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Music

Anatii’s Iyeza Is His Best Work Yet – Album Review

Anatii’s Iyeza is a cohesive, fervent and spiritual journey. He’s found his sound, his faith and, the calling he must heed.

Photo Credit: Anatii via Instagram

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Review of: Anatii – Iyeza

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Rating:
5
On Oct 13, 2018
Last modified:Oct 13, 2018

Summary:

Anatii's 10 track album finds him at his most confident as he fully dives into his African heritage to bring us a luxuriant and soulful project

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.

Anatii Iyeza Review

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.

Anatii Iyeza Review

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.

Anatii Iyeza Review

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.

ALBUM REVIEW: NASTY C – STRINGS & BLING

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.

 

 

 

 

Anatii's 10 track album finds him at his most confident as he fully dives into his African heritage to bring us a luxuriant and soulful project

Music

WATCH: Sha Sha Returns With New Single ‘Woza’

She didn’t come to play with the girlies.

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Photo: Sha Sha/Instagram. Captured by Trevor Stuurman

After taking somewhat of a hiatus from churning out back-to-back amapiano bangers as the first lady of the popular genre, Sha Sha on Friday made a triumphant return with a brand new single. Entitled ‘Woza’, the single debuted with a stunning music video.

The single marks the first release since the songstress dominated charts with her autobiographical debut EP Blossom.

With all eyes on her, the pressure to duck a sophomore slump and keep the momentum going without taking a dip in the quality of her sound, the Zimbabwe-born singer had to play her cards strategically.

And with a BET Viewers’ Choice: Best New International Act award under her belt, she had no choice but to go for the jugular. Twinning the sultry mid-tempo piano layered single with a conceptual visual on the day of its release is a statement. There’s no time for games.

The music video, directed by Nate Thomas (Simmy “Ngiyesaba”, DJ Sliqe “Spaan Saam featuring Kwesta”) and Nigel Stockl, sees a gorgeously styled Sha Sha move through a selection of power poses and choreographed moves flanked by a group of dancers.

The video then cuts to the club where she’s in her element on the low-lit dance floor as well as against a neon laser backdrop, evident that Sha Sha is comfortable anywhere and makes music for everyone.

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Music

Inside Sun-EL Musician’s Upcoming Virtual Concert

Sessions in a galaxy themed experience.

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Photo Credit: Supplied

We are living in the new normal, and artists must find creative ways of navigating the fray. Sun El Musician knows this, so he is giving fans a virtual concert a day before the arrival of his hotly anticipated ‘To The World And Beyond’ album on Friday, December 4th.

As part of the promotional sprint to his album release this Friday, Sun-EL Musician has been teasing his fans with one explosive track a day with collaborations with Kenya’s Sauti Sol, Black Motion, Miss P, Mthunzi and Sino Msolo.

The award-winning music producer is serving a galaxy themed show, and fans are invited to join on the Uhuru Spaceforce to enjoy Commander Sun-EL Musician unleashing a delightful session.

The show will go live tonight at 23:15.

The journey will bring the constellations and planetary Stars including Msaki, Azana, Ami Faku, Simmy, Mthunzi, and many more surprise guests to join Sun-EL Musician in an El World Red-Box Session!

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Music

Spotify’s Top 10 Most Streamed SA Songs in 2020

Numbers don’t lie.

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With 2020 a mere four weeks away from wrapping up, the time has come to reflect on the trends that dominated the year. It was a challenging year, thanks to the pandemic and the tough landscape it created globally.

But Spotify deals with just the music, and they have now dished out their Spotify 2020 Wrapped lists to indicate the best performing songs on the streaming platform through the year.

And it’s quite interesting because, it would appear many hits from 2019 continued to rule this year. One might even wonder if the lockdowns, which prevented conventional ways of promoting music and getting it to the streets, have frozen time for a while.

Elaine’s ‘You’re the One’ was the most streamed South African song on Spotify in 2020, making the R&B singer a force to be reckoned with for another year. Her single Risky also appears elsewhere in the top 10, making her the only solo artist with two singles appearing in the top 10.

These were the most streamed South African songs on Spotify in 2020

  1. “You’re the One” by Elaine
  2. “eMcimbini (Live)” by Aymos, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Mas Musiq, Myztro, Samthing Soweto
  3. “Tender Love (feat. DJ Maphorisa & Kabza De Small)” by Sha Sha, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small
  4. “Jerusalema (feat.Nomcebo Zikode)” by Master KG, Nomcebo Zikode
  5. “Risky” by Elaine
  6. “Xola Moya Wam’ (feat. Master KG)” by Master KG, Nomcebo Zikode
  7. “Lorch” by DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Kammu Dee, Miano, Semi Tee
  8. “Into Ngawe” by Ami Faku, Sun-El Musician
  9. “Love You Tonight (feat. DJ Maphorisa, Sha Sha & Kabza De Small)” by DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Mfr Souls, Sha Sha
  10. “Sandton” by Bontle Smith, DJ Maphorisa, Focalistic, Kabza De Small, Kamo Mphela

We will be dishing out more lists for albums and global hits soon. Keep an eye!

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