Rarely have we seen an artist whose creative legitimacy has remained as uncontested as Anatii’s. On the contrary, “I feel like he’s going to buy weed at KFC”, is one of the most popular comments on his Youtube account, a reference to him ‘making the pots happen.’
In South Africa’s increasingly cynical – and ever critically discerning – soundscape, the market sometimes goes harder on rappers than they do on politics. Your faves get blasted every other day and you know that.
Yet, apart from the fact that his personal life remains as withheld from the public as much as he shuns the splashy displays that have become hinged to album promotional build ups, its the sheer production virtuosity, talent and compelling storytelling that set him apart.
Perhaps, the 25-year-old rapper feels no pressure.
And why should he? Halfway through his twenties, his catalogue boasts a slew of timeless classics that have shaped the business as much as they disrupted the convention. Things were never quite the same after The Saga, were they? In all honesty, that verse might have introduced Balmain to the better part of our youth. And it’s also here that ‘sexy chubby n****’ became some cool lexicon.
Back to Iyeza. A few songs allude to spiritual callings to which he must heed. That might or might have not influenced a controversial radio presenter to attempt ‘outing’ him as one who has answered a sangoma calling.
Thriving at the periphery of the formulaic tried-and-true, Anatii’s distinct sound and beautiful Xhosa heritage and a strong anchor in contemporary sound continues being a definitive factor in his fascinating journey on his latest album, Iyeza.
Fascinating is the word because, on this album, he departs from playing to mainstream seductions and enters a spiritual realm of unbridled authenticity.
We know that he’s entered a whole new dimension in his career because on this album, he turns to isiXhosa to articulate his most complex, emotional and personal ideas. That’s as true as it is for his song titles – which are mostly in his native language – as much as it is for his beautifully African album artwork and album title. Iyeza means (traditional) medicine.
In many ways, Iyeza is the more refined masterpiece that his previous collaborative project with AKA – Be Careful What You Wish For – aimed to be.
It’s the successor that better showcases Anatii’s multilayered technique, spiritual faith and character. Mind you, that’s not even paying dust to BCWYF, which was a decent contribution to Hip Hop.
This 10 track project finds Anatii straddling the gaps between Trap and traditional African sonic flavours. He’s truly found himself here – bringing nostalgic elements that distil the often understated South African musical footprint to trap 808s in ways that no one else has tackled out here.
There are some subtle electronic synths that enhance African inspired electric guitars and organic traditional sounds on Wena, the album’s opening track. A perfect opener, the song sets the mood and vibe that will become the cohesive thread weaving this album together into an embrace of an authentic African expression of self. The song has the spirit of Jabu Khanyile, Joe Nina, Tshepo Tshole and Caiphus Semenya all over it, without having anything to do with these icons.
One of the album’s best tracks, Ngozi (Danger) follows next. It’s one of the songs in which he makes mention of his ancestors in a spiritual sense, a divine being who is active in his life. Perhaps as a reference to the pressures of heeding a calling, the song explores the conflict between running away, like a fugitive, from what he’s been called to do, or from danger, and the simpler comfort zones. It’s a space that most of us will have to navigate at one point or another.
The end of this song has a beautiful transition into something abstract, spiritual and ethereal. Anatii could be flirting with ululating, or just diving in and out of his African heritage, which contains in it the rich texture of melodic musicality.
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The narrative of risk and foreboding fear of lurking danger continues onto Hlatini, another solid bop on the album. At this point, the album has completely matured in its assumption of a specific identity. The chord progressions and vocals styles are now fully anchored in Africa’s infinite musical universe. Something about the chorus and hook could remind an old soul of the Soul Brothers.
Ndaweni sustains the momentum. With high pitch and spirited vocals which he lays over a song that could have easily charted alongside Mandoza, Trompies and Abashante back in the 90s, Anatii continues making a firm statement about his musical DNA. He’s not here to churn out pointless number ones and produce random beats to make a quick buck. He’s here to shift the landscape. And he cares about a whole lot of things, one of them being the sheer feeling of his productions.
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Ntloni is one of the album’s more commercially palatable bangers. It has all the elements of a bop you’d jam to at Taboo, at Pop Bottles, at the Sands. It has a beautiful summer hit finish to it, which Anatii has already proven to have no problem whipping out.
Vuka is possibly the album’s most beautiful love song. It’s a sing-along, smooth and lush African summer jam. The chorus and hook instantly demand to be kept on a loop. The organic instrumentation allows the hearty harmonies to shine, giving the song a verdant laid-back vibe.
K.O Reveals Third Album Details – Everything We Know
K.O has announced his third solo project.
On Monday, K.O delighted fans when he not only announced his long awaited third solo studio album, but also revealed the album artwork, along with the title.
Slated for release on September 27th, K.O’s third solo project is called PTY UnLTD.
Perfectly synchronised to launch along with the looming summer, the album will premiere during the commercial peak of his latest hit, Say U Will, the simmering collaborative joint that saw him team up with the beautiful Nandi Madida.
The songbird has been celebrating her first ever number one, which also marks KO’s successful revival.
PTY UnLTD will also come just months after the Cashtime catalogue was availed across digital streaming platforms earlier this year. “It’s a piece of history we wanted to preserve”, he told QuenchSA in an exclusive interview, in which he also began laying out the elements which will define his next sonic ecosystem.
The sound will not adhere to the trappings of Skhanda, the Hip Hop and Kwaito fusion he masterfully pioneered and popularised with his previous works. It’s a fresh start for K.O, who sees the successes of his recent releases – which includes Supa Dupa – as keys unlocking his next chapter.
“What I have coming up is gonna be appreciated on a large scale, just based on where I am. I think I found my feet again. I can’t wait for people to hear”, he told QuenchSA.
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Black Coffee and Usher Team Up On ‘Lalala’
Usher’s smooth vocals luxuriate catchy hooks over Black Coffee’s distinct productions in fresh collaborative number.
On Tuesday, Black Coffee and Usher Lalala, a catchy dance number maximising on the creative potential of Coffee’s superior production skills and Usher’s powerful vocals.
The rhythmic joint, which comes nearly a year after the two first wet the musical appetites of their fans with snaps showcasing their budding friendship when Usher touched down in South Africa for his performance at the Global Citizen Festival, finds Usher luxuriating Coffee’s lush and summer calling instrumentals.
Lalala, which marks the globally celebrated DJ’s triumphant return to the charts since the debut of last year’s Drive, also solidifies Black Coffee’s pursuit to enter the American market.
Recently, Black Coffee has executed high powered collaborations with a slew of top international acts, a list which includes Drake, Jorja Smith and Alicia Keys.
Tshego Performs ‘No Lies’ At Pink Panther Album Listening Session
Tshego delivered some smooth vocals on the lush performance of No Ties, the first single from his looming Pink Panther album, which will premiere on Friday, August 30th. The singer took us through a few songs as he invited us into the soundscape of the long await project.