That Fire Release – March 2021; featuring Elizée, Andrei Damane, Phiwo, Benny Afroe, Westside Kam & more

Welcome to That Fire Release! That Fire Release is be a round-up of my thoughts on recently released singles that I mess with. To my knowledge, this list’s selection were all released within the last month or so; except Andrei Damane’s The Way We Feel which officially drops Friday 2nd April, 2020.

Drowning – Elizée [produced by Elizée]

Kicking off our list is a selection from Elizée’s latest EP, Couldn’t Stay The Same, it’s Drowning. The Congolese maestro dishes another slice of contemporary R&B that is dripping with petty and frustrated energy. The song’s leading line sets the tone as it reads “Thinking about it, I’ve been really trying, how you wake everyday and choose violence”, and what transpires afterwards is Elizée doing the exact same. Not only is Elizée done with this partner but he is ready to warn her future suitors of her ways; mans is on a war path. This is a song to turn to when you want to wyle out about previous relationship grievances. The song’s subject matter and tone is a well-worn ground within Elizée’s building discography and you can tell so by how confidently he attacks it. The track is littered with quotable one-liners, lush chords with a trap-littered beat ,and an indelible and consistent vocal riff that sits throughout the song’s background. For fans of Elizée, this song fits well within his building signature and is also a genuinely enjoyable piece of contemporary R&B.

Never Playin’ – Phiwo featuring Miles [produced by DoouShii]

Moving from a fractured relationship to a budding one, Never Playin’ finds Phiwo and Miles adding canon into the ride-or-die sub-category of hip-hop and R&B. Backed by a signature DoouShii production, Never Playin’ finds Phiwo and Miles on the way to seeing each other whilst lamenting on how they make each other feel. It’s a really simple concept that they enter with the most relaxed energy and chemistry; confident in the way they have each other’s back. They’re back and forth and how it builds feels genuine; bringing forth a classic duet appeal. The song is a vibe, and I would be lying if I said Doou$hii’s vluit mid-track doesn’t instinctually amplify that vibe for me, because it does and moreso with every listen. The song in many ways feels like a companion piece to Trustworthy as an idyllic sequel or foreshadowing prequel. Never Playin’ looks to be a song that will have the opposite effect of its title, should the vibe hit you on first listen.

The Way We Feel – Andrei Damane featuring Remy Xx and Muano [produced by Andrei Damane and Higher Level Productions]

In keeping with collaborations that are centred on budding romances, Andrei Damane makes his musical comeback with the increasingly giddy The Way We Feel. Backed by a funky pop production in collaboration with Higher Level Productions, Damane throws caution to the wind as he expresses his growing infatuation with his current love interest. For a cabin fevered bloke like myself, the verses invoke a mild sense of wanderlust as Damane details his various escapades with a wide-eyed conviction. Whilst the verses have a rose-colored appeal, the chorus allows for the genuine trepidation one feels about falling whilst they’re already falling. Remy Xx adds on to the giddiness with a spit-fire flirtatious verse about his conquest, that grows more gleaming the deeper it gets; and the more sweet nothings he professes. The Way We Feel is a take on infatuation that’s sonically and tonally mature in its approach; Muano’s licks and riffs bring an irresistible appeal to it, especially within Remy Xx’s verse. The Way We Feel for me was a grower at first, but has this enduring quality about it that becomes more uplifting in its undeniable romance.

Yohh – Benny Afroe [produced by Sonyezo Kandoje]

Capping off our list of songs in an infatuated state, is the latest release from yet another Next Gen-fave; it’s Benny Afroe with Yohh. Now if I’m being honest, this is a song that just feels good. Sonyezo Kandoje unleashes a sumptuous funk-filled Afrobeats production that makes you want to salsa or flirtatiously dance with someone. Lyrically, the song finds Benny Afroe listing an array of sweet nothings about how this girl makes him feel and the things he’ll do for her. The verses whilst melodically pleasing fare relatively thin in content, but they maintain the vibe of the song nicely before the chorus whisks it to irresistible heights. Yohh boasts an indelible hook and post-chorus section that warrants high rotation. It’s a sensational sway-inducing ride that’s heavily amplified by Afroe’s cooing; speechless because of his partner. Yohh is a really strong vibe that feels like it would hit even harder whilst tipsy with your partner; when what you want is a good time.

Peace Over Everything – Noshow featuring Insight Thobe [produced by Faux Sala]

Our next pick finds us switching gears fully into hip-hop with a chilled and jazzy collaboration with two artists from Pretorian collective Seventh State; Noshow and Insight Thobe. With the rapper being a self-proclaimed ‘energy warrior’, it feels thematically fitting that my introduction to him would be a song that finds him choosing his peace over everything else. Noshow is armed with a husky voice that works wonders within classically sounding hip-hop beats, as it does here. The song’s main refrain, and chorus thereafter is an exploration of the various things Jackson chooses his peace over, and the effects that has had on him. His verse is quite introspective and treads a lot of ground; the key one being his journey with self-love and an array of affirmations he’s putting in place in hopes of one day actualizing it. He enlists Insight Thobe, whose approach finds him exploring his various states of peace and the measures he goes through to either protect it or attain it when it’s lacking. Peace Over Everything is a relaxing and very casual listen, built around a well-crafted and delivered chorus that allows both its artist to shine. In a world that constantly chooses violence, both figuratively and literally, it’s refreshing to hear more explorations of the alternative.

Nothing Worth Chasing – SOAW [produced by Musa Nhlapo]

Nostalgia can have quite the mesmerizing feeling to it, right? Well that seems to be the approach our next artist takes on the leading song of his debut EP, Introspective. Nothing Worth Chasing finds SOAW, an abbreviation of Social Awkward, introspecting on a relationship that is no more. Backed by a production that blends boom-bap hip-hop with neo-soul; SOAW recounts the memory of his relationship in great detail whilst acknowledging it as just that, in view of his ex now within her own relationship. Whilst the subject matter can easily lean towards murky waters, SOAW approaches it with a level of nonchalance that is infectious and mesmerizing as he effortlessly blends rap and conversational singing into his performance. Nothing Worth Chasing is beaming with soulful and nostalgic energy that feels tailor-made for long-drives and Sunday playlists; tonally introducing an artist who finds himself introspecting on multiple facets of his life, sometimes messily, under genuinely smooth soundscapes.

Fully-Owned – Westside Kam featuring Miles [produced by DoouShii]

Keeping with our midtempo hip-hop energy, our final pick is an ode to independence and living by Pheli-native Westside Kam. Backed by a more relaxed Dooushii production, Fully Owned is a song that reads like Kam taking a moment in the sun to acknowledge what he’s had to overcome and survive within his current existence. Kam’s verse is quite aspirational in tone whilst continually reminding us of the reality that this aspiration lives under; from being overlooked to continually facing death whether within direct proximity or by proxy. It’s a continuous mix of biography, aspiration and steely braggadoccio that runs through his verse and chorus. Miles continues with that tone with a verse that continuously invokes clever-wordplay and vivid imagery within his storytelling; rarely pulling punches on his reality with sobering lines that read “I’m from a place where the police causing the trouble, we seen it but never fumble…” Whilst Fully-Owned is textually packed steely and depressive subject matter, the laid-back approach to the performances and the production balance it out with a grit that feels knowingly triumphant. That despite these circumstances, Kam and Miles are in full ownership of where they want to go.

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