'Guess who’s back and more styling?' Yes, it’s Hip Hop Pantsula, and true to his lyrics, his most recent release YBA 2 NW is styling indeed. Jabulani Tsambo makes no mistake with this release, confirming his status as one of SA’s most popular Hip Hop acts by delivering a repeat performance of Pantsula styled hip hop.
As with his previous release - Maf-town - YBA 2 NW makes a reference to the artist’s hometown of Mafikeng in the North West Province. Your guess as to what YBA stands for is as good as mine, but the references to the North West province aren’t the only similarities shared by Maf-town and YBA 2 NW either. The artist uses samples on at least two occasions on this album, which is what he did on Maf-town as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining especially since using inspiration from other tracks to produce crowd pleasing results is a formula that clearly works for him. Track 1, Jabba featuring Nkanyiso, which samples a Tavares track called ‘Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel’ goes to prove this point, as it’s already receiving extensive airplay on Y and 5 FM. And for every upbeat, ghetto-fabulous track off YBA 2 NW, there’s a more down tempo track to match it.
What’s great about this album - apart from its interesting mix of languages and beats - is its creative energy, and if the SA public still thinks Afrikaans lyrics are like, so uncool, listening to Love of My Lewe is going to blow that little theory clear out of the water. Hip Hop Pantsula is renowned for rapping in the various indigenous languages of South Africa, but this time he’s invited local artists Proverb and Lois to add to the linguistic experimentation. Not only do the Afrikaans lyrics add a local authenticity to the overall sound of a track, but its lyrical flow is superb, making sense all the way; they’re not just arbitrary words put together for effect. Love of My Lewe reflects the inventive capacity of local artists to formulate truly original lyrics that don’t come across as pretentious but as realistic reflections instead. That in itself is impressive.
The lyrics from each track off this album are as varied in subject matter as the colours of the rainbow, revolving around an assortment of social matters, like Tracks 8 and 9 for example, to the less seriaaas stuff like Tracks 1 and 10. This tells me that Hip Hop Pantsula has broadened his scope and matured as an artist. And like a fine wine, we can all appreciate that.