4. Rolex Oyster: The Rolex Oyster is a status symbol, suggesting AKA’s elevation to a prominent position within the music industry. Its presence on the album cover symbolizes AKA’s triumphs and accomplishments, showcasing the possibilities and successes that lie ahead for African artists.

IV. “Run Jozi”: A Cult Classic with African Futurism

The most outstanding track on the “Levels” album, “Run Jozi,” exemplifies the essence of African Futurism in AKA’s music. The song features a fusion of contemporary beats and African rhythms, creating a unique sound that resonates with both local and international audiences. Lyrically, the track explores themes of ambition, determination, and the drive to succeed, encapsulating AKA’s journey as an artist in a rapidly changing world.


The “Levels” album cover by AKA is a masterful portrayal of African heritage, history, and aspirations. Through the depiction of the Pyramids of Meroe, it celebrates Africa’s links to Ancient Egypt, highlighting the continent’s significant contributions to human civilization.

Simultaneously, the portrayal of the arrival of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape Coast underscores the complex legacy of colonialism in South Africa.

Furthermore, the inclusion of elements such as the Boombox, classic Mercedes Benz, African shirt, and Rolex Oyster represents the concept of African Futurism, signifying the fusion of tradition and modernity in AKA’s music.

In “Run Jozi,” the standout track of the album, these themes are amplified, reflecting AKA’s artistic vision and his journey as a trailblazing South African hip-hop artist.

The “Levels” album cover is not just a visual representation of AKA’s music but a powerful statement of African pride, resilience, and creativity in a world that continues to evolve and change.