Good Morning South Africa

Having been around for well over a decade Waddy Jones has become an icon of alternative, hip-hop and electronica music. His various musical endeavors, from Max Normal to Constructus to his solo work, have generally been critically acclaimed. And that’s because I feel he’s made some of the most original and innovative music I have personally ever heard. Seriously.

But when I first saw Max Normal.TV perform at Carfax last year, I was really disappointed. The show seemed to lack all the energy and showmanship I’ve been used to from a Waddy concert. So, like an idiot, I wrote it off as Waddy been past his sell-by-date. Having listened to his latest album, I have to say my first impressions were way off, and this could possibly the most innovative, most local, and best body of work to date. It is also in many ways his least accessible album and so unfortunately many peeps may not initially like this.

The problem is that two of the weakest tracks for me, ‘Rap Made Easy’ and the ‘Dassie’ song were promoted last year through SL and as a part of Oppikoppi’s Way Of the Dassie festival. While Rap Made Easy features irritating high-pitched, false Afrikaans accented rap from Yolandi Visser, the Dassie song is essentially just a children’s song. I guess there is nothing wrong with the intention behind these tracks, but they don’t represent Waddy’s new direction best at all.

Rather one should listen to tracks such as ‘Laf Nag’ an engrossing, dark tale about Max getting lost in the Cape Flats, brilliantly performed by Neon Don and Max himself. ‘I Like Your Body’ is Waddy’s sing-along rap at its best: catchy, completely original and manages to be a parody of sexed up bling commercial rap while at the same time being just as entertaining. ‘Eat Meat’ is a dance-hall style remix of the anthemic ‘Super Evil’ from Waddy’s last album while Rap Fantasy samples Flash Gordon in a hyped-up tongue-in-cheek style.

The production complements the rhymes and lyrics very well, a balance of modern day Timbaland style beats and cosmic electro. Most of the beats were cooked up by Justin De Nobrega of Unit R and Considerate Builders Scheme fame, and it’s good to see Waddy working with the best of the best as he always does.

This is not an album that will easily fade into the background, nor is it something you’ll necessarily find easy to listen to. Its highly intelligent rap music and it sometimes just doesn’t hit the mark. But the way I see it, Waddy’s albums are so unique that they’ll one day be collector’s items, like the toys he makes. So is you like alternative SA music, buy this album because you’ll listen to it in the years to come and reflect on why it’s actually really on point.