REVIEW: Darkie Fiction Delivers The Sound of Tomorrow With Their New EP.


 

By Lu Makoboka

Overwhelmed with eagerness I rushed towards my little sister, terminated her session of Cartoon Network and crammed my earphones in her tiny ears. “Don’t ask me any questions, just shut up and listen to this”. Within seconds I watched a couch potato come alive with colour, dancing to the garden-fresh sound of  ”Darkie Fiction” – a Johannesburg based duo made up of Yoza Mnyanda and Katt Daddy.

You’re probably asking yourself why I would be so compelled to rudely interrupt a 10-year-old watching her favourite cartoon over music she may not care about…  Truth is that Darkie Fiction’s Sobabini: A Mzantsi Evolution unites with their genre instead of dividing us, particularly if one is South African. Kwaito may be the most evident influence but it’s also the embryonic 50 shades of Electronica, Afro Soul and Hip Hop that is giving us eargasms. This is for a child, for those hipsters you always see at Maboneng or Yours Truly, for your dad or even your grandmother, but just be careful she doesn’t injure herself trying to bust a move during the chorus of Bhoza. This is undoubtedly one of the jewels of the EP that has the potential to set fire on any dance floor. ‘Bhoza’ basically means boss, and even with the lyrics alone you literally feel like you call the shots as the duo to explore why it’s more than just a title but something exuded through your very being. In the background, the horns yell majesty with each stroke as they give off a sense of royalty, thus adding to that air of boss-ness. Furthermore, their texture leaves the audience dumbfounded as to whether Maloon The Boom (producer of the track) sampled the horns or if they were played live.   

Just by looking at the guest appearances scattered in Sobabini, it’s clear that our notion of ‘genre’ is about to become sonically blurred because the list of features literally slaps! The first track I came across was actually Malibongwe, produced by “Thor Rixon” and “Albany Lore”. “Original Swimming Party” is also among the names to pop up as they have production credits in the track My Ntliziyo. Besides having a tough time deciding which of these tracks is my favorite in Sobabini, it’s beautiful to see that one wouldn’t pick up very easily that Thor Rixon, Albany Lore and Original Swimming Party produced the tracks that they are mentioned in by virtue of each act tapping into a style that we usually don’t hear from them. Ultimately, each act breaks the spell of expectation cast over us when we see their names on the project. Malibongwe (meaning blessings) starts off in such a relatable manner with Katt Daddy echoing “qhabi two slice”, which means prepare two slices of bread with whichever spread.

This is actually quite significant since many homes; especially in townships rely heavily on bread as part of their diet as that is usually the affordable choice of food when it is not dinner or breakfast time. Throughout the track, Yoza Mnyanda continually invites us to the city (particularly Johannesburg) advertising it as the land of milk and honey where there is money. What I find to be very haunting about the track is the various contrasted nestled between the lyrics and the mood of the instrument itself. On one hand, it could be perceived as a commentary on certain socio-economic issues in our country plus, depicting what those in the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and those that are situated in rural areas believe about the city life over an optimistic and atmospheric beat. And on the other hand… It is what it is. It could be interpreted as the commercialization of a city lifestyle and what they experience within it.

Regardless of how you choose to see it, Yoza Mnyanda’s vocals unapologetically grab the spotlight as they broadly reverberate through the stereo field during the climax. My Ntliziyo (meaning my heart) is the definitely one of the standouts by virtue of its cuteness and charm compared to the other groove-based tracks like Gumbafaya, Fiction Sound and the others mentioned above. From the keys that sparkle to the duo’s lyrics, cute is written all over this one. Here Yoza Mnyanda and Katt Daddy are describing a relationship and all the love that spilling out of this ‘relation-ship’.

It would be no surprise if the influences from yesteryears’ for this ‘fiction sound’ range from Brown Dash, Brickz and even Brenda Fassie. Whether the EP is your taste or not it is safe to say that the sound of tomorrow is happening right now with Sobabini: A Mzantsi Evolution.       

          


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