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What To Expect From Okmalumkoolkat’s Mlazi Milano

OKMalumKoolKat has finally released his highly anticipated Mlazi Milano. Read our review and make a decision on whether or not you wanna spend a cent on this one.

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Okmalumkoolkat - Mlazi Milano album review

He’s one of South Africa’s most noted authentic creatives, rappers and street style icons.

And after a long wait between some pretty interesting jams like 100 Macasette, fans between Braamfontein, townships and the rest of the continent finally have a full body of work to enjoy from OkMalumkoolkat.

Okmalumkoolkat - Mlazi Milano album

It’s here! OkMalumkoolkat has finally released the highly anticipated Mlazi Milano.

Mlazi Milano is a 17 track album containing OkMalumkoolkat’s fresh – while – retro repertoire of works. But while we can confirm that he will not be pleased with the assumption that he is proving a point with Mlazi Milano, we will proceed to say that he automatically proves he is a lyricist.

The album opens with the spirited rhythmic Bayavuma intro. In less than 3 minutes, the song sets a mood that will only be contrasted, elevated and completed into a full story in the rest of the album. On the song, the style savvy rapper is humming traditional African chants against the backdrop of organic African drums.

Okmalumkoolkat - Mlazi Milano album review

This cultural feel hits a contrast on the next track, the album title track Mlazi Milano.

The mid tempo banger opens with sounds of an airplane taking off, before he smashes in with verses loaded with messages of his journey from Mlazi, Durban, to taking on the world. It’s also the first lyrical song in the album, so we get to delve into the original township jargon he has initiated himself. This way of play on language will be a strong feature throughout the record.

The 33 year old wordsmith moves on to claim what he’s been most celebrated in the past or so three years in the skit Spina Gusheshe. Listeners are treated to sounds of a township revving of a car, people cheering and other cars hooting. This practice is popular in township, as is a Gusheshe – a pre ’93 BMW 325 car that has come to represent ghetto nostalgia.

Okmalumkoolkat - Mlazi Milano album review

Hard at work: OkMalumkoolkat has been in the studio perfecting Mlazi Milano. Photo: Instagram

The journey then takes us to where the album would inevitably go – kwaito.

Feel free to send us your thoughts on track #4 – Ntwana Yam, as we want to bet this will be one of the biggest bangers in 2017. At this point of the album, Simiso Zwana starts flexing his lyrical abilities while proving his versatility. Ntwana Yam is a  mid – tempo throwback feeling with a modern day twist and has already been presented as possibly the first official single.

The song is also the closest thing to what might define as Okmalumkoolkat’s trademark sound since 100 MaCasette.

The album’s multi faceted sound takes a different turn on Mathanazane Wami. It’s no surprise that he has enlisted the digital maskandi skills of Mashayabhuqe, they come a long way since their affiliations with original street crew Boyz N Bucks. Needless to say, the song is cool fusion of kwaito, Hip Hop and thanks to ‘Mr. South Africa’ – Maskandi.

The progression from that to the next song – Amalobola is where fans will start to get the coherent story in the album. It really is just a fresh celebration of kwaito, Hip Hop with traditional elements, African harmonies and plenty of street credibility. Amalobola has enough swag, bars and 808s housing pleasant scathamiya vocals.

There’s something for classic rap lovers on Tongue Foo featuring uSanele, Bra Sol and Boyzdem, Galileo, Ekse Aweh and Uk’thula. Of course we are still on vernacular rap with OkMalumKoolKat’s original street lingo, but the beat, flow and bars are pure Hip Hop.

MLAZI MILANO ALBUM TRACKLIST 

  1. Bayavuma (intro)
  2. Mlazi Milano
  3. Spina Gusheshe
  4. Ntwana Yam
  5. Mthanazane Wami
  6. Amalobola
  7. Tongue Foo
  8. Galileo
  9. U’kthula
  10. Ekse Aweh
  11. Sele Sele
  12. La Liga
  13. Mega Milano
  14. Gqi
  15. Ngiyashisa Bhe
  16. Spoek Mathambo
  17. Bhuti Ontsundu

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Music

Samthing Soweto: Isphithiphithi Album Review – A Potential Album of The Year

Samthing Soweto is a beast.

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Image Credit: Supplied

Samthing Soweto is having a supreme moment of encounter with destiny. His oeuvre delivers a timeless classic that not only places him ahead of the melee, but has the potential to shift the industry forward with its manifesto for a return to brilliance as a benchmark.

Real name Samkelo Mdolomba, the hitmaker finally liberated his highly anticipated debut studio album, Isphithiphithi.

Already touted as a strong contender for album of the year by satiated fans and critics, the 13-track project marks a full circle for Samthing Soweto, who first flirted with the thrill of commercial success in 2011 as one of the founding members of acapella group – The Soil.

But having left the group on the cusp of their greatest era, that ride was short lived. He retreated from the spotlight, pursuing projects more aligned with his creative instincts. What followed was an EP called This n that without tempo, and a stint as frontman of Nu Jazz formation, The Fridge.

Those who’d heard of him wondered if he regretted his decision to leave. In a business of one chances, it looked tragic that he’d seemingly missed the spaceship.

Yet, almost a decade later, Samthing Soweto has become possibly the most exciting artist in the business. For this reason, Isphithiphithi distills the fullness of time.

He’s managed to power his discography with a slew of amapiano bops, ingratiating him to house music lovers. Though on this record, the singer steps fully into his creative DNA as a soulful artist with unmatched chops. The album is flavoured and strewn across influences and smooth blends of various genres; Nu Jazz, Afro-Soul, Afro-Pop and dance. He is a cross-pollinator.

Working with a bevy of the country’s high powered producers, such as Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa and Thabo Ngubane, a.k.a Mass, Samthing Soweto has engineered a richly layered masterpiece that launches his solo career from a crest.

The album premiered to much fanfare, having topped the iTunes album chart based on pre-orders alone. The lead single, ‘Akulaleki’, one of this summer’s biggest street anthems, was also #1 on iTunes across genres, making Samthing Soweto the first South African artist to achieve this feat.

Isphithiphithi opens with Sebenzela Nina. Tugging at the heartstrings of nostalgia, the song lavishes the culture with the distinctly African sounds that orchestrate a lush vibe on every song on the album. It’s how we know he didn’t ride the amapiano wave so much as elevate it.

Lyrically, the song captures the nuanced black South African experience, an ode to a parent telling his children how he expresses his love through his service to them. They have food everyday because he loves them. In this way, once more, the song introduces the authentic storytelling that is evident in Samthing Soweto’s writings.

He uses his platform to give meaning and melody to experiences, as well as the joys and blues that attend to them. But that’s not the only thing setting him apart from the melee.

The next song, Azishe, offers a winding listen. It’s about ganja. The singer reflects on the sense of escape offered by substances. “Ngizokwazi ukukhohlwa amanyala engiwabona everyday” (So that I will forget about the tragedies I see everyday). It’s a groovy song, but the words couldn’t be more poignant. The same can be said for Omama Bomthandazo, a prayer for women at a time where femicide haunts the country.

Nodoli goes down as one of the most beautiful songs you will hear this year. It’s an ode to the subject of his affection, whose dazzling beauty enchants Samthing Soweto.

Strategically, the singer places his more upbeat songs towards the end of the album. Lotto (featuring Mlindo The Vocalist, Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa), amaDM and Akulaleki have already capture the dance scene and the charts.

As a complete project, Isphithiphithi sounds like work that took time to be created. Samthing Soweto’s powerful voice hovers on each song. It’s a richly layered album, each song sufficing to exist beyond the world of the album. Yet as a cohesive set, the album decks out a brilliant offering.

TRACKLIST 

  1. Sebenzela Nina
  2. Azishe
  3. Omama Bomthandazo (ft. Makhafula Vilakazi)
  4. Nodoli
  5. Uvalo
  6. Thanda Wena Pt 2 (ft. Shasha)
  7. Umuhle Uyasabeka
  8. Uthando Lwempintshi Yakho
  9. Isphithiphithi
  10. Happy Birthday
  11. Lotto (ft. Mlindo The Vocalist, Dj Maphorisa & Kabza De Small)
  12. AmaDM (ft. Dj Maphorisa & Kabza De Small & Mfr Souls)
  13.  Akulaleki (ft. Shasha, Dj Maphorisa & Kabza De Small)

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Reviews

Lady Zamar Victors On ‘Monarch’ – ALBUM REVIEW

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Lady Zamar Monarch album review
Photo Credit: Lady Zamar via Instagram
Price:
R89.99

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On Jun 24, 2019
Last modified:Oct 4, 2019

Summary:

Monarch is sublime.

Lady Zamar on Friday burrowed a triumphant return to the charts with the premiere of her second solo studio album, Monarch. It’s a project which devoted fans have been waiting for since she made the announcement earlier this month.

Co-penned by Moonchild Sanelly, Msaki and DJ Choice, the 20 track project is a confident and vulnerable display of the singer’s rare ability to summon her own wave and ride it.

Parts of the album are a constellation of fantasies that luxuriate vibey dance sonics – creating perfect feel good summer jams. We’ve fallen in love with the sun-drenched vocals she lays down to lavish the lush and catchy melodies of her records; it’s the ingredient that makes her such a delight to so many.

Melody has been her thing since, well, Mamelodi.

We know by now that Lady Zamar is a story teller with an impressive gift of giving melodic and poetic justice to her world. It’s a world of joy, disappointment, triumph, love, pain and the many layers of life.

Monarch embraces all these layers and fashions them into a catalogue of sublime songs.

“I write all these stories of love coz of the love I’ve had, love I have and love I one day want to have..”, she tweeted, confirming the central role played by her own experiences in the creation of the album.

Lady Zamar Monarch album review

Other parts, however, reveal anew the elastic layers of her artistry. Many words are billowing with complexities of love, and the blues that attend to romantic relationships. Our Process and More and More made me teary throughout the weekend and I’m no softie.

ALBUM REVIEW: ANATII’S ‘IYEZA’ MARKS HIS BEST WORK YET

The 20 track project comes hot on the heels of her first SAMA win for Collide, easily one of the biggest street anthems from 2018.

The single came from an even more successful debut, King Zamar, which spawned a slew of chart topping bops and single handedly catapulted her career to first league.

The meteoric success of her critically lauded King Zamar really does place a level of expectation on Monarch. And, as artists with killer debuts would attest, the fear of a sophomore slump is very real.

Though, Lady Zamar’s second album is more than just an attempt to sustain the standard she set for herself and the local soundscape. It’s a cohesive project of 20 songs delivered with undeniably brilliant writing, a whole lot of emotion and overall dope ass quality.

ALBUM REVIEW: MOBI DIXON’S 10 STEPS AHEAD IS HERE 

The album kicks off with This Is Love, the first single. In some ways the song, already a commercial success, sets the tone for the record. Like a few songs here, it has all the elements of a feel good hit.

Except – and this is consistently true for many big moments throughout the album – there’s a constant element of sadness that creates an interesting contrast between some of the dance bops and the words she laces over them.

“I think he’s taking me for granted, because I decided to be kind” is the first line in the entire album, creating the space for other even more poignant lyrics down the line. She’s crying out a lover whose affections are elusive. We later learn that the said lover is not the main. “Oh, he saying he loves me. Saying now I should leave my man.” 

A love steeped in betrayal and lies continues on ICU,  the 12th track. The sirens in the beginning, which stop after creating a dramatic atmosphere, establish a mood of urgency. “Baby I see you, and all the things you do. Broken, dying and I’m lying in the emergency room”, she signs over one of the album’s grooviest beats.

“Don’t deny my love, I know I need it, hold me near. It’s a crisis that we feel but we are torn apart”, she trills on Destiny, one of the album’s most beautiful highlights. Fans have been looking forward to having the studio version of the song since hearing its unreleased acoustic debut during her Feel Good Live Sessions performance in 2017.

Though furnished with the haunting words and emotional vocals, lovers of dance and House music will revel in the stylings of this track, with all the machinations of a dance floor filler. “Cupid, you are playing games with my heart”, she laments ever so soulfully on Sharp Shooter. 

What really sets Lady Zamar apart, when you think about it, is that she plays by her own rules. King Zamar came out with a whole catalogue of new music from an artist we were just getting to know, thereby resisting the new singles until further notice policy that defines most new entrants these days.

ALBUM REVIEW: SHANE EAGLE – NEVER GROW UP

We’d loved her on those collaborations with Junior Taurus and Prince Kaybee, but she opted to have us fall in love with her through album.

Monarch features a catalogue of 20 new songs, again a departure from the 7-13 outspoken rule that now informs the length of most new releases. She knows we will stream her whole album, so she went ahead and let us have it all.

Monarch is damn near perfect.

Monarch is sublime.
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Music

Shane Eagle – Never Grow Up Album Review

Shane Eagle returns with a powerful EP – Never Grow Up

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Shane Eagle Never Grow Up Album Review

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On Jan 8, 2019
Last modified:Jan 15, 2019

Summary:

Although victorious in shifting the landscape and defining a success that thrives beyond the bubble, Shane Eagle could be criminally underhyped. Never Grow Up bears proof.

Shane Eagle liberated a new body of work to succeed 2017’s critically acclaimed Yellow.

Almost two years since the lyricist dropped his last body of work, and since concluded a successful national tour named after his favourite luminous hue, we finally have Never Grow Up.  The 7-track project finds Eagle yet again stretching the limits of his own creative freedom – shunning the commercial seductions of trap bops to deliver yet another impressive offering.

His dissent from the establishment continues.

Like before, he’s not afraid to depart from the mould to carve his own nook on this record, a fact which informs his decision to remain independent. Unlike ever before, however, he invites his audience to explore different layers not only to his metamorphic artistry, but also the personal truth that he delivers with much poetic justice.

It’s a truth distilling his childhood as a biracial kid by parents whose roots span continents. Ronnie Hughes is a beautiful and sombre tale detailing the meanings Shane made of these worlds.

These dynamics would later enrich the lyricist’s repertoire of understanding; he touches on the experience of love that is bigger than the ‘regular story of how Europeans try to feast on Africa’s glory’, and expands the narrative to introduce personal acts of pure love that many of us never think about in this context.

READ: WHY ‘IYEZA’ IS ANATII’S BEST ALBUM YET 

Ronnie Hughes is the fourth track on the album, but easily amongst the best. Sonically, it’s a smooth continuation of the classical ecosystem that weaves the lush and classic flows that Eagle so triumphantly delivered on Yellow. Consistent with the album’s overall sound, the song layers organic, raw and classic tones to create a lo-fi Hip Hop atmosphere. The classic horn adds a touch of nostalgia that elevates Shane’s recollections, putting them in one hell of a vibey capsule.

It will take his audience less than 20 minutes to consume Never Grow Up. The EP is a piece of work in which Shane Eagle clearly intends to reconcile the chasm between the artist who blew up to add a veritable mark on the South African soundscape in the last few years, and the 22-year-old Shane Patrick Hughes.

Yellow‘s sibling arrives just weeks after Shane’s Yellow Tour ended with an impressive line-up of supporting acts that included contemporaries Nasty C and Shekhinah. The tour itself testified further to Shane’s disruptive game plan. He’d managed to have his debut album reach gold with minimal hype and almost no gimmicks, after all.

ALBUM REVIEW: NASTY C – STRINGS & BLING

Where the rapper has been successful in creating dialogues and piquing interest has lain solely in the creative expression of his art; which started with a carefully curated visual social media build-up to the release of Yellow. The gap between Yellow and Never Grow Up saw the arrival of a couple of singles – one which included a very random diss to AKA –  and that much talked about galactic visual for YellowVerse.

And while Shane has managed to sustain much of his privacy and the mystery that goes along with it, despite the success of Yellow, this offers his fans access. It’s telling then that he’s used his childhood photographs as visual tools to express this full circle. Homework As$ignment is a textual play that is complemented by the childlike typeface that is part of the album’s artwork.

Ap3x is the album’s promotional single, and it came out just before the album. It’s packed with attitude; Shane is keeping an eye on rappers who are now trying to borrow heavily from his style. It’s the quintessential Hip Hop lexicon strewn over boastful shots of self-aggrandizement that appear in every’ rappers album. It’s part of the culture. The song snaps, no doubt about more.

ALBUM REVIEW: AKA – TOUCH MY BLOOD

Far more interesting, as always, is when Eagle indulges his most musical instincts and delves – both sonically and lyrically – into his elastic ether of abstract thoughts.

Fans will delight on Chocolake Milk:

“I can’t belong I’m growing up this fast, gettin’ rich this quick”.

I’ve discovered there’s nothing quite like driving down Oak Avenue listening to Shane Eagle tackling metaphysical questions, like a metaphysical poet, of the spiritual nature of heaven – the place, the concept, the reality.

His interest in heaven appears severally across the album.

Ride Dolo: What You Wanna Be is that girl on this album.

Shane Eagle ate the hell out of this song. The flow, the tempo, the bars, the 808s… The hook is hella catchy. The whole song has a luxurious vibe with a hushing effect. Listening to this one felt like those moments when you are in a clothing store and that one outfit that exceeds your budget until you buy it over all the other items you could have had.

Although victorious in shifting the landscape and defining a success that thrives beyond the bubble, Shane Eagle could be criminally underhyped. Never Grow Up bears proof.
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