Khulisile Nkhushubana

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7min336251

Make up sex is awesome but does the same energy translate into good music?

Following Solange’s karate kid antics in the elevator in 2014, Beyoncé’s revelations on Lemonade and Jay-z’s explanations on 4:44, it would appear that the Carters have overcome whatever issues they had in their marriage. Predictably , they are not the type of people to let a good crisis resolution go to waste, thus they dropped a surprise album on June 16 in order to add a couple of zeros to their already overflowing bank accounts, cementing their position as king and queen of American urban music.

The album opens with a ballad-like slow jam titled Summer in which the Carters lyrically paint pictures of sex on the beach, or on a yacht, surrounded by crystal blue waters without a care in the world. Luxury and marital bliss is the stuff that a big girl’s dreams are made of and Beyoncé flawlessly delivers with her sensually subliminal lyrics; I want you to come inside right now…so you know just how I feel, with Jigga expressing teenage boy like excitement with his adlibs. The whole joint feels like a honeymoon anthem which is meant to convince the listener that everything is love. I thought the whole album was going to carry this mood but on the following three records in the project, the Carters make it clear that they are on another level when it comes to the cheddar cheese.  On the bouncy joint accurately named Boss, Jigger goes off on his haters, stating Niggers rather work for the man…than to work for me…just so they can pretend…they on my level…that shit is irking to me. Throughout the project the Carters make it clear that they are building a legacy for generations to come, which is a refreshing reprieve from the typical hedonistic tendencies of modern day Hip-hop.

The Pharell-produced Nice has to be my favourite joint on this project. It has a playful demeanour about it, with a funny moment in the song where Beyoncé gives Spotify the middle finger; Patiently waiting for my demise…cause my success can’t be quantified…if I gave two fucks about streaming numbers…when you pull up my name on Spotify…fuck you…fuck you…you cool…fuck you. I couldn’t stop chuckling by myself as I was walking to the shops to get some cigarettes.

Listening to the joint 713 it dawned on me that this might be the first time in Hip-hop history that we get husband and wife conversations on an entire Hip-hop influenced album. The Carters’ consistent Hip-hop references in the album feel organically refreshing, with Beyoncé pulling a young Snoop Dogg impression on 713I’m representing  for the hustlers all across the world…still dipping in my low lows girl…I put it down for the 713…and we still got love for the streets followed by a Jigger’s impression of Common I never knew a… love…love…love like this…got to be special for me to write this…queen…I don’t mean no disrespect -its disgustingly cute.

This is a strong project from the Carters, they manage to mix Hip-hop and R&B without sounding too pretentious, which was a pleasant surprise for me as someone who generally can’t tolerate sentimentality. There are no true radio bangers on this album, which is surprising considering the mainstream appeal of both artist. Perhaps the first single of the project, Apeshit might dominate the charts but I doubt it. The video drips with opulence but I think it will go over the heads of Trap-lords who are the main target of the song sonically. Niggers wanna see racks and Lambos, not the Carters mean mugging in front of the Mona Lisa because niggers don’t read. But regardless, Hovah and Queen B are gonna stay winning, best believe that.


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6min921

Squandering an opportunity to live out your dreams is one of the most painful things a person can go through. It can break the mind of a human being beyond recognition leading to some form of mental illness arising from the fact that a person cannot let go of the past, due to their own ego and societal pressure. They can end up seeing things that are not there as a result of losing a grip on reality, spiralling down into a self-created hell from which they cannot escape because their own mind has betrayed them. This is the general theme in Kid Cudi’s collaborative project with the traitor that is Kanye west, amply named Kids see ghosts.

While there are some Cudi joints that will never come out of my playlist, most of his projects are holistically unsatisfying to my ears. His insistence of consistently blending elements of rock and hip-hop have not hit the proverbial mark in the past but with kids see ghosts, I have come to appreciate the man’s talents. His reverb soaked adlibs transport the listener to a dreamy landscape of meditation as he shares the lessons gained from being hospitalized for depression.

On the song Freeeee he jubilantly proclaims Feel out of my past life…I died and came back twice…no I’m Freeeeeeeee I want this song played at my funeral on repeat all day.

On the outro track Reborn he hypnotically chants Ain’t no stress on me boy…I’m moving forward…keep moving forward…keep moving forward which has become my soundtrack to life for the past couple of days. As a hip-hop fan I generally prefer my lyrics dense with content but with Cudi on this project I am fine with his simple bars because of the conviction with which he delivers them. On the song Freeeee he jubilantly proclaims Feel out of my past life…I died and came back twice…no I’m Freeeeeeeee I want this song played at my funeral on repeat all day.

The beats on this project are some of the most creative pieces of urban music I have heard in my life. The beat for 4th Dimension is a masterpiece of note. It starts off with an old Christmas jiggle which is then reversed as soon as the drums enter, combined with choir harmonisations in the background it is like peanut butter and jam for my ears, it should not work, but it does. On the same song the traitor delivers his bars as if he was still the old Kanye, which is generally the case throughout the entire project. It’s confirmed the traitor is back on form when it comes to his magic touch behind the decks. Cudi montage is another example of the traitor’s creativity with the sample machine and MPC, combining Country music guitar riffs with hip-hop drums and gospel harmonies to create a jam of note.

The sonic texture of this entire project is unique, you cannot fit it into one genre. This is usually a risky proposition because experimentation often compromises quality but that is not the case here, which is its primary drawback. People like to classify and fit things into neat, separate, boxes. So that they can know what is what. I suspect that outside of hardcore music fans this project will not gain much traction and for most people it will have low replay value, which has been the case for all Good Music projects thus far this season.  I personally love this project and I believe it is Cudi’s best work. Hopefully he has exercised his demons through the journey of making this project and no longer sees ghosts.


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5min1071

I know that sometimes one has to fake it until they make it, but I just cannot deal with the fake, especially those who are fake for their own sake. Kiernan Forbes is not AKA, he is too calculating to be such an unapologetic asshole with a narcissistic personality disorder, and I cannot listen to this public persona for 16 songs straight in a single sitting.  Fuck that!

AKA’s boastful swag is taken as inspiration by most of his youthful fan base and I don’t mind it when someone takes pride in the fruits of their own labour but everything has its limits.

This is made worse by the fact that almost all the songs in his new project, Touch my blood, are over four and half minutes long and filled with conceited and egomaniacal verses, which I suspect is due to the fact that it has been almost four years since he dropped an album, leading to an overdeveloped body of work. The man cannot stop telling us how awesome he is, making it clear I’m the one they aim at…we don’t pay the same tax…we ain’t in the building! …rappers in a wack place…niggers got bad taste…try to give me handshakes…I don’t ever feel them on the curiously named song Magriza, which is a boom bappy juggernaut of a joint.

On the record Fully In he stays flossing Niggers askin’ were your hands at…Phillip Ndoe…my closet is full of carture…yours is full of manure. I understand that AKA’s boastful swag is taken as inspiration by most of his youthful fan base and I don’t mind it when someone takes pride in the fruits of their own labour but everything has its limits. He exceeds these limits in his latest offering, always referencing his greatness relative to how shitty everyone else’s life is. I can take it in small doses but I cannot do it over an entire project, especially a project this long.

Don’t get me wrong the man is an aesthetic genius, his visuals are top notch and the melodies he selects almost always deliver in the dimensions of uniqueness and bounce. I personally would have preferred him giving us more pieces of himself in his work beyond the consistent references of his heart break and love for Bonang, which is done almost purely for its marketing value.

With all that said this is one of the best Hip-hop projects to ever come out of Mzansi and I predict that Kiernan will be stacking them madibas to the ceiling in the coming spring and summer, which unfortunately means we can look forward to more conceited content in his records.


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7min2661

Except for the blind, everybody is afraid of the dark. Imperfection is the fuel that keeps the spark between two people alive. For example one of my ex-lovers was pathologically afraid of the dark and every time she had to use the toilet in the middle of the night, I was called upon as her knight in shining armour to switch on the lights rescuing my damsel in distress from her untimely bladder. I found this strange and adorable at the same time, considering how much of a…‘tough cookie’ she was in everyday life. After teasing her multiple times about her nyctophobia she found a ton pages in my bedroom detailing how the month of Virgo would proceed that year.  Knowing my disdain for irrational and unjustified belief she found the perfect ammunition to get revenge by letting all of our friends know that I was a star sign fanatic. Initially I denied the allegations with maximum vigour but there was nothing I could do when she pulled out the evidence in form of pictures of the phone for all to see. I was embarrassed, but why?

With shame, I confess that I believe that the stars you are born under determine what kind of personality you will have in life.

Every single race, civilization and culture in recorded human history has looked upon the stars for guidance and with curiosity. To the point that in a lot of nomadic cultures, being able to recognize changes in the heavenly constellations was an integral part of their survival, as it indicated the changes in the seasons of the ‘year’, deciding whether the nomads should stay or look for greener pastures in the days that lie ahead. Our fascination with the little lights in the sky is ingrained in our DNA through a condition called apophenia, a tendency to see patterns in unrelated and random phenomena. Even though this affliction of pattern recognition is our greatest strength, it is also our greatest weakness. It forces a nine year old boy, who has a huge crush on one of his classmates, to consistently check the astrology pages in the newspaper, for the right moment when he can declare his Virgo love for his Gemini yellow bone princess. In a meticulous but innocently written love letter or for the very same idiot who still makes wishes every time he sees a shooting star, to proclaim that there is no life after death.

With shame, I confess that I believe that the stars you are born under determine what kind of personality you will have in life. My rationalisation is that the unique combination of electromagnetic waves emitted by the constellation that you were conceived under, affects a foetus on a cellular level causing similarities in people born around the same time.  Although my fascination is often replaced with existential dread when I go through the scientific literature were stars are concerned. I keep having a reoccurring nightmare that a public announcement is made through every form of technology available, that a comet will be hitting the earth in the next couple of moments, wiping out all life on this beautiful planet of ours. I freeze in terror as I look at the comet entering our atmosphere, as it burns up I wake up just before it hits the earth.

Mother earth is practically nothing, we are nothing and I am less than nothing in the darkness that is the universe.

The universe is an unimaginably large entity, which is expanding at a rate faster than the speed of light, thus we cannot see where it ends or where it once began.  The only thing that gives us a sense of what it is, are the big balls of gas that burn within it, the stars. But our star, the Sun, is an insignificant speck of dust relative to the trillions upon trillions of stars in the universe.  Mother earth is practically nothing, we are nothing and I am less than nothing in the darkness that is the universe. Thus I forgive myself for taking comfort in the silly superstitions that are derived from the only source of light and warmth in this black dark universe.

Image source: pinwheelempire.com


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6min11060
Today marks eight years since the world lost the Queen of modern Zulu music. Here are five of her best songs selected by Khulisile Nkhushubana.

1. Uganga nge Ngane (Album: UrbanZulu) “uyisonka elinjani…lishela nge mali” roughly translated this means what kind of player are you, if you use your money to get women.  This line has stuck with me from the first time I heard the song because it was the first time I heard a truly, tribally, African women questioning the unprogressive behaviours of man. Questioning patriarchy with calm and the sternest of Table Mountain, with prophetic undertones.

2. Yehlisani’umoya Ma-Afrika (Album: UrbanZulu) “kodwa kade madoda…si bulalana sodwa…wa phele laphi unembeza…sibulalana sodwa”  I do not believe the construct of Pan-Africanism will be operationalized in my life time. Should it ever happen, Africans will have to stop killing Africans, plain and simple. In this joint you can hear the pain in Mam’ Busi’s voice, as she begs us to lower our anger and stop the ridiculousness of black on black violence.

3. Sonke Siyamangala (Album: Freedom) – for me, there are very few things in this world which are more beautiful than the sincere proclamation of love through an African voice. Growing up in an environment where public displays of affection are taboo, it blew my mind to hear Mam’ Busi expressing her love for a man in Zulu, which is a culture were the objectification of women occurs far more often than the objectification of man. This joint clearly made me understand that desire is bidirectional in the dichotomy of heterosexual romantic relations.

Listen to Sonke Siyamangale

4. Yapheli’mali Yami  (Album: UrbanZulu) – I smile when hear this joint, the fact women have been crying about men not returning there massages from day one is just funny to me. Before Whatsapp, Mixit, cell phones and telephones, there was hand written letters which had to be sent via the post office for a price.  Mam’ Busi is scolding her lover in this joint, shouting at him that she has finished her money writing to him why does he not answer. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Listen to Yapheli’mali Yami

5. Tingi Tingi (Album: Babhemu) – Women generally value security above most things, Mam’Busi was no different.  In this joint she makes it clear that her fellow workers must leave her money alone and keep it for her when she is not around to collect it. This is another humorous joint because as fans we often idolize our favourite artist thinking that they have transcended their humanity.  Mam’ Busi always made it clear that she was just human from day one, always honestly sharing her vulnerabilities in her music. Which makes most of people feel like they knew her personally even if they didn’t.

What are some of your favourite songs by Busi Mhlongo?

Image source: Medium



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