The mat­u­ra­tion of Ny­ovest

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AMN (Any Minute Now)

Cassper Ny­ovest

Avail­able on all stream­ing plat­forms

Cassper Ny­ovest re­turns to mu­sic af­ter his Sweet and Short al­bum re­lease in Novem­ber 2018. He also hap­pens to be the proud fa­ther of a new­born son, so this al­bum could per­haps be seen as a cel­e­bra­tion of this par­tic­u­lar mo­ment. The truth is, mile­stones breed cre­ative ex­cel­lence and ma­tu­rity – some­thing one would hope to hear on Cassper’s fifth al­bum.

AMN (Any Minute Now) starts with a gospel-like in­tro by Zola 7, which was hon­estly hard to hear as the singing is a bit too grainy. It’s a long in­tro that even­tu­ally gives way to a fairly de­cent verse – at least by Cassper’s stan­dards – on To Whom it may Con­cern. They aren’t the tight­est rhymes, but at least he has the courage to try to im­part wis­dom and prod at no­tions of friend­ship and hate. He even takes aim at Scoop Makhathini and Riky Rick.

Cassper is bob­bing and weav­ing be­cause, af­ter this some­what flat song, he brings on US pro­ducer Boo­gie for Thoughts, a som­bre and sober­ing song that plays out over a trap soul sound­scape. It’s built for the ra­dio, but with a touch of ro­mance with­out get­ting whiny.

The beats are well se­lected. Cassper even places a boom bap beat on Loco, a pleas­ant sur­prise, and again talks about some real enough con­tent in a ma­ture way. We need more of this tra­di­tional sound­ing rap – just to show us you can ac­tu­ally con­trol the mic, be­cause all these at­tempts at pop leave us con­fused. This track sounds a lit­tle like some­thing from the much-missed Motswako era.

AMN is 21 songs long, and you may won­der if Mu­fasa can keep the en­ergy at op­ti­mum level.

He bares his soul on In­doda, touch­ing on step­ping out of a re­la­tion­ship. Fri­day Night sees Samthing Soweto join in over a sam­ple of Brenda Fassie’s Week­end Spe­cial. The prob­lem with un­leash­ing a sam­ple this strong is that you can get over­pow­ered by it. There is also lit­tle need to sing if you have Samthing on the track, which Cassper un­nec­es­sar­ily does. I un­der­stand what they were try­ing to go for, but it falls a lit­tle flat.

What doesn’t is the Langa Mavuso fea­ture on How Does It Feel. There’s a touch of neo soul with a weird ef­fect on Langa’s vo­cals, making him sound a lit­tle like he was cry­ing five min­utes be­fore record­ing. How­ever, un­chain­ing a beast like Langa is a risk, as the record ends up sound­ing like Langa Mavuso fea­tur­ing Cassper Ny­ovest. Next up is Egyp­tian Cot­ton, one of the best tracks on AMN. It’s kept soul­ful with an An­thony Hamil­ton fea­ture over a beat that sounds like it was cre­ated by Rick Ross’ Jus­tice League. Hamil­ton fi­nesses the cho­rus in a debonair man­ner.

Cassper unveils another in­ter­na­tional fea­ture in rap­per Bas, who joins YoungstaCP­T and Apu Se­bekedi in No­body Knows, which reads like it should be the best song on the al­bum. It’s dar­ing to in­vite two lyri­cists who are bet­ter than you to join you on a track. The boy from the West­ern Cape is given the last slot on the track, so you know what hap­pens to Cassper and Bass on this. The beat even flips for him and gets sin­is­ter.

This al­bum is laced with fea­tures, in­clud­ing Bu­siswa on the drill-in­spired Nokuthula. When did we start drilling in South Africa? The drilling con­tin­ues with Tweezy on Amade­moni. The in­stru­men­tals on both sound bet­ter than the com­plete songs.

How­ever, there are two of the most vile cuts we have ever heard from this man en­shrined in this record – Isinkwa fea­tur­ing the great ProKid, and Nyuku, fea­tur­ing HHP, Mo’Molemi, Khuli Chana, Towdee Mac, Tuks and DJ Le­monka. If the whole al­bum had sounded like these two tracks, Cassper would have had his first mas­ter­piece.


OLDER AND WISER Cassper Ny­ovest’s Any Minute Now

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