There is a very interesting split in SA hip hop at the moment. On one side, the new school is embracing the well covered American style: its trap and hip hop made on FL studio in a bedroom with a lot of effect and production. The 21Savages of the world, if you will.
The opposite side, the Kendrick Lamars, focus on lyrical content. The purists will say the lyrics come first, the effects come second – if they come at all. In my experience these two sides never meet. You focus on the rhymes and words, you can’t have both. The unfortunate truth is that you should have both.
Roy August is a 23 year-old producer, born in Zim and South African raised, who is certainly trying to do both. His latest EP, The 7th Avenue, has clearly focused on slick production paired with a strong lyrical agency. The project kicks off with “On the Roof”: a short intro with a sense of audio storytelling reminiscent of old Wu Tang.
It then rolls into “Take the Chance” – a gritty and explicit look at underground motivation. The elements of Soundcloud trap are a bit on the nose, and with tracks like “New Bitch” and “Wet Like A Boat”, the break in solid penmanship is noticeable. The EP ends off with “New Chain on Me”, a reminder of the youthful rudiments that make up SA trap.
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It’s a solid offering. The songs are short and easily consumable, but a little more focus on the lines by August would have elevated it beyond.
Feature pic supplied by artist