Be Careful What You Wish For. An idiom that means that although you may receive what you desired, there may be unforeseen consequences. This album follows the idiom as two major South African artists, A.K.A and Anatii, join together following their huge mainstream hit, The Saga.
The album acts as A.K.A’s first project since 2014. For A.K.A, an album release was overdue. Although he maintained his dominance over charts and radio, he has not released a project since 2014. During that period, A.K.A has relied mainly on guest verses and releasing singles. On many of those guest feature, he’s bodied the main artist countless times and has made it feel as if it’s his song. He’s released “Baddest”, ”Composure”, “One Time” and “Caiphus Song”. All of which were huge mainstream hits and achieved chart success. He also released “Dreamwork,” which serves as a fine example of his lyrical ability and how his skill has not dwindled in the midst of releasing music that relies on his great melodic verses and cadence. For Anatii, the album acts as a continuation from ARTIIFACT. ARTIIFACT acted as Anatii’s finest output to date. The album was incredible combination of various Hip-Hop elements whilst creating a clear South African identity and organic feel. ARTIIFACT was among 2016’s best releases. His excellent ear for production along with his impressive harmonizing, melodic verses and general musicality ensures its place amongst South Africa’s finest examples of innovative and original Hip-Hop.
Prior to the album release, the duo released four singles. The singles generated excitement as they proved their chemistry and musicality. The album begins with “Bryanston Drive”. The introduction sees A.K.A use one of his main strengths, his musicality. A.K.A delivers a catchy, auto-tune inspired hook with a proud melodic cadence. It’s followed by two strong verses whereby A.K.A’s vocals are raw. A.K.A’ delivery always creates a sense of confidence in the listener and this is no different. He tells stories of his rise to stardom and flows with relative ease. Anatii manages to cement his chemistry with A.K.A as he harmonizes excellently. The excellent production was crafted by Master A Flat, Anatii and A.K.A together as the rap duo create the perfect song to match the title as it creates a nostalgic “late night drive” feel.
Thereafter, “10 Fingers” follows as we hear an enjoyable, xylophone inspired tune. It’s a melodic bop where Anatii creates a superb hook and A.K.A delivers good verses with many flow variations. The song is a clear example of the duo distinguishing themselves from any Hip-Hop act as the production is heavily South African inspired and original. “How You Like Now!/?” is also produced by the trio of Anatii, A.K.A and Master A Flat. It follows the polyphonic nature of “10 Fingers” along with its xylophone based production. Anatii’s clear strength is his singing ability along with his flow. He uses both to release a good verse with an impressive delivery and cadence. A.K.A harmonizes well and continues with a decent verse. “Camps Bay 3” follows in the same vein as “10 Fingers” and “How You Like Now!/?” by means of production. However, it is far more vibrant. Its sole purpose is to get people to dance as heard through the rhythmic drums in the song. It is incredibly infectious as they expand towards an Afro-pop sound. Anatii delivers a hook that matches superbly with the instrumental. Anatii continues to take control in this song as he sings beautifully in an appropriate cadence. Similar to Davido’s “Fall” and “If,” it is hard to dislike the song due to its compelling vibe. A.K.A also delivers a short verse in which he sings well.
“Holy Mountain” sees Anatii and A.K.A take another approach musically. The song was produced by the duo. A clear nod must be made as their ability as producers is equally apt to their ability. They create a calm “late night drive” feel as they reference religion, blessings (in all forms) and relationships as the songs central point. Although the beat is slightly dark, both artist use lighter cadences which complements the feel of the song excellently. A.K.A uses a different delivery and Anatii proves himself as a purveyor of hooks. “Don’t Forget To Pray” is A.K.A and Anatii being braggadocios. A.K.A flips flows, brings good delivery and wordplay whilst creating an irresistible hook. However, Anatii manages to body A.K.A with ease. He delivers an aggressive verse with a dark cadence, vivid internal rhyme, an imposing flow and great wordplay. It’s the first sign of Anatii’s lyrical ability in the album but he manages to steal the show.
“Angelz” is easily the best song on the album. The production is stellar and the duo show their chemistry in the studio. The duo share the hook and drop one of their best hooks to date. A.K.A delivers an incredible verse where he comes in with a triumphant cadence. His flow is clean and the internal rhyme scheme is on full display. His own words describe his verse perfectly, “FIVE FIRE FLAME EMOJIS!”. Similarly, Anatii comes out equally as hard. Anatii changes his flow several times and uses internal rhyming excellently. A cool cadence accompanied by a play on words shows how he has evolved as a rapper, in his own right.
Be Careful What You Wish For was the perfect title for this project. It is a good project that many have desired, however, it falls short in some areas. The project sees the listener want Anatii and A.K.A show their lyricism more consistently going forward as they gifted in that area. Moreover, the production on a few tracks is too similar thus creating the perception that the songs are repetitive. The project length leaves much desired as I wish it was longer than 39 minutes. However, although it has it shortcomings it is one of the premier releases of 2017. The duo’s musicality is unmatched as they pave their own lane in the Hip-Hop landscape. They have proven their chemistry and definitely appeased their fan bases.
Final rating: Indoor