We reviewed Gigi Lamayne and Burna Boy's new albums

You mix the old testament's Job and Tiger Woods: And you get an album rooted in triumph over pain, but is it Gigi's best? 
You mix the old testament's Job and Tiger Woods: And you get an album rooted in triumph over pain, but is it Gigi's best? pictures:supplied

Gigi Lamayne returns to the airwaves after a trying time in her life. Burna Boy is also looking to climb up the charts with his debut album. Phumlani S Langa gets into both.

Gigi Lamayne: Job Woods
Available on all streaming platforms

The intro sees Gigi reflecting on being hospitalised after dealing with depression and getting traded from one label to another.

She recounts a discussion with veteran rapper Slikour, who labelled her a casualty of the music business, a notion she looks to address on her sixth commercial offering. It was chilling listening to her reliving how she was found in her apartment knocking on death’s door on November 14 last year.

She explains how she drew inspiration from the biblical book of Job, a man who had everything taken away when God and Satan had a wager around him staying faithful. She also garnered steam for her project from golfer Tiger Woods, who bounced back not so long ago to win a major title after years of scandal. Hence Job Woods.

I would’ve preferred this if there was a beat playing behind her words, it’s not exactly an anticipation builder. Holy Liquor kicks in after the soliloquy. She touches on wanting to become a mother in the future and what it means to be a black woman today as well as an artist. She sings the hook but the pipes are pretty basic. Not what I’d call an extensive range.

It could’ve used a stronger build up. The next track gives us a DJ Sliqe beat and sees Gigi talking about surfboards and riding a new wave, although this track sounds like the dominant wave in our soundscape. Amanzi features KwaZulu-Natal’s new hope at lyrical providence, Zakwe. Nothing special happens in either verse and even the Sliqe beat sounds tame.

Full Clip is the first moment that got my neck jerking back and forth. An anthem for the hood with an all-star line-up of vernacular rappers – Mickey M, Red Button, Siya Shezi, Duncan, Syncane and F-eezy. This record is riddled with features; only two of the 10 tracks are Gigi’s alone.

There are also no sisters on the roster of features. As cool as it is to have summoned F-eezy from the depths of the underground, I find myself wondering if this couldn’t have worked if she had maybe found the sisters from Godessa? I can just hear the flyness that never was.

I expected way more than what I’m getting. All I ever want is for an artist to be better than they were last time out. I’m not sure Gigi is.

The content is timid. You almost lost your life, people said terribly mean things on social media, and yet you emerged from the dark times victorious. This album should embody that – triumphant melodies and strength behind penetrating poetry.

Burna Boy: African Giant
Available on all streaming platforms

What I have learnt about Burna Boy is that ladies love the homie. I also know that he was involved in one of the best songs AKA has ever had in All Eyes On Me (2014), and if we’re being honest, Keenan has been running with the delivery he first used on that since.

Burna Boy has now copped himself a deal and brother man is even dating UK rapper Stefflon Don. To all intents and purposes he’s an African giant, or at least that’s what he thinks. The title track is a simple Afrobeat song, laid back and romantic. This hip winding rhythm continues on Anybody.

Falling in love on a dance floor could happen quite easily to music like this. Although, the beats are driven by the drum and melodies that you’ll hear on everyone’s album lately, from Rick Jade to Davido.

The producers are sneaky. A saxophone bursts through the expected arrangement and brings to the ear a pleasurable shock.

This sound is easy on the ear and brings me pride, as African artists are getting shine and paper abroad for their art. Listening to Wetin Man Go Do, a slower and sadder song than the other two, I fear our artists might sell this style out, and then what? How are we pushing this sound forward? Look what happened to trap music, it was an underground sound for years then hit a peak with acts such as Young Thug and Future, who appears on Show & Tell, as well as Juice Wrld.

From that small list, if you’re familiar, you can clearly trace out a rising point, a pinnacle and the fall-off. This happened when everyone’s sound relied on the same elements for the sake of catching the wave.

Gum Body sees UK songstress Jorja Smith ride with Burna on a duet, modelled around the same formula. Now even the sneaky saxophone is beginning to bore me.

Killin Dem could be a new direction for this sound. It’s dark and primal. All the cuteness is shed for a fusion beat, reminiscent of kwaito with a feel of hip-hop to it. This is the best song on the record for me; we know Africa is not all voshos and love in the club. Living here is manic and dirty like this record, featuring Zlatan. No, not the footballer.

By the time I reach Secret, featuring Jeremih and Seranji, I’m just about done hearing the drum fall where it does.

African Giant feels like a compilation of international acts who were eager to test drive this Afro thing and try the accent on for size.

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