A-Reece - From Me To You & Only You [Review]


A-Reece. The self-proclaimed King of Pitori. Reece has had to endure a long road filled with frustration till reaching this point in his life. Label issues with Ambitiouz Entertainment affected his branding but it never diminished the quality of his music. In fact, it could be argued that his music quality improved after leaving the notorious label. Between leaving his label and dropping this album, Reece has picked up vast movement. He’s dropped various singles that were incredibly impressive, however, they failed to connect to his fan base (in terms of sales and chart position) – with the primary reason being his lack of a label push. Coming into the year, Reece had struggled to find songs capable of matching the prior success of “Paradise”, “Kena” and “Zimbali” regardless of the super lyricism and general musicality. “Feelings” was his return to the limelight. It directly influenced the landscape of South African Hip-Hop and went as far as prompting Riky Rick, a major mainstream rapper and sound pioneer, to create his own rendition of the single.
Reece’s album announcement was a mere three days before its release. It seems like an abrupt and unexpected move on his part but if one considers he released more than ten singles, it could definitely be considered an album roll-out.
Reece begins the project with “The Promised Land”. It starts with a familiar cadence on his part. As he continues to flow, I instinctively hear Drake’s influence. Reece uses Drake’s infamous flow from his album, “Views”. The influence is clear as he raps in a melodic manner “Far from being Drake but look how far this nigga came”. He raps moreover about his beginnings, inspirations (he mentions 50 Cent, Eminem and Jay Z), ambitions and lastly, the feeling of success. MashBeatz’s production is calm as the instrumentation evokes feelings of nostalgia, tropical islands and a peaceful sanctuary. The storytelling and instrument work hand-in-hand to outline Reece’s story. The syncopated flow slightly diminish the overall feeling of the lyrics but it is still a good start for the project. The following song, “7 Days After”, sounds vaguely similar to the prior song as MashBeatz creates a similar sound again. Furthermore, Reece reuses the same content, however, with a new flow. The up-tempo flow and the features are the only distinguishable aspects between the two songs for the average ear.
The album follows the production direction style of “tropical” instrumentation due to the use of the piano. However, Zooci Coke Dope decides to switch things up on “Rio” through the addition of a walking bass line that creates a new feeling. The inclusion of the vivid, up-tempo hi-hats and a synthesizer sonically changed the landscape of the song. Reece is as infectious as ever as he flows with ease. The hook resonates with the listener due to his choice of tone, vocal stretches and dynamics along with his distinct flow and easy memorable content. His friend and featured artist, Flame, delivers a strong verse with good melodic tones and fast flow that creates a sense of versatility in the song. Rio sounds like a definite hit – with a strong label backing, this could have easily been one of South Africa’s biggest songs. The next song, “Off the Rip” starts off slow. The instrumental has a steady and smooth synthesizer along with the use of a beautiful guitar run in the melody. Sonically, there appears to be a change as the mood has changed due to ENKEI and MashBeatz’s production. Reece takes inspiration from Drake again as he utilizes Drake’s cadence and flow. The song is mediocre. Reece shows little variation throughout and uses a simple rhyme form. Reece is an elite rapper, however, whenever he uses this “singing whilst rapping” cadence, his content wanders and his flow becomes static and basic. His faults become more visible as an artist.
The following song, “Pride”, follows that same direction. However, instead of Drake – Reece takes inspiration from his label mate, Roy Woods. Reece sings and mimics Roy’s cadence and flow on a MashBeatz instrumental that sounds reminiscent of Roy’s signature sound. This could have worked out well but Reece does not have the soft vocals of the Brampton native. Nor does he possess Roy’s emotional song writing ability. The blend of dark R&B with gritty rap undercurrents is a hard task to tackle and the song doesn’t come together until Rowlene is heard. Rowlene brings in a fresh perspective through a lighter tone and an angelic cadence. With melodic runs and vocal stretches, she manages to change the song’s feeling with ease. Comparable to her contribution of Nasty C’s “Phases”, she knows how to become the highlight of a song.
“Rarri’” is the ensuing song and it does not disappoint. This song’s production is incredible as MashBeatz’s uses the piano plays as the foundation of song along with a great drum line and synth. Reece takes the time to detail his aspirations and ambitions. Reece shows his skill as he changes his rhymes scheme whilst leading up to a simple but catchy hook. My only complaint is the song length as this certainly deserves radio play. This reminiscent of his prior works and his signature sound. We need more of this.  Following a good transition, “On My Own” plays. This is the signature sound that Reece is renowned for. MashBeatz fuses South African music elements such as the use of African instrumentation, a syncopated hi hats and overall, rhythmic drum line. Sonically, this sounds far lighter than the prior songs. This allows Reece to float on the hook. The hook is memorable and his cadence matches the beat. His first verse structure utilizes another Drake flow, however, his use of cadence changes and tone distinguishes it. Additionally, the second verse sees him change his style by using an upbeat flow and faster delivery. Reece delivers on this song. Contrastingly sonically, “On Our Own” is slow and based on a monotone cadence and a safe range vocally. The instrumentation sounds similar to the prior “peaceful sanctuary”, or better yet – rap influenced ambience music. Although the content is different, it sounds repetitive.
Moreover, sonically, the album direction has changed numerous times between rap-influenced ambience to mainstream rap and onto emotive, conscious rap. Reece clearly lacks direction as the track listing is poor. “About the Dough (Jody’s Interlude)” begins to play and it’s already clear that Reece is in bag. On an amazing dark instrumental, again made by MashBeatz, the beat begs for Reece is leave the instrumental in a body bag. The beat is unlike any prior beat, it is primarily East Coast influenced but there is a clear West Coast stimulus – it is the best instrumental of the album. Reece unleashes a verse that is ferocious. His flow is mesmerizing and his lyricism is equally impressive. The content gives insight to Reece’s frame of mind thoroughly as he uses his diction to paint his thoughts. This is a reminder to South African rappers who think that A-Reece is something to mess with. Another highlight is the interpolation of 30 Minutes to New Orleans. Plenty of vocal layers are heard as Reece and his friends relive Wayne’s legendary verse. It’s the type of nostalgic input that enhances the song. Flame’s verse shows good lyricism and flow but the song truly did not call for him. A piano is heard in the song outro and it’s gorgeous. It reinforces why this song is far ahead of the pack.
“Cheque” plays next. Zooci Coke Dope produces a cold beat. The guitar based melody along with a sampled voice and a dope drum pattern results in Reece having an incredible beat at his hands. The inclusion of the brass instruments create darker feeling but However, Reece doesn’t use this to advantage. He uses ENKEI on the hook. ENKEI’s hook is poor. The hook delivery is mediocre, there is a lack of variation whilst the flow is imitative of foreign artists and the lyrics are incredibly repetitive. On a great instrumental, Reece could have easily bodied the hook. To make the song worse, Reece says nothing. Reece spends his verse rhyming without any direction. The verse isn’t memorable as he imitates flows, rhymes without substance and ultimately, sounds like he lacks hunger. “Until I RIP” is the following song. Reece somewhat redeems himself as the album transitions from a poor song to a mediocre one. Reece’s hook and chorus doesn’t match his fiery verse. Aggressive and upbeat delivery as he rhymes with ease whilst showing a great deal of wordplay. Louw features on the track and his flow is mediocre. In essence, his verse leaves much desired.
“Calabasas (Fulfilment)” is a great quality song. The moment I heard the astonishing beat, I prayed that Reece came with intent. On a beat that evokes the feeling of love through the piano and slow nature of the song – Reece produces some of his best content. Reece’s verse is filled with quotable lines and the hook is just as impressive. Although he uses Drake’s flow on “Do Not Disturb”’s first verse – he murks it. In fact, from the hook, verses and chorus – Reece is incredible. Ecco also gives a great guest verse. He brings new energy, a similar but distinctive delivery along with the use of various cadence pockets. “Just Another Song” follows. There’s a sense of irony as this not just another song. There’s nothing mediocre about this. The beat is glorious as MashBeatz brings the instrumentals to life. The drumming knocks hard and the piano motives are amazing. Flame’s tone and cadence matches the song perfectly. Flame’s slow and melodic verse along with his deep tone compliments Reece’s light tone and aggressive delivery style. Reece raps his ass off. He sounds hungry as he rhymes about his friendships and the effect of his celebrity status. This is what we need more. Flame and Reece were definitely on the same page with this and they executed.
“Starlights”. Oh my. Oh my. MashBeatz did it again. Mash samples one of Hip-Hop’s most recognised songs concretely and concisely. The high pitched sample of Notorious B.I.G’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” works excellently with the slow beat. I heard the beat and in the words of Reece, “Like Hiroshima, I am blown.” Reece’s hook on the song is memorable and infectious. Melodically, he’s in his bag. Reece refrains from being aggressive and instead coasts on a somewhat soulful rap beat. Ayanda Jiya, it was the first I’ve heard of her but her voice steals the show. A beautiful tone with brilliant cadence control and soulful melodies – she shows that she can be a star too. She sings about how she’s bound to be a star (the song title clearly makes sense now) and If this her quality of music, I can’t disagree. The final song on the album is “Feelings”. It’s the first single off the project and it achieved huge commercial success. Why? It’s finding his own pocket and sound. Reece’s slow build up alongside his stretched vocals create a distinguishable feeling. In addition to this, when this was production style changes to an upbeat – Reece is lyrically impeccable. His wordplay goes over heads while he manages to relate his listeners to his life.
A-Reece’s best talent is his versatility. He can appease all corners of his fan base with relative ease. His storytelling is good as he manages to relate content with his listeners. However, where he fall short is the loss of his soul. An expression, of course, but a great description of what he’s going through. On “From Me To You & Only You”, he rhymes numerously about his struggles with fame and they’re visible. Reece has swayed from his lyrically elite nature, in pursuit of more commercial success after an incredible run of charting songs. Reece needs to find himself as although no artist should ever make the same album twice and therefore, he’s likely to evolve musically – he’s lost some of his prior qualities.
Paradise was an incredible album due to his fusion of South African elements (production and linguistics wise) with great melodies, cadences, various flows and elite lyricism. He lacks some of those qualities as there a clear foreign influence on his music as the project appears as somewhat unoriginal as songs begin to sound repetitive. Reece needs to reanalyse his song content as his talking points are either diminishing or repetitive. Moreover, Reece sounds like he’s lost his hunger as most of his subject points revolve around money. While understanding that Reece prioritizes money but he should care more for the art and less “About The Dough”. Another issue regarding this album was how rushed it sounded as there is bad decision making in terms of tracklisting and repetitive content.
Reece dropped this album on the anniversary of Paradise which forced him to create a project quickly thus resulting in a somewhat lacklustre yet potential filled project. Classic projects often take years to complete. Within a South African context, an artist can be incredibly relevant through singles and that was the route that should have taken until the project was done thoroughly. There are too many songs that are mediocre (at best) while the tracklist order detracts from the listening experience and he, most importantly, lacks his usual lyrical content. Moreover, this album lacked promotion. It is understandable as Reece is an independent act therefore he will struggle to communicate with his fan base, however, a three day notice for the project is poor. If Reece knowingly created this project with the deadline being the anniversary of Paradise – why did it lack so much promotion? Reece’s fan base is incredibly vast and he is capable of cultivating hype prior to the album release and his fan base can maintain it after its release (well, if they deem it great).
In essence, Reece needs to use less singing cadences and rap with meaning. He should watch who he gives guest verses as not all songs call for his friends to be featured – those guest verses often diminish the song quality. A-Reece is an incredible MC with a versatile skill set. He has a high ceiling as one of South Africa’s youngest yet well-skilled MCs, however, like his lyrics show – he’s “a work in progress and the work is there to show”.
Alongside MashBeatz, who is clearly cut from a different cloth when compared to other South African producers, he has a great career ahead. The duo have clear chemistry and are capable of elevating to an elite duo.
A-Reece. The self-proclaimed King of Pitori. Reece has had to endure a long road filled with frustration till reaching this point in his life. Label issues with Ambitiouz Entertainment affected his branding but it never diminished the quality of his music. In fact, it could be argued that his music quality improved after leaving the notorious label. Between leaving his label and dropping this album, Reece has picked up vast movement. He’s dropped various singles that were incredibly impressive, however, they failed to connect to his fan base (in terms of sales and chart position) – with the primary reason being his lack of a label push. Coming into the year, Reece had struggled to find songs capable of matching the prior success of “Paradise”, “Kena” and “Zimbali” regardless of the super lyricism and general musicality. “Feelings” was his return to the limelight. It directly influenced the landscape of South African Hip-Hop and went as far as prompting Riky Rick, a major mainstream rapper and sound pioneer, to create his own rendition of the single.
Reece’s album announcement was a mere three days before its release. It seems like an abrupt and unexpected move on his part but if one considers he released more than ten singles, it could definitely be considered an album roll-out.
Reece begins the project with “The Promised Land”. It starts with a familiar cadence on his part. As he continues to flow, I instinctively hear Drake’s influence. Reece uses Drake’s infamous flow from his album, “Views”. The influence is clear as he raps in a melodic manner “Far from being Drake but look how far this nigga came”. He raps moreover about his beginnings, inspirations (he mentions 50 Cent, Eminem and Jay Z), ambitions and lastly, the feeling of success. MashBeatz’s production is calm as the instrumentation evokes feelings of nostalgia, tropical islands and a peaceful sanctuary. The storytelling and instrument work hand-in-hand to outline Reece’s story. The syncopated flow slightly diminish the overall feeling of the lyrics but it is still a good start for the project. The following song, “7 Days After”, sounds vaguely similar to the prior song as MashBeatz creates a similar sound again. Furthermore, Reece reuses the same content, however, with a new flow. The up-tempo flow and the features are the only distinguishable aspects between the two songs for the average ear.
The album follows the production direction style of “tropical” instrumentation due to the use of the piano. However, Zooci Coke Dope decides to switch things up on “Rio” through the addition of a walking bass line that creates a new feeling. The inclusion of the vivid, up-tempo hi-hats and a synthesizer sonically changed the landscape of the song. Reece is as infectious as ever as he flows with ease. The hook resonates with the listener due to his choice of tone, vocal stretches and dynamics along with his distinct flow and easy memorable content. His friend and featured artist, Flame, delivers a strong verse with good melodic tones and fast flow that creates a sense of versatility in the song. Rio sounds like a definite hit – with a strong label backing, this could have easily been one of South Africa’s biggest songs. The next song, “Off the Rip” starts off slow. The instrumental has a steady and smooth synthesizer along with the use of a beautiful guitar run in the melody. Sonically, there appears to be a change as the mood has changed due to ENKEI and MashBeatz’s production. Reece takes inspiration from Drake again as he utilizes Drake’s cadence and flow. The song is mediocre. Reece shows little variation throughout and uses a simple rhyme form. Reece is an elite rapper, however, whenever he uses this “singing whilst rapping” cadence, his content wanders and his flow becomes static and basic. His faults become more visible as an artist.
The following song, “Pride”, follows that same direction. However, instead of Drake – Reece takes inspiration from his label mate, Roy Woods. Reece sings and mimics Roy’s cadence and flow on a MashBeatz instrumental that sounds reminiscent of Roy’s signature sound. This could have worked out well but Reece does not have the soft vocals of the Brampton native. Nor does he possess Roy’s emotional song writing ability. The blend of dark R&B with gritty rap undercurrents is a hard task to tackle and the song doesn’t come together until Rowlene is heard. Rowlene brings in a fresh perspective through a lighter tone and an angelic cadence. With melodic runs and vocal stretches, she manages to change the song’s feeling with ease. Comparable to her contribution of Nasty C’s “Phases”, she knows how to become the highlight of a song.
“Rarri’” is the ensuing song and it does not disappoint. This song’s production is incredible as MashBeatz’s uses the piano plays as the foundation of song along with a great drum line and synth. Reece takes the time to detail his aspirations and ambitions. Reece shows his skill as he changes his rhymes scheme whilst leading up to a simple but catchy hook. My only complaint is the song length as this certainly deserves radio play. This reminiscent of his prior works and his signature sound. We need more of this.  Following a good transition, “On My Own” plays. This is the signature sound that Reece is renowned for. MashBeatz fuses South African music elements such as the use of African instrumentation, a syncopated hi hats and overall, rhythmic drum line. Sonically, this sounds far lighter than the prior songs. This allows Reece to float on the hook. The hook is memorable and his cadence matches the beat. His first verse structure utilizes another Drake flow, however, his use of cadence changes and tone distinguishes it. Additionally, the second verse sees him change his style by using an upbeat flow and faster delivery. Reece delivers on this song. Contrastingly sonically, “On Our Own” is slow and based on a monotone cadence and a safe range vocally. The instrumentation sounds similar to the prior “peaceful sanctuary”, or better yet – rap influenced ambience music. Although the content is different, it sounds repetitive.
Moreover, sonically, the album direction has changed numerous times between rap-influenced ambience to mainstream rap and onto emotive, conscious rap. Reece clearly lacks direction as the track listing is poor. “About the Dough (Jody’s Interlude)” begins to play and it’s already clear that Reece is in bag. On an amazing dark instrumental, again made by MashBeatz, the beat begs for Reece is leave the instrumental in a body bag. The beat is unlike any prior beat, it is primarily East Coast influenced but there is a clear West Coast stimulus – it is the best instrumental of the album. Reece unleashes a verse that is ferocious. His flow is mesmerizing and his lyricism is equally impressive. The content gives insight to Reece’s frame of mind thoroughly as he uses his diction to paint his thoughts. This is a reminder to South African rappers who think that A-Reece is something to mess with. Another highlight is the interpolation of 30 Minutes to New Orleans. Plenty of vocal layers are heard as Reece and his friends relive Wayne’s legendary verse. It’s the type of nostalgic input that enhances the song. Flame’s verse shows good lyricism and flow but the song truly did not call for him. A piano is heard in the song outro and it’s gorgeous. It reinforces why this song is far ahead of the pack.
“Cheque” plays next. Zooci Coke Dope produces a cold beat. The guitar based melody along with a sampled voice and a dope drum pattern results in Reece having an incredible beat at his hands. The inclusion of the brass instruments create darker feeling but However, Reece doesn’t use this to advantage. He uses ENKEI on the hook. ENKEI’s hook is poor. The hook delivery is mediocre, there is a lack of variation whilst the flow is imitative of foreign artists and the lyrics are incredibly repetitive. On a great instrumental, Reece could have easily bodied the hook. To make the song worse, Reece says nothing. Reece spends his verse rhyming without any direction. The verse isn’t memorable as he imitates flows, rhymes without substance and ultimately, sounds like he lacks hunger. “Until I RIP” is the following song. Reece somewhat redeems himself as the album transitions from a poor song to a mediocre one. Reece’s hook and chorus doesn’t match his fiery verse. Aggressive and upbeat delivery as he rhymes with ease whilst showing a great deal of wordplay. Louw features on the track and his flow is mediocre. In essence, his verse leaves much desired.
“Calabasas (Fulfilment)” is a great quality song. The moment I heard the astonishing beat, I prayed that Reece came with intent. On a beat that evokes the feeling of love through the piano and slow nature of the song – Reece produces some of his best content. Reece’s verse is filled with quotable lines and the hook is just as impressive. Although he uses Drake’s flow on “Do Not Disturb”’s first verse – he murks it. In fact, from the hook, verses and chorus – Reece is incredible. Ecco also gives a great guest verse. He brings new energy, a similar but distinctive delivery along with the use of various cadence pockets. “Just Another Song” follows. There’s a sense of irony as this not just another song. There’s nothing mediocre about this. The beat is glorious as MashBeatz brings the instrumentals to life. The drumming knocks hard and the piano motives are amazing. Flame’s tone and cadence matches the song perfectly. Flame’s slow and melodic verse along with his deep tone compliments Reece’s light tone and aggressive delivery style. Reece raps his ass off. He sounds hungry as he rhymes about his friendships and the effect of his celebrity status. This is what we need more. Flame and Reece were definitely on the same page with this and they executed.
“Starlights”. Oh my. Oh my. MashBeatz did it again. Mash samples one of Hip-Hop’s most recognised songs concretely and concisely. The high pitched sample of Notorious B.I.G’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” works excellently with the slow beat. I heard the beat and in the words of Reece, “Like Hiroshima, I am blown.” Reece’s hook on the song is memorable and infectious. Melodically, he’s in his bag. Reece refrains from being aggressive and instead coasts on a somewhat soulful rap beat. Ayanda Jiya, it was the first I’ve heard of her but her voice steals the show. A beautiful tone with brilliant cadence control and soulful melodies – she shows that she can be a star too. She sings about how she’s bound to be a star (the song title clearly makes sense now) and If this her quality of music, I can’t disagree. The final song on the album is “Feelings”. It’s the first single off the project and it achieved huge commercial success. Why? It’s finding his own pocket and sound. Reece’s slow build up alongside his stretched vocals create a distinguishable feeling. In addition to this, when this was production style changes to an upbeat – Reece is lyrically impeccable. His wordplay goes over heads while he manages to relate his listeners to his life.
A-Reece’s best talent is his versatility. He can appease all corners of his fan base with relative ease. His storytelling is good as he manages to relate content with his listeners. However, where he fall short is the loss of his soul. An expression, of course, but a great description of what he’s going through. On “From Me To You & Only You”, he rhymes numerously about his struggles with fame and they’re visible. Reece has swayed from his lyrically elite nature, in pursuit of more commercial success after an incredible run of charting songs. Reece needs to find himself as although no artist should ever make the same album twice and therefore, he’s likely to evolve musically – he’s lost some of his prior qualities.
Paradise was an incredible album due to his fusion of South African elements (production and linguistics wise) with great melodies, cadences, various flows and elite lyricism. He lacks some of those qualities as there a clear foreign influence on his music as the project appears as somewhat unoriginal as songs begin to sound repetitive. Reece needs to reanalyse his song content as his talking points are either diminishing or repetitive. Moreover, Reece sounds like he’s lost his hunger as most of his subject points revolve around money. While understanding that Reece prioritizes money but he should care more for the art and less “About The Dough”. Another issue regarding this album was how rushed it sounded as there is bad decision making in terms of tracklisting and repetitive content.
Reece dropped this album on the anniversary of Paradise which forced him to create a project quickly thus resulting in a somewhat lacklustre yet potential filled project. Classic projects often take years to complete. Within a South African context, an artist can be incredibly relevant through singles and that was the route that should have taken until the project was done thoroughly. There are too many songs that are mediocre (at best) while the tracklist order detracts from the listening experience and he, most importantly, lacks his usual lyrical content. Moreover, this album lacked promotion. It is understandable as Reece is an independent act therefore he will struggle to communicate with his fan base, however, a three day notice for the project is poor. If Reece knowingly created this project with the deadline being the anniversary of Paradise – why did it lack so much promotion? Reece’s fan base is incredibly vast and he is capable of cultivating hype prior to the album release and his fan base can maintain it after its release (well, if they deem it great).
In essence, Reece needs to use less singing cadences and rap with meaning. He should watch who he gives guest verses as not all songs call for his friends to be featured – those guest verses often diminish the song quality. A-Reece is an incredible MC with a versatile skill set. He has a high ceiling as one of South Africa’s youngest yet well-skilled MCs, however, like his lyrics show – he’s “a work in progress and the work is there to show”.
Alongside MashBeatz, who is clearly cut from a different cloth when compared to other South African producers, he has a great career ahead. The duo have clear chemistry and are capable of elevating to an elite duo.
https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/from-me-to-you-only-you/1299129792
https://open.spotify.com/album/50kl134khPMtu1FVrniPmi
https://listen.tidal.com/album/80294240
http://www.deezer.com/us/album/50288312
62/100.
Final rating: Mid

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