Alright, alright, alright. It seems like we’re adding another new segment to our roster: Welcome to That Fire Release! That Fire Release will be a round-up of my thoughts on recently released singles that I mess with. To my knowledge, this week’s selection were all released within the last two weeks.
Lights Off – Titose (prod. by AmoBeatz)
Kicking off this list is a savvy slice of contemporary R&B from Motswana chanteuse, Titose, with Lights Off. From the onset, Lights Off is a vibe begging for crossover attention and at a concise 2:28 it doesn’t let up on that mission. The song finds Titose looking for fun on a Friday night when a male conquest hits her up wanting to meet, but she doesn’t want anything serious. The premise is simple and Titose’s approach is playful. From her opening vocal riff, she commands a cool presence and her vocal performance is laced with an attitude that ranges from suggestive and commanding to purposefully detached. Lights Off is a fun, club-ready piece of mid-tempo R&B laced with multiple hooks, one-liners and a solid chorus that gets catchier on repeat listens. It can easily be playlisted amongst the likes of Ella Mai’s Shot Clock and SZA’s Love Galore and seems prime ground for multiple remixes to push its crossover appeal. Still early within her output, Titose is coming out strong as a promising talent within the R&B space.
Kissing My Shoe – Dibi (prod. by Orlando Brossie)
The first half of 2020 saw Dibi invigorating his Up Till Now era with a trio of music videos and a star-studded remix of Famous. The second half begins with him teasing a new era with his latest single, Kissing My Shoe; and what a tease it is with the song coming in at a brisk 01:58. Backed by a menacing minimalist hip-hop production, Kissing My Shoe is an attitude-laden track that animates Dibi to boisterous and braggadocios edges, as he reasserts himself as one of Eastern Cape’s finest. The song finds Dibi lamenting on how hard he’s been working on his music as well as the rising impact his presence is starting to bring. The track is peppered with cocky one-liners as well as personal anecdotes that find Dibi mentally preparing himself for his next phase of ascension. The anecdotes range from the growing adoration he’s starting to receive to some of the familial sacrifices he’s hard to incur from being so work-focused, like how the last time he saw his mother was because of a crisis. Kissing My Shoe acts as a canvas for the Bay-repping rapper to reintroduce and assert his position as a stable indie force in the game; balancing introspection, boastful brags and hip-hop call-outs into this brisk and fun listen.
Chauncy – Tyson S.T (prod. Doou$hii)
Keeping within the realms of hip-hop, we move from one blog-favorite to another as we set our sights on the closing track of Tyson S.T’s latest two-track release 31.07.20, Chauncy. Tyson S.T keeps building momentum as one of Pretoria’s most boisterous and emotional rappers and Chauncy continues this trend by finding Teli pissed off with a lot to get off his chest. Backed by one of Doou$hii’s bounciest productions, Teli launches into this track with venom, with a littany of swears aimed at his adversaries and anything impeding on his current state of mind. The second verse finds him trailing into more personal spaces as he recounts his upbringing, mourning the loss of a close friend and battling depression whilst effectively picking himself up and getting ready for war. This track reintroduces Teli as power-hungry and backing himself as a slithering force to be reckoned while teasing the release of his upcoming full-length offering Snakes Favour Me. Sonically, this song is a confident progression that sees Teli getting more and more realized in his sound and delivery while offering one of his catchiest choruses that is both memorable and tongue-twisting. Chauncy is a menacing slice of hip-hop that finds Teli clawing closer to the greatness referenced in the song’s title.
Tired – Kayla (prod. Fantom)
Our next selection is the debut offering from Kayla Nkwe, simply credited as Kayla, and it’s an intimate piece of alternative-pop. Tired is a song that finds Kayla sinking into a depressive state as she finds it increasingly hard and tiring with her current life pressure. The song is introduced through sounds of waves as Kayla recalls imagery of autumn leaves changing colour. Things get icy as the season changes to winter. This season seems to have collided with a depressive downturn in her life, and just like the autumn leaves she was recalling she’s now floating. Production-wise, the track is quite bare as Kayla is backed mainly by light guitar-picking and pensive drum patterns joining in the bridges and chorus. The production squarely puts her at the centre stage and she shines. Kayla provides a vocal that ranges from pained to detached with melodic lines that are both interesting yet familiar. The song is simple and effective. It’s relatable content for when you’re in your feels. Tired serves as a solid introduction to Kayla as an alt-pop vocalist with contemporary sensibilities.
Vhuludu – Muneyi featuring Taxda (prod. Taxda)
Closing our list of selections is a sweeping piece of folk music released by Tshivenda singer Muneyi, Vhuludu. Delivered in his mother-tongue, Vhuludu is a song that explores themes of solitude and isolation, and the moments missed when one is in such a state. From the initial guitar-strumming, the track lays as an incredibly introspective space for Muneyi to build his thoughts on, and what a simmering experience it is. Muneyi provides an incredibly dynamic vocal performance that shows how skillful he is as a vocal storyteller. His vocals start off quite reserved and delicate in the first verse and chorus, before launching into spaces that find stretched to powerful and wilting ends. Despite not knowing a word of TshiVenda, Vhuludu‘s able to pull you into this incredibly emotional experience that climaxes with this bridge packed with sweeping vocal runs that see Muneyi reach for the heavens whilst being backed by some of the most soothing harmonies and instrumentation. Vhuludu is a breathtaking piece of indigenous storytelling that I keep getting lost in and places Muneyi as a compelling purveyor of this type of art.
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