“Phum’ Kasi” sees two young MCs from Pretoria join forces. Ephy & Focalistic. Ephy is a crossover musician capable of being a good rapper and equally impressive artist. He’s versatile enough to make creative music that facilitates for most mainstream genres. Focalistic is a street rapper at heart. Having received radio and television exposure due to his gritty music alongside being one of the hardest working performers in the country, he’s definitely turned heads. Their collaboration sees two different sonic directions joint together and hopefully, the resultant is something extraordinary.
The song’s instrumental is dope. The production fuses both artists’ sonic direction. The production fuses Ephy’s signature major tonality and heavy synth use alongside Foca’s gritty percussion. The production is branded by a dope piano motive, heavy 808s and insane hi-hats. The song begins with a slow yet triumphant entrance by Ephy through a creative chorus. Ephy’s flow works well. It varies from a largo rhyme scheme to double time. He switches flow styles in cohesion with the progression of the instrumental thus creating an interrelated feeling that precedes Foca’s entry. His ability to manoeuvre within flow pockets is truly special.
Foca enters with a strong hook which follows his usual artistic direction. The hook focuses on the nature of cyclical poverty within informal settlements and townships. His verse goes on to explain how he and his family have escaped that upbringing and are moving towards greener pastures. His content focuses on his struggles and his triumph in the face of adversity. His robust cadence (on the cadence) adds onto that feeling of triumph as he finds solace in everything he’s already achieved and what he’s bound to attain. His fusion of vernac allows him to bring across his feelings with ease as his references to Pretoria culture evoke nostalgia. His introspective storytelling panders to the struggles of the vast majority of South Africans. The verse sees Foca continue to show his clever wordplay (“I was in mkhukhu, when they took me as a joke but now, I feel like Trevor Noah when I pull up to my hood!”) and ensures that he’s relatable. However, for all its positives, Foca’s verse is characterized by simple rhyme schemes and at times, a lack of energy.
Ephy’s verse follows thereafter. He follows Foca’s stylistic content, however, his sonic direction is different. His flow is progressive and tenacious. Ephy uses a singing cadence that creates a contrasting effect to Foca. His delivery is stout and ensures that his confidence covers his lack of elite vocal ability. His verse is also introspective as he touches on his past, family and struggles. Although addressing hard topics, Ephy’s tone carries optimism and determination as he clearly intends to defeat hardship.
Ephy and Focalistic are two rappers with contrasting sonic directions but their artistic abilities are brought together efficiently to create a song that attaches a powerful message alongside highlighting their respective abilities as musicians. It’s an alluring and tantalizing effort that covers both their small flaws and allows them to shine. I look forward to hearing another collaboration from both artists and their individual releases. If they keep releasing dope music, “I swear to God, we gon’ be okay!”