Album

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5min5170

There isn’t much listening pleasure in underground music. The production is usually dingy, sounding as though it was recorded in a lavatory and seemingly targeted at only friends and family.

Certain Dillussions is not near, around or across the street from underground music. While ImproPoe might not have the popularity of an AKA, but makes the quality of music that wouldn’t be out of place on a radio station’s playlist.

This project is a follow up to last year’s Body Of Proof which was also a good Hip Hop album, but Certain Dillussions displays ImproPoe’s growth in music making and he is more poignant in telling his story.

“He is one of the finest eloquent rappers I’ve heard behind the mic- you never struggle to hear what he’s saying.”

If you’re familiar with his work you wouldn’t have been shocked by his striking metaphors, seamless change of flows and ear-luring rhyme schemes. His storytelling is simple, without being simplistic. The beat on Drifting Away complements his narration about the once perfect couple that lost its purpose due to relationship strains, which led to unfaithfulness and irreversible mistakes. It has the same texture to it as a Pete Rock & CL Smooth joint.

In the song Mollo, ImproPoe’s delivery is at its most abrasive. His discernment of where to merge his English bars with his vernacular bars is impressive to say the least, because predominately English spitting rappers sound pretentious rapping in their mother tongue, sounding as though they are trying too hard. He is one of the finest eloquent rappers I’ve heard behind the mic- you never struggle to hear what he’s saying.

The Hymphatic Tapz-like Special Delivery flow slows the movement of the album down after I had just listened to Mollo and Aweh. Perhaps due to this new trend of short songs, but I am still unsure if the album is too long for my liking because I enjoy most songs on it but I also have an unshakable feeling that it would’ve been more potent with just 10 tracks. If you’re not clued up on video games, anime and manga like myself, you’ll probably get lost in some of these bars because he uses them a lot as reference.

The album title track paints a picture of a dejected, confused, misunderstood and self-reclused ImproPoe. I felt like a parent who lost his child in bombings, but later, I felt like my team had just won the Euefa, not Europa the Champions League I’m panicking G..

The song highlights how young people today are vulnerable to mental illness.

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11min1010

I strongly suspect that Julius Malema uses the truth in service of his own corrupt intentions and that he does not really care about anybody else but himself. The man has mastered the art of creating a cult of personality, following the footsteps of great man such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Malcom X, Mandela and most recently Donald trump.

Everybody has insecurities, thus studies have shown that self-deceived individuals are highly effective at deceiving other individuals, which seems to be the case when it comes to Malema in my opinion. The man does not possess an abnormally high IQ or EQ, neither is a fluent or efficient communicator, but he has the confidence of ten-thousand full bodied black women. The man has no fucks to give. His English is always rounded off to the nearest mother tongue regardless of his situation. During the week he is in overalls and on the weekends he’s rocking his Armani suits with them Rolex watches. Then on Monday he’s shouting at the president, on live television, to pay back the money.  Regardless of the fact that this man is a hypocrite of the highest order and everybody knows it, millions of people support him and love him and I have always felt a sense of superiority in my understanding of this situation, until Kanye West made a hypocrite of me.

Kanye west does not care about black people, he only cares about himself and his family.

On the first of June 2018 Yeezus dropped his eighth studio album, self-titled Ye, on the back of the ‘slavery was a choice’ controversy.  Before listening to this project I did not understand how a man, who once called out George Bush on national television for not liking black people, could say such a thing. The statement is objectively true, slavery was a choice between death, uncertainty and a life of shame. The problem is that as a black public figure of significant influence, Kanye West needed to make the statement in a sensitive and progressive manner, if he still saw himself as a positive force in the progress of black people. Now the coloniser’s spawn can say “we did nothing wrong, because slavery was a choice, Kanye West said it” in their denials about the criminality of their wealth and privilege.  Yeezy’s utterances are a betrayal to his core base that has supported him through thick and thin. Amber Rose ass grabs, pink Polos, Taylor Swift interruptions, tour cancellations, unjustified rants, public use of ghost writers etc. The masses stuck behind Ye but this was the last straw. What could the traitor say in his defence?

The traitor seems to really love Kim, I just thought it was about the booty.

The man is pleading insanity. On the opening joint he candidly admits that he has thought about killing another human being. With the track explicitly titled I thought about killing you, it opens with a chilling monologue by the traitor explaining why he is contemplating pre-meditated murder. Primarily stating that he thinks about bad things, very bad things and that he loves himself the most even though he has thought about killing himself. So best believe that he has thought about killing the person that he claims to love. It is an uneasy listen he sounds unhinged but I love the joint, which admittedly worries me. Throughout the album the production is minimalistic, dark and it creates a mood rather than a melody, I cannot see any track in this album being a radio hit and I think this was intentional on the side of the traitor. He has never sounded so venerable even as he rants that’s my bipolar shit nigger…that’s my super power…fuck that disability shit  on the track Yikes you can hear his anxiety in the hook shit could get menacing…frightening…find help… sometimes I scare myself…myself.  Throughout the project the traitor is open about his mental instability and I believe him. Unfortunately it seems that the traitor’s narcissistic tendencies and the pressure that he puts on himself finally crushed his sanity. Which clearly exposed something to me, Kanye west does not care about black people, he only cares about himself and his family.

The expression of the love he has for his family in this project sounds sincere and it is truly touching. In the tracks Wouldn’t Leave and No Mistakes he proclaims his love for Kim on some of the most soulful samples I have heard from the traitor, in a mad minute.  In Wouldn’t Leave he opens his first verse with They say build your own…I say how sway…I say slavery a choice…they say how Ye…just imagine if they caught me on a wild day…wife call saying we bout to lose it all…had to calm her down cause she couldn’t breathe…told her, she could leave me now, but she wouldn’t leave god damn! I almost shed a tear for the traitor when I heard those lines. The traitor seems to really love Kim, I just thought it was about the booty.  Ironically the objectification of women by men is one of the lessons he tries to pass on to his daughter on the last track Violent Crimes.

Niggers is savage…niggers is monsters…niggers is pimps…niggers is players…to niggers with daughters…now we is precarious…father forgive me…I’m scared of the karma

Like all of us, the traitor is flawed and he is only human. In this project I feel he has made it perfectly clear that he’s completely self-absorbed and unable to see the negative effects of his utterances and actions, outside the context of his inner circle. He blatantly states Let me make this clear, I don’t take advice from people less successful than me This is thematically consistent with the traitor behaviour throughout his career. I was blinded by the beauty of his work. Caught up in the cult of the personality that is Kanye West.

Fuck him!

The Album kind of dope though…

Image source: The mix radio & DJ Booth

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6min2630

Kiernan Forbes is a little bitch. His side chick, who stole him from his baby momma, to become his main thing, was smashing other ninjas while they were in a relationship, and now he is surprised.  Now he is reading us a passage from his feelings-diary over a dope beat, throwing shade, shit and shame around like a PMS’ing teenage girl. Pathetic!

It has become clear that the oppressive patriarchal gender stereotypes of the twentieth century will not hold in the twenty first century. Generally, the natural and harmful reaction by a man to relatively drastic changes is anger and confusion. We do not know how to deal with women owning their sexuality by behaving in the same manner we have been behaving since time immemorial. Which is evident in AKA’s new single Beyoncé.

To all my black brothers out there, learn from Kiernan’s bitch assary.

He nostalgically takes a trip down memory lane, lyrically painting pictures of bliss between him and Bonang, globe-trotting and living the high life as a young black power couple. You can feel his confusion as he has an imaginary conversation with Bonang asking “how you think you gon be my fiancé…acting like Rihanna. Thinking you Beyoncé…holidays with the small planes…all I wanted was the small things”

Then all of a sudden he starts throwing shade and shit on the second verse. Claiming “all I can do is go get my bread up…I can’t just compete with all your DM’s and airbrush…I can tell you…super quick with the real…waited two years just to see you with your weave off…tell me what that say about your character…we was fucking while I was paying damages…baby momma stressed out” That is some bullshit, this man is acting as if he had  nothing to do with Zinhle’s pain when Bonang threw the brick, and this business about the weave and airbrush is just petty. This man is just mad that he could not tame one of South Africa’s original bad ass.

To all my black brothers out there, learn from Kiernan’s bitch assary. Do not go into a situation with a bad bitch hoping that you can tame her because the truth of the matter is you will lose either direction. If you succeed in locking her down there is a good chance that you will end up resenting her because her wildness was one of the major things that attracted you to her. If you fail you’ll end up resenting her anyway for turning you into her little bitch. Love should be free of social expectation and the limitations of time. If it isn’t, it becomes a source of pain, shame and hate, as Kiernan Forbes has undignifiedly showed us.

With that said, the joint is dope as fuck. The wobbling synth and his add lips are the stars of the record. What truly impresses me about AKA over the past seven years is his ear for beat selection. They are urban and modern, without being completely imitative of American popular trends. Which is what you get from a Nasty C or a Frank Casino, they are dope, no doubt about it but their sonic preferences come across as unbearably imitative to me, which is not the case with AKA. While people complain about AKA’s consistent use of automation on his vocals to cover up the fact that he can’t sing. I feel it is necessary considering the personal nature of his music. Nobody can deliver those bars with his interestingly unique swag and presence. It seems to me he got a hit with this Beyoncé joint.

AKA photo courtesy of cnnct.co.za

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5min1620

There is a high probability that there is no such thing as heaven, but if such a fairy-tale does exist, King Push ain’t going into that snooze fest. With Daytona (his third solo studio album) he has convinced thousands of impressionable minds to hit the corner and start slinging that crack. I have been fighting the very same urge for the past couple of days and I think I might give in if I keep listening to Pusha’s latest project but…it’s just so good…I can’t stop…I won’t stop…I don’t even know how to stop.

The traitor, that is Kanye West, produced this album and he killed it. If Floyd Mayweather was a fan of the legendary Wu-Tang clan and had twenty years of experience in producing music, these would be the beats that he makes. Nasty and luxurious.

King Push exploits the traitor’s return to form by delivering the most vicious and hard hitting bars of his entire career, while predictably dispensing advice on how to make it and survive in the crack game. “…Can’t escape the scale, if I tried, inter-state traffic is alive…Push…” he candidly admits on the song Come Back Baby, while bragging “bitch I been bad…we buy big boats…bitch I’m Sinbad…down right sinful…”  the man has no remorse. On the second track, The Games We Play, he opens up with the lines “drug dealer Benz’s with goldiggers in them…and elevator condors on everything I love…”  

Throughout the album Pusha drifts between material access and the complexities of criminality but on the last track in the album, Infrared, he is committing mass homicide. His victim being the YMCMB record label.  First claiming “…believe in myself…and the Coles and Kendricks…let the sock puppets play in their rows and the gimmicks…” because he is “…posed to juggle these flows and nose candies…” Then he goes after Wayne “…he sees what I see when Wayne on tour…flash without the fire…another multi-platinum rapper trapped and can’t retire…see the cracks, niggers exposed and I am the liar…” Pusha is merciless with his onslaught, asking Drizzy Drake Rogers “how could you ever write these wrongs…when you don’t even write your songs…” I’m seriously considering writing a thousand page theses on Pusha’s bars in this project.

This project is a masterpiece for all the hard-core, old school, rap heads in the world. With seven songs it does not overstay its welcome, which will become the new trend from now on considering how influential the traitor is.

My only gripe with this project is stated beautifully in the title of the intro track If you know, you know. If you have no idea about the lifestyle a drug dealer lives and the language he uses, you might not get the appeal of this project. In fact, chances are you have never listened to a Pusha T project, he never compromises with his content, pushing that weight baby… pushing that weight.

Image source: Entertainment Weekly & DJ Booth

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8min1360

It’s true that when music hits you, you feel no pain. Bob Marely’s lyrics reverberate more when I hear new music from an unfamiliar artist.

So there I was on the internet doing what I usually do, giving into YouTube’s suggestions. This time I came across US artist Anti-Lilly. The music hit hard enough for him to be sitting on the balcony in the afternoon at his home in Houston with his cats, answering my questions about his music and everything else.

It was the intro to this 25 year-old’s second mixtape with producer Phoniks titled It’s Nice Outside that got me. The subtlety at which the keys are being played shows how Phoniks skilfully manipulated the sample to set the scene for Anti-Lilly’s vulnerability and sensitivity throughout the album.

“I use my music as a way to get everything off of my chest… I’ve only ever been comfortable venting to my microphone…”- Anti-Lilly

“Phoniks is a musical scientist period. I can’t take much credit for my musical input on the production. He’s like my muse that allows me to best channel my emotions and brings out the best in every track,” says the rapper.

Phoniks truly epitomizes the producer title because he created the music and made sure it captured and complimented Anti-Lilly’s feel on each song. “One thing he does all of the time is he will send me a skeleton of the beat. I sent it back and he’d remix it or add another element to compliment my verses and hooks. We love to go back and forth and that really helps grow the sound,” says the Don’t Sleep Records artist.

30 seconds in and you can tell this isn’t the kind of album that will inspire self-confidence like a Kanye West album would. But it’s about self-introspection, healing, forgiveness and starting afresh. Simultaneously leaving you hopeful and optimistic about life outside of where you might currently find yourself through his genuineness and uncomplicated thoughtful lyrics.

Anti-Lilly, whose real name is Drake Lilly, released the sophomore project late 2017 after his 2014 debut Stories From The Brass Section tape. The space between the projects saw Anti-Lilly go through lapses of depression that drove him into isolation. From a tedious job to being betrayed by one of his best friends who impregnated his girlfriend and also temptations from the streets were some of the things which prompted creation of the project. But listening to the album I thought perhaps this might be too personal to put out.

“I use my music as a way to get everything off of my chest. I personally struggle when it comes to communication with my loved ones. I’ve only ever been comfortable venting to my microphone so I think that’s how my vulnerability is so easy to pick up on.”

Artists can get ostracised for baring their souls in their art, a case in point is Lauryn Hill after she released her MTV Unplugged No.2.0 – and this was before the ubiquity of social media. “My favourite artists are those who aren’t afraid to bare emotions. When you think about that Unplugged joint which dropped over a decade ago, it’s seen as a timeless classic. The reason why is because the subject matter and pure honesty.”

“I’ve never really thought I was giving away too much on my songs because I didn’t have another avenue to get my thoughts out.”

In the Nobody’s Perfect video the rapper has brush in hand, working on a painting around other beautiful works in a flat. He laughs off the assumption that the work in the room is his. “I’m a very amateur painter. I have a few skills but the paintings came from my director’s wife. My girl is really talented at canvas art too. As far as other avenues, I read, exercise, and watch a ton of movies,” he says.

He’s been holding a job at a customer call centre for the past six years. With a company supportive of his music career, Anti-Lilly is looking forward to his first European tour next month.

The album has touched many people, hence he thinks the The Insomnia Tour will help him connect with a growing overseas audience. “It’s been crazy to get emails and messages from folks who listen to what we create. It humbles me for someone to explain to me how much my music touched them or provided inspiration.”

“I won’t get deep with peoples stories they have shared out of respect, but it only inspires me to continue to do what’s gotten me here.”


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