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Snowy Bxxmin - Illusion (Review)

Snowy Bxxmin. Probably a refence to Metro and his meteoric rise in the industry. Representing East London’s SOA Collective, Snowy Bxxmin presents to us his first body of work, “Illusion”. After a solid promo run and a few teething problems with streaming platforms, I can only say it was worth the wait. Considering how morose every one of us has been during this time, it was a welcome breath of fresh air. A friend from Pretoria referred to him as “Travis Flame”; but I can assure you. Snowy is no imitation. With Illusion, he stakes his own claim and demands attention.

The tape begins with “Simulation”. A dialogue between artist and listener introducing what will be the thematic direction of this body of work. We might just be living in Elon Musk’s simulation. Snowy seems to bemoan the life he’s lived in a “society that idolizes fame, wealth and materialism”, which is a bit ironic considering what comes throughout the rest of the tape.

Simulation seamlessly transitions to OTW. The backdrop of which is a heavy bass married with keys and a flute-inspired melody. Qwerty Hynna, who produced the project, manages to incorporate all these well. Snowy lays down vocals telling a love interest that he’s On The Way. The same subject matter is explored by the featured J Walker and him and Snowy float on the production. This clearly isn’t a contest of lyricism, this is feel-good music for the people, parts of which they can relate to. The song lays the foundation well for the single and one of the standout tracks, “Movement”.

I’m glad Snowy made the song. The reality of it is this: East London is a place teeming with talent. There’s a movement brewing in the city and it has a signature sound attached to it, which is most evident on this banger. “I gotta make a song for the movement” is the opening line. Again, he’s nice with it, as themes of braggadocio and a desire come to the fore. This is a statement of intent. Snowy is part of the movement – and him and Qwerty will keep it moving, regardless of what happens. Bravo to the production on this one, the strings, hi-hats, heavy bass come together well, and his full arsenal of sounds is on full display.

“Spura Never Nice” follows, another example of the yin yang relationship and chemistry evident between producer and artist. That flute in the background reminds of Wheezy on Gunna’s “Who You Foolin’”. It does that, just remind me. It doesn’t sound like a rip off. This is Qwerty’s unique take on it. And it works well.  On Snowy’s part, it displays versatility, as his raps exceed the tempo on production but it’s never out of place, same with the Xhosa lyrics. This tune is catchy, easily having the makings of a club anthem for the summer. “Spura Never Nice” explores themes of relationships, trust and the difficulty in navigating those minefields. Despite everything, the take home message is this: Sela iWash, uphole ubemnandi.

Next we have, “Days in Quarantine”. It’s a standout, and apt considering the times we live in currently. The opening lines signal a path Snowy is on. At this point in time, it’s about the “Stu” and making these hits. With this offering, that is far from being a pipe dream. It’s valid. However, there’s only one problem; dear old quarantine. There’s nothing more to do during this period but “quarantine, Netflix and blow trees”. J Walker also plays his part well, there’s a synergy going on here – considering OTW – it would be amiss not to mention it. There’s also an ode to Snowy’s mother, who’s blessed her son as he chases his dreams. It’s Snowy’s world and we’re living in it and his mindset.

“Psycho” follows on as it speaks to the illusion theme. Up until now, I have nothing but good things to say of this body of work. The song speaks to the ouroboros. The cyclical nature of life, life out of death and creation out of destruction. Through this all though, the message is that life is eventful, nonetheless. It descends into raps about the quintessential lifestyle of a rapper. Nothing much to be said here, it just sounds good.

The production carries the song, “Bad Intentions”, but having heard the subject matter surrounding women and the lifestyle explored on “Psycho”, “OTW” and “Spura Never Nice”, it’s getting kind of boring. As a City fan though, I appreciate the ode to Aguero, and maybe it’s about the mandem’s conversion rate with abo Spura. Who knows?

‘SOA” follows this. SOA is an East London collective of creatives consisting of producers, entertainers, musicians and visual artists, which was founded by Qwerty Hynna, CYA and J Shrimpton – which Snowy Bxxmin is a part of. The artist Mswenk’London, who dropped the banger, “Lately”, late last year is a member as well. The track however, is an ode to the team. It thematically ties in with Illusion and I’ll reach and say that this was the point behind that distortion sound effect. If anything (albeit this being an outstanding offering), this song displays that this project is one of peaks and troughs. There is still room for improvement.

We close off with “Know More”. It does a more than satisfactory job of bringing us back from the Illusion trip Snowy Bxxmin took us on. The production is calmer. I like it. It’s “Middle finger to the fake, free my soul and elevate”. It’s the perfect conclusion. On the intro, Snowy speaks of society and the world around him. This track is about living life, despite those expectations. The movement will be carried, spoils shall be shared, life will be lived, by none other than Snowy Bxxmin himself. He knows more.

To conclude, this a good body of work. Improved mixing and mastering would make the music even greater. While I have my criticisms here –the use of the same cadence and delivery for the most of the project alongside a general lack of variety in content, these are things which can easily be improved on. Regardless of those issues, Snowy’s project is engaging and compelling. His flows are sharp and he knows how to use melodies. Well done SOA, Qwerty and Snowy Bxxmin. Take a bow.

74/100.
Indoors.

Written by: Nkosi Nkantsu | Twitter @__peacebewithme
Edited by: Dithekgo Mogadime | Twitter @DithekgoM



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