Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Music Review : Soundz of the South – Freedom Warriors Vol. 2

Soundz of the South (SOS) is an anti-capitalist, cultural activists’ collective, which uses Hip-hop and poetry to spread revolutionary messages, raise consciousness and fight oppression as part of the broader struggle to emancipate all. Towards the end of last year (2013), they launched a second volume of their Freedom Warriors Music Series, featuring songs on “the brutal murder of Andries Tatane, the Marikana Massacre, the Farmwokers Revolt, the Mandela Betrayal and the Afrikan Revolution.”
Soundz of the South - Freedom Warriors Vol. 2 - album art
Soundz of the South – Freedom Warriors Vol. 2 – album art
-       Reviewed by Khaya Maseko
Last week was a good week to rediscover Hip Hop. I’d just been to a Hip Hop party after 6 years out of that scene. I’ve been quite tired of the range (or lack thereof) of modern Emcees. Freedom Warriors 2 gave me a chance to listen to some good beats and conscious lyrics, straight from eMzansi. It’s packing a lot of heat at 16 full tracks of Sounds of the South Hip Hop.
Anarchy, dissent, revolution and downright terrorism are the main subject of this compilation of diverse Emcees and beats. Anti-state, Anti-capitalist lyrics are the order of the album. With track titles like “Hip Hop Toyitoyi”, “Rest in Protest” and “Animal Farm”, one should be prepared for a political kick in the sternum. I follow Producers, and that’s what matters most to me. So when I heard what iNfo was producing for the vocalists on this compilation, I was bobbing like it’s ’94. Tracks I’ve been listening to this week are “They feed on it”, featuring Godobori, Zanzolo and Khusta. The track has this refraining guitar riff in the background. A doomy trumpet that’s reminiscent of minimal Wu Tang work. I believe the beat is made by Dj McCraken, and it rides out smooth throughout to the last lyric: “Amandla ngawethu.” The tracks range in subject matter from the brutal murder of Andies Tatane to the Marikana Massacre and Farmworker’s revolts and the beats keep up with the sharp lyrical pace. Manje, I must state, that my favourite joint is “Caravan”. There’s a French Emcee on that track that makes the dark, haunting beat just work! Those atmospheric fills and breaks remind me of why I love producing myself. I love the feel of the track. The kick drum reminds me of a slowed down “If I Ruled The World” by Nas. The Emcees unleash the sound like a bona fide crew that has been rhyming together for years.
Another joint I have been giving more rotation is “Ballistic”. Godobori goes solo on this one but his lyrics make sure we keep up. “I’m a bulldozer, going through impediments/ Transfer the power from the state to the residents/ Bomb cop stations and destroy all the evidence./ This bourgeois democracy is just another pestilence/ These are not my views this is working class sentiment.” I personally enjoy and condone talk of anarchy, defying bad governance and giving power back to the people who deserve it.
This album gave me a taste of what 2014 was gonna give. This was a semi-strong delivery that can only grow with the productions they’ve given us to date. I personally found the melodic recording quality shocking for the female singers. It’s funny that you can record 4 guys shouting into a mic so well but have trouble with 1 songstress. And yes, it could have spent a bit more time in the Mastering suite. iNfo, I’m talking to you. But it wouldn’t be underground Hip Hop if it wasshiny-polished like your pair of high school Toughees, would it?
To contact Soundz of the South, email:

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