CITY PRESS REVIEW: AKA’s Touch My Blood is more pop than hip-hop

Johannesburg - I really don’t know how to feel about AKA’s latest album, Touch My Blood. This time around, Supa Mega has compiled something that has quite a few flavours to it. There are some Afro beats and even Mafikizolo-like wedding flavours. The song Jika, featuring Yanga Chief, is a duet in which the two do nothing but sing. The beat is nice and has something nostalgic to it, but I just don’t want to hear one of this country’s supposed best rappers sing.

AKA has included previously released songs The World is Yours and the underwhelming Caiphus Song on Touch My Blood. I can see what he’s trying to do with this album – the idea is to have a little something for everyone. He understands that sounds like House and Afro pop are enjoyed by most South Africans, so why not create songs that draw on these? But this is a risk that makes the record sound disjointed. I mean, this guy sings a lot on this record.

I think the beats are probably the stand out – I would love to spin the instrumentals alone – which will probably affect the way hip-hop is made locally. If a man who represents the pinnacle of local hip-hop can drop an album on which he’s doing nothing but singing, you can bet the other rappers will feel comfortable releasing their own singing records.

The standout track is Magriza, which features Kwesta. This track is a straight-up rap banger. The two rap – like, actually rap – so people like me who like rugged lines are not completely forgotten. Mame featuring JR – who we haven’t really heard from in a minute – could have been excluded. It’s another one in which you have two rappers singing a duet instead of rapping.

Then there’s Star Signs featuring Stogie T, which is not as hard as it should be. The hardest thing about this track is the dance move he does in the video. Beyond that, I feel the Stogie T feature was a waste.

I know music is changing at a rapid pace, but is all change good? We can’t just change when the change dilutes the culture. This album is straight-up pop, but I bet you he’ll be nominated for a hip-hop award or two. Every track has autotune on it and I really don’t know who told this guy he can hold a note. I’ve heard less singing on a Drake album.

I do commend his approach to marketing this record with billboards, but if we’re talking about rap music, I don’t want to discuss this album. But, shame, the brother did have a very public break-up, so perhaps this is his 808s and Heartbreaks. The problem is that this isn’t a particularly strong pop album and it’s definitely not a strong rap album.

Either way, he’ll probably move quite a few units and people will enjoy tracks like Beyoncé and Amen, featuring his former nemesis L-Tido. I enjoyed that beat and I’m really not joking about just spinning these instrumentals.

Touch My Blood

R79.99 on iTunes and from the Google Play Store

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