Despite the notion that there haven’t been enough releases from the SA Hip Hop scene, there have been a lot of projects that dropped in 2019. Newest to add themselves to
that list, hot on the heels of Shane Eagle’s Dark Moon Flwr, is Yanga – now going by the moniker Yanga Chief.
Even though Yanga has been in the SA Hip Hop scene since 2014, this is his first full body of work. It comes in the form of a 9-track EP and it’s appropriately titled BAPS (short for Becoming A Pop Star). Appropriate because the sound is aimed at the main stream listener. The EP was well received by many fans on its first day of release, so let’s have a look what the fuss is about.
BAPS kicks off with Nangomso. Yanga works up a good blend of English and isiXhosa to get his own distinct blend of Hip Hop. He goes for a vibey finish on most of the nine tracks on the EP, with the exception of Nangomso. Having started from the bottom, Yanga is confident that he could do it all over again.
Out of the 9 tracks, two were released ahead of the EP. That’s the banger Utatakho and 200.
Lovey is a bit of a weird one. The beat is made by Makwa, who is also featured on the track. The beat is Mlanjeni by Mafikizolo. On the vocals they make a lot of references with borrowed lines from Afro Pop hits. The borrowed lines don’t come across as creative as they may have been intended to be. Yet you can tell that this is one many people will love.
When Yanga gets to rapping, it’s laid back. He does exactly that on Jumpas and the very short wys. He’s less laid back when he features AKA on Hard, making sure he steps it up on the rhymes. This song lacks the energy that should come with a song with the kind of star power featured. All that is made right by the Utatakho Remix.
He dropped the remix the night before the release of the EP and caused just enough of a stir to make sure everyone is paying attention when the full project drops. Lining it up right after the original is excellent sequencing. It brings a nice before and after effect. The remix features Ricky Rick, Dee Koala and Boity. The beat and the hook remain the same, allowing the features to rip it up. Yanga takes the hook only and leaves the verses to his guests. Boity shuts it down with a stellar verse.
Soweto is a beautiful song where Yanga pays homage to Soweto great who influenced not only his music but his plight to make it as well. From old great like Miriam Makeba and Bra Hugh to contemporaries like Mafikizolo, the chief gives a genuine nod over a mid-tempo kwaito style beat with a mean electric guitar howling in the background.
Harsh truth; the raps are average. Yanga is comfortable with how he raps but he doesn’t sound like someone who’s trying to be noticed as one of the greatest of his time. BAPS is a good EP but it’s one of those drops fans hyped up a bit too much. Play below.