Cape Town - Did the big winners at this year’s awards deserve the coveted accolades? Phumlani S Langa lays it out for you.
Dakar II by Kwesta
Day One featuring AKA and Yanga is the other stand-out. The visuals for this video and songs such as Mmino featuring TLT are very dope. In the Mmino video, Kwesta raps while a gang of his homies wild out in a desert with a few gusheshes. The song is just alright, he uses a chanty singalong delivery that helps the listener remember the hook.
I’m happy hip-hop is winning the awards and filling stadiums. My issue with this brother is that I feel as though he dumbs it down. Lyrically, compared with Stogie T’s self-titled offering, which was also nominated, this record is inferior.
In his defence, the idea of Stogie T seems like a dumbing-down too. Kwesta’s word play and passion for the culture shine through in verses like those on Ngiyazfela Ngawe, but, on the real, I feel like he used to spit harder when he was running around with Slikour. If Nasty C had more than one flow, Bad Hair Extensions could be a better record than Dakar II.
Kwesta’s flows and hooks were designed to be listener-friendly. There is nothing wrong with that if you have no talent to offer, but this guy can actually string some darts together. I expected more, fam, this tape sounds like 5FM music.
Amazulu by Amanda Black
Amanda Black scooped three gongs – best newcomer, best female artist and best R&B/soul/reggae album – at this year’s Samas. She even boxed out the legendary Thandiswa Mazwai. She is signed to the popular Ambitiouz Entertainment that, for the most part, have rappers on the roster.
Her Afrosoul sound is clean and her debut is almost sombre, with vocals piercing through organic-sounding instrumentals. Her skills with the pen are evident on every track, though she did rope in the writing talents of Sjava, who is on the title track.
She blends English and African-language lyricism well, and at times uses one language to explain the other in separate verses that don’t sound cheap or unnecessary. Her voice is absolutely haunting on Sinazo and the backing vocals are menacing.
Her whole package reminds me of Zamajobe or even Mazwai, whose album Belede was a strong offering too. But Black deserves it.
A little more variation would have been nice as we have heard her ride on more upbeat tracks quite successfully (Miss Pru’s Phumelela comes to mind).
Amazulu is a refreshing tape on the whole and is put together in a promising way.
Her music sounds as though she intends to be in the game for a while.
I think we have just witnessed the birth of a new force on the local scene.