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Sellah - Every Dream has Nightmares (Review)

Sellah is an American-born but South African based artist, who has been making waves in the city of Cape Town. His album, "Every Dream has Nightmares", consisting of only 8 tracks was set to drop on April 24th 2020.

The album opens up with "Brink (Intro)", which begins with a voice message sent to Sellah by someone who admires him for his music and gives him words of encouragement. In the background there's a very spacey atmosphere, with birds chirping being heard. Following this appreciation, Sellah comes in recalling a dream that he had. Which already ties into the idea of "Every Dream has Nightmares".

Following this introduction, we hear the opening song, called "Bailey". Sellah sings in a falsetto and uses effects on his voice, which add lower register harmonies to his layers high-pitched main vocals. The song itself is quite distorted and echoey, making use of piano keys as the main melody. He does this while flowing well. So well, he almost floats on the beat. It's an interesting opener.

Next is "oats". Which is named after the hook on the track, that sees Sellah recalling his childhood and how his mother used to tell him to eat his oats in order to grow. He uses that and compares that to the growth in his life. The bass on this track along with the snares make for enjoyable production. Sellah raps on this track about the challenges he's faced as he's grown. From his own fears of changes, that come with growing, to the problems he's seen with a growing music profile. While the hook could be better – he's rapping quite well throughout.

"Nothing'' has a high tempo production. And sees Sellah enter with a fast flow, similar to Denzel Curry. The way he raps is unorthodox but witty. The hook sees him singing, and he talks about how he needs "… that dough". And while he does have clever lines here and there like, "Niggas changing on me like clothes", "they calling me the plug, not for the drugs, but cause I put them all on", he ruins the consistency with awful lines like, "Shitting on the game like the toilet not flushed".

"Face It" has a beautiful hook, which sees Sellah making use of his voice. His voice is his best aspect in my opinion. "I would spend the whole night by your side". The verses sound very fast paced and aggressive, which matches the production, despite the fact that the sound effects can be a little tedious.

"Who am I" sees Sellah making use of his singing ability to its fullest. As Sellah is mainly singing throughout on production that makes you want to dance to his cadences. I think that this style suits him well, as he doesn't need to do much lyrically to make it enjoyable, as he tells a love story in the song where he reminisces on how he treated someone well but never got a reciprocated effort. The hook sees him regaining his sense of self value, as he sings "I don't got time to waste". A very good vibe throughout.

"Gone" makes use of very spacey production. And once again, Sellah makes use of his falsetto to good effect. And while he does rap, it comes off in a more natural voice. The track itself is quite short but cool.

Finally, the last track is "Liquid (ft Yungdunk)". The production is very outlandish and experimental. This sees Sellah rapping quite consistently though short. Where Yungdunk also comes in as a feature and speaks about his current mindset/life. At times, the track feels overwhelming, like too much is going on. But it's pretty decent.

Overall, "Every Dream Has A Nightmare" is an inconsistent project and quite hit or miss in many aspects. While the production (done by Yung Dank) is pretty good throughout, it feels as though Sellah isn't always working to his strengths (like his singing ability).

And even though, when he does rap, he has the energy and confidence that's needed – he tends to dilute this by writing lyrics that come off as unfocused at times or effectively "saying nothing". I can see the sound that Sellah is attempting to go for, which is a mix of being accessible for an easy listen but slightly experimental, but I think that the execution can be better. As some of the vocal effects he uses are overdone even when it's not necessary.

If Sellah improves his songwriting, by being more focused and consistent, as well as working on his strengths and execution, then I can see the potential that he has in his final product as there are glimpses here and there.

62/100
Hybrid.

Written by: Ipeleng Thobejane | Twitter @InsightThobe
Edited by: Dithekgo Mogadime | Twitter @DithekgoM

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