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Papa Zee - Psalm com

Papa Zee - Psalm com

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Published by Biz Ark-human
This is my review of Papa Zee's 'Psalm 23' album, released towards the tail-end of 2009.
This is my review of Papa Zee's 'Psalm 23' album, released towards the tail-end of 2009.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Biz Ark-human on Jun 12, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/13/2013

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Papa Zee:
‘Psalm 23’ review
 
by 
Ngoan’a Nts’oanaBy their very nature, reviews lend themselves to subjectivity, and the problemwith most subjectivity is that no two people are guaranteed to feel the sameway. While I may think the reviewed product deserves the utmost praise, thenext person may very well disagree; that is the very reason why I chose toreview this album. I therefore implore you to not take anything written here asgospel, but merely as a guideline – however biased it may be – to make up yourmind.Papa Zee’s ‘Psalm 23’ was released to large critical acclaim approximately twomonths ago. Originally slated for release in February this year, a change of plansled to the subsequent delay in the release date. A bit of background check on theman himself reveals that Papa Zee is one of the people who pioneered rap inLesotho. As part of a crew called The Ethnics, Zee Dawg (as he was known backthen) was responsible for influencing a number of people involved in hip-hop atthe time, and organising the now-infamous shows which were hosted at the now-defunct
**
club in the Industrial Area. He is, therefore, no stranger to the hip-hopsphere in Lesotho. At one point, he even hosted a hip-hop show when it wastaboo to have such on our radio stations.Fast forward to 2007, the newly-christened Papa Zee released ‘The SignatureAlbum’ which, contrary to popular belief, was a compilation aimed at introducingpeople to the artists signed to his Struggle Entertainment imprint, anindependent, pan-Afrikan music label. Some will remember tracks such as‘Mokhotsi’ and ‘Le se ‘ne le mpotsa’, and the more visually-inclined will definitelyremember the video to the track ‘Shopping’, which featured the Botswana-basedrap extraordinaire named Eureka. The album did manage to place Papa Zee, andby extension Struggle Entertainment, under the radar. For instance, at one point,‘Shopping’ was the most played video on SABC1’s late-night music program,took the number one position for several weeks on a well-known South Afrikannational radio station, and got featured on a Billboard compilation. Not bad forstarters!I was lucky enough to have been afforded the opportunity of hearing the songson ‘Psalm 23’ well-ahead of the album’s release date, so familiarity reignedsupreme upon my listening to the finished product. What struck me immediatelywas the sheer musicality of the songs; structurally, they make a lot of sense. Thearrangement is impeccable, and the subject matter flows seamlessly from onesong to the other. ‘Psalm 23’ is a well-planned, well-executed project whichbears testimony to the high level of experience borne by its raconteur, Papa Zee.As background prior to listening to the album, bear in mind that it is based in theeighties, and the themes tackled are such that they reflect that time period,especially on tracks where he relays the day-to-day occurrence of criminalintent.
 
On the album’s introduction, Papa Zee recites Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want 
– over a gospel-tinged piano concerto. I am not a bigfan of introductions, and shall not devote much time to it as a result. For me, thealbum really kicks off on the second track, ‘Bothata’. It is a braggadocio-typesong tinged with Papa Zee’s legendary slow-flow over a southern-crunk-influenced beat. It borrows part of the lyrics from his radio-only single,‘Maputsoe’, on which he pays homage to his home-town. ‘Bothata’ is the secondsingle after the much-hyped, much-loved ‘Starring’ which, incidentally, is thethird track on the album. A definite crowd-pleaser, it kept many a fan indesperate wait for the full album. This track reigned supreme on our airwaveslast summer, and deservedly so. It is yet another braggadocio-tinged song onwhich the man equates himself to the lead star in a movie.Moving on, ‘Le ‘mone’ is a welcome break-away from the two energy-infusedbeginners. A jazzy track, it features the vocal talents of Judith Somhlaba, who,and I stand to be corrected on this one, is also signed to Struggle Entertainment.I picture this being performed by a capable jazz band in front of multitudes of appreciative audiences at a jazz festival somewhere deep in the Malotimountains. From what I can tell, it is a plea to get rescued from whatever evilforces may lie in one’s path. A very uplifting song indeed! ‘Ke ts’oeroe ke AIDS’details the never-ending scourge of the dreaded HIV/AIDS pandemic. I amamazed at Papa Zee’s ability to craft songs to which everyday people can relateto. On this track, he tells the tale of a friend who has just returned from a blood-testing session at the clinic with HIV-positive results. Naturally, the friend is athis wits’ end, but Papa Zee puts his best foot forward by embracing him, andletting him know that he shall always be available at the friend’s disposal. Theoverall message is that AIDS affects each and every one of us, whetherphysically or spiritually.‘Kea o rata’ is a love song, and bears characteristics of every other love song.Featuring the vocal talents of Mogomotsi, this song is guaranteed to have youlonging to be with your loved one everytime it gets played. An increasingnumber of people find themselves in compromising circumstances, such as beingbrought up in a broken home, or having a father who is a rolling stone. ‘Khabangka ‘na’ delves deeper into Papa Zee’s upbringing and examines the desperationwhich can be brought about by such conditions. You just have to hear it in orderto completely appreciate the struggles he went through in order to become whathe is. If not for that, then listen to it just to comprehend the storytellingcapabilities of the man.‘Number 1’ is a melodic, smooth track for the ladies. It exposes the other facet of why Papa Zee’s music is liked by a lot of people. He recognises the significanceof melody, and uses it accordingly to write addictive choruses which stay in one’smind long after the song stops playing. This track also features a very creativeuse of the electric guitar, something which might go either way in hip-hop songs.Luckily it works here! ‘Gauteng’ epitomises the eighties espoused by this album;yet another vivid tale, this time around painting the Johannesburg bristle, grime,grind, and constant struggle of the city-dwellers to survive. Another subject is

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