Jack Parow isn’t for everyone. The music that tends to support his cleverly strung lyrics can’t exactly be called intricately composed – in fact, if you take away the rapper’s hilarious antics, there isn’t much left. Having said that, his lyrics (and his style of delivery) are enough to save the music from obscurity.
I wouldn’t call Eksie Ou groundbreaking, or even inspiring – but it certainly is entertaining. It’s also not entirely as it seems on the surface. Beneath the façade of tongue-in-cheek lyrics and oversized headgear, there is a depth to Parow’s lyrics that transcends his musical style.
‘Afrikaans Is Dood’ is a good example of this dynamic. While being a kind of party anthem, it manages to comment on an issue that is pertinent in Afrikaans (and South African) culture – the fact that the Afrikaans language is perceived as being dead, when in fact, as Parow is (ironically) demonstrating, it is very much alive.
‘Last Laugh’ is a witty jab at the bullies who tormented Parow in high school. At the same time its subject matter is grave. It deals with the pain of being a bullied child and the anguish of constantly being the odd one out. As Parow phrases it, ‘Life of embarrassment, torment and dread/By the end of high school I was half f***** dead.’ The severity of the subject matter is balanced by a catchy chorus that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with lyrics like ‘Who’s got the last laugh/Move like a giraffe’.
‘Welkom Terug’ is perhaps the only song on the album that isn’t characterised by Parow’s typical facetious exuberance. The lyrics are deeply personal and have a feeling of intimacy to them that doesn’t often occur in his repertoire.
Overall, this amusing combination of merrymaking and social commentary is an entertaining listen.
If you can’t stand crass language, this album is not for you. (And I wouldn’t recommended inviting Jack Parow to have tea with your grandmother.) But if you’re in the mood for something a little different – a mixture of comedy and insight – try this album out. You might just be surprised.
Best Tracks: ‘Katerien’; ‘Last Laugh’;‘Eksie Ou’