The maturation of Nyovest
AMN (Any Minute Now)
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