Miles is a name that’s well-known within Pretoria. Most listeners were introduced to him through his single, “Tell ‘Em” (which, in hindsight, was cringeworthy) but began to resonate with his music as he became a member of the Hip-Hop collective, SlumpRine. Miles’ progression is alarming. Within a short span, he’s improved tenfold as a musician and lyricist. Chapter II sees him attempt to separate himself from the pack.
The mixtape begins with “2”. My initial thoughts seem to relate to the production. Doou$hii has various styles but they’re identifiable by his C-Sound bounce and use of 808s. DoouShii rarely misses and based on the strength of the first instrumental here, there’s no production misses on Chapter II. The production is based on synths, a sinister baseline and ornate melody. DoouShii mimics and infuses a video game’s sound audio. The instrumental is cold. The song starts off with a laidback approach as Doou$hii and Miles rhyme slowly as they use melodies to ride out the bounce of the beat. However, contrastingly, Miles’ verse is anything but laidback. Miles sounds triumphant and confident. He knows he’s nice with it. His aggressive delivery style already told me, “This nigga ‘bout to TALK HIS SHIT!”. Miles rhymes intricately as he sticks dope punchlines at ease. His daunting flow is filled with killer punchlines and wordplay. It’s a great start to the project.. however, it doesn’t solely end suddenly, it resolves as Dou$hii integrates a beautiful piano melody and insane drumlines and 808s are used. Miles uses a quick flow as he rhymes intricately while including a memorable chorus. It’s a commanding beginning to the project.
“Chapters” follows. At less than two minutes, it feels like a short interlude. The instrumental carries a repetitive melody accompanied with slick hi-hats and protruding 808s. It’s a dope instrumental well-suited for a commanding delivery and a presto-like flow. Mizzy matches the instrumental with the use of a double time flow and an imposing delivery as he again shows his confidence by asserting himself as a lyricist. His wordplay is nice and mostly concrete. He flows impressively enough for the listener to engage in melodies rather than the packed wordplay. Again, there’s another transition as the instrumental turns dark as Miles’, “walk around all I see is dead rappers (uh!),” hook turns from an engaging dope hooks into a deranged and sinister chanted melody. Miles and Dou$hii manage to draw two vastly different emotions by means of a simple yet creative production effect. It’s what creates replay value.
Thereafter, “No Worries” follows. The song opens with a bass-driving synth that creates suspense. Accompanied by a descending piano run and minor tonality, the instrumental sounds almost evil. Miles enters with a sense of fearlessness as he uses a quick flow and takes advantage of rhythmic pockets in Doou$hii’s C-Sound rhythms. Miles sounds dope and it appears effortless. Miles’ clear strength is his ability is his sharp wordplay, punchlines and aggressive delivery. His flow seems to entice without it coming off as forceful.
“Walking and dripping, I ain’t worried bout you. Nike on my feet, all I know is a swoosh. I got a bad in the back of the coupe. Fuck with the set, all of my niggas gon’ shoot. We seen them lies, all my niggas’ the truth. When we go shopping, I tell her, “Just choose!”. Dipping and dashing, ain’t leaving the cruise, walking and dripping, I ain’t worried bout you!”
This is how you set yourself apart. High rhyme density, dope melodic runs, double time flows and slick rhyme patterns. It’s truly impressive as he exudes confidence without any destress. It sounds way too smooth over Doou$hii’s production too.
Subsequently after, “Around” plays. Doou$hii tapping into different realms and sounds elite in every single facet. The production is based on piano chords, hi-hats as the drumming foundation and in phases, crazy 808s. He’s 4 for 4 at this point - all great instrumentals. Miles hook is nonchalant but due to his cadence and delivery style, it works effectively. This is followed by Miles and Doou$hii trading bars. Instead of a traditional 16 verse, Miles and Doou$hii rhyme for 8 bars each. Miles sounds slick bars are slick. Every line carries a punchline and it’s impressive. He flows fluidly as his verse is filled with dense yet changing rhyme patterns and a killer flow. Alongside an imposing delivery, this sounds completely effortless. The same sentiments could be shared about Dou$hii as he makes his presence known by utilising an assertive delivery, manipulating flow pockets and hidden wordplay.
“Fresh Prince” is the song which follows. Doou$hii uses synths as the melody accompanied by distorted 808s and cool drums. The production isn’t anyway near bad but it isn’t compelling either, it’s slightly bland. The production is too laidback and similarly, Miles’ delivery isn’t engaging enough. His cadence may be truculent but his delivery lacks the confidence he displayed earlier. The wordplay is good but his flow is often offbeat at times. Doou$hii’s hook sees him laidback and skate on the hook but he lacks his regular sense of vigour. The song is a decent effort but it lacks something from both standpoints - production and rapping. However, after mediocre showing on “Fresh Prince”, Miles returns with clear intention to outrap his competition. “SlumpRinePrimetime” carries that enigmatic C-Sound bounce as Doou$hii gets back into his bag. A gorgeous guitar riff accompanied by modernised boom-bap instrumentation. The production sounds Rick Ross smooth. Any MC would love to rap over this instrumental. Without hesitation, Miles rhymes elaborately. The wordplay is endless as he layers entendres and it appears to do it with ease. A double time flow, a cocky cadence and alluring delivery - he sounds slublime. His punchlines are tantalising while he seemingly skates on the instrumental. However, Miles’ verse is not the only formidable thing about the song. Doou$hii’s hook is simple and easy to remember but due to his monotone cadence and a cold delivery, he makes creating hooks seem simple. His opening verse is also fire. Often Dou$hii is heralded for his production but he’s a capable rapper and he sounds slick without truly trying. As far as 2018 is concerned, SlumpRine were incredible and only The Wrecking Crew and Innate Wav. Can be mentioned within the same breathe. SlumpRinePrimetime, indeed.
“This sounds like.. (when) you’re riding in a... classic... ‘Cedes)” is an apt description of the Lamontville Cruise’s production. It’s meant for driving your coupe with the roof off. The production is based on another bass guitar rift alongside clean cymbals and cool hi-hats. The production is pristine and Miles’ performance is also immaculate. Doou$hii bodied the hook. It’s an ongoing reoccurring theme how Doou$hii and Miles are in consistently in full synch. They know each other’s strength and complement each other well. The chemistry is coherent and transparent as can be. Doou$hii’s hook allows Miles to enter smooth over the instrumental. Miles seems to enjoy playing on words as every line is tied to a punchline as he shows his relentless wordplay. He uses a cool cadence and again, it sounds like he hasn’t changed gears - he rhymes at high level and it comes off as effortlesss.
“And like we skating through it, man, you off the rail. I know I got the bars, I got the money for bail. Two sides of the coin when they’re showing face. I read between the lines and don’t do cocaine. Pull up to the dealership, we smoking Mary Jane.”
“Lamontville Cruise” begins to slowly transition into “Arrived”. As far as production is concerned, this is elite. This is Doou$hii on his shoplifter shit cause he is in his bag. The song evokes the same C-Sound bounce, however, the production is slower and more suitable for storytelling. A beautiful synth, incredible drums and immaculate layering. Doou$hii’ is versatile and has a knack for excelling regardless of the music’s style. On “Arrived”, Miles displays his best verse and hook to date. While every cadence and delivery style prior to “Arrived” saw Miles rap aggressively and confidently, this song sees him in a calmer state. Miles explores a long-winded flow and a staggered yet compelling delivery. While Miles proved himself as a lyricist on Chapter II, it’s largely killer punchlines and technical skill. He hasn’t show his true ability as a storyteller. On this song, he shows his biggest promise - his ability to narrate and evoke emotions. The song speaks on the challenges he faces on his journey but ultimately, how he overcomes his struggles. On “Arrived”, Miles is at his most vulnerable and introspective as he writes with thorough detail and insight about his struggles. While not in the vein of a banger, this song easily has the most replay value on Chapter II. It’s exceptional storytelling and a greater indication of his ceiling as an artist.
Thereafter, the final song on Chapter II, “TWIMC” begins. To Whom It May Concern. The song serves as a message to his friends, family and competitions. The production is mostly based on dissonance but it’s resolved through the use of chimes and chilling drums. The production ravels in minimalism as it has little layering and is mostly based on the synth’s melody. It’s a great foundation for storytelling and continues evoking the feelings of listener through resolving tension. Again, Miles is at his most vulnerable. His cadence sounds solemn although his delivery is assertive. Miles’ vocals are mostly raw and without effects, he sounds isolated and somewhat drowning in melancholy. Although his cadence and delivery sees him use less energy, Miles manages to express himself better as he spends the majority of the song detailing his frustrations, his life’s idiosyncrasies and why he’s destined to be great. Miles is commanding yet his emotional transparency ensures that it’s a captivating experience. It’s a great way to finish a dope project.
Chapter II solidifies Miles as a rapper. Miles is a great lyricist with a striking set of skills, however, he excels most when he narrates his own story. Chapter II illustrates how Miles is capable of outrapping the vast majority of rappers, however, Miles needs more subject and content range. The last two efforts on the project are a greater indication of that. Furthermore, while he is impressive, Miles needs to explore different cadences and deliveries. Another noticeable issue is the short duration of songs. Longer songs would allow Miles to express every single sentiment he has. Songs like “Arrived”, “Chapters” and “No Worries” could have been extended and further elevated the project. Nonetheless, Chapter II remains as a special project and has a rightful place within the Top 5 best South African Hip-Hop projects of 2018.
In essence, Chapter II serves as a “free album” for listeners. Doou$hii’s immaculate production and Miles’ skill are brought together to create a cohesive project. They possess distinct chemistry which allows them to create captivating music. As far as production is concerned, Doou$hii can make a claim to be South Africa’s best Hip-Hop producer. Similarly, Miles spoke consistently about how he’s greater rapper than others but to be fair, he’s right. He constantly exuded confidence and it exerted it within his verses but it wrongly done - he is a talented MC with a high ceiling. His progression as a musician and rapper is intriguing to see and should be alarming for fellow rappers. While Miles hasn’t achieved commercial success, based on his music and work ethic, his time is coming.