Not having had an album release from Khuli Chana for over four years makes Planet Of The Have Nots a nostalgic music experience. As to why it took this long, the Motswakoriginator mentioned two reasons, one personal and the other strategic.
Strategically, Khuli believes in working an album and allowing it space to enjoy longevity before dropping the next one. One can tour, promote and make deals off of one album. All while ramping up its numbers each time it gets exposure. Personally, the shooting back in 2013 where police mistook Khuli for a wanted suspect took more of a knock on him than many realised. Alas, the godfather of Motswako graces us with his presence once again with his much anticipated 2019 album.
Kicking things off is Gape 3.0. Khuli opens the album on a somber note, giving a nod to the late HHP. The mood lifts a few lines in and switches to a more victory lap/celebration mood. The intro is followed by HaveNots with Maglera Doe Boy and Kaygism. MDB does a great job with the hook with his unique style blending in well with vocals from Kaygism. MDB further gives the song a nostalgic feel with his raps about how he grew up to Morafe and how great it was to end up working with them. The verses don't have much to do about being HaveNots.
With someone that's been away as long as Khuli has, I find myself looking to guage if he still holds it down on the rap front. It's a tricky thing with Khuli because he was known for having good flows, sounding cool but not being that audible on what he's saying.
While a vibey sound dominates the album, Khuli mentions his experience with the shooting twice even though it's not in depth. He does this without really allowing himself to be vulnerable. Not with the same vulnerability he displays on Gape 3.0.
Diary is one of the best songs on the album. Khuli gives shout outs to people in different walks of life over a bumpy neosoul beat with melodic vocals in the background. The second verse is reserved for personal experiences. Khuli has a way of speaking light even with matters that would weigh heavy on a nigga.
Khuli is good at making music, that's a quality that stands out in this album as well. His rap style can be classified as laid back with more of a kickin' it approach. Even for a Motswako album, Planet Of The Have Nots is quite musical and really breaks the confines of what makes a Hip Hop album. It can be said that Khuli has ascended to being more than a rapper, to being a musician that raps. That's on the money. He dips into rapping on TlabaMnate and Maje.
Hold on or forever hold your peace has the makings of an intro that would make you question the track arrangement.
So what's the verdict? The songs on Planet Of The Have Nots don't do much to align with the album title. It's a misexecution of concept. Expectations were that social issues would get highlighted or touched on in some way. Instead, this album feels like a jam session. It's a Khuli Chana album. The big downer is how it carries no OG aura. No evident growth. This album didn't get the benefit of time spent away from the spotlight. He didn't challenge himself.