Over the years, the everyday life experiences of South African rappers have been firmly detailed in their music. The SA Hip Hop audience has heard vivid memories of life in various South African townships (and suburbs). It’s painted a decent enough picture of what life is like for an everyday South African. As a student of Hip-Hop, it was important to search wider than mainstream media. We live in a more diverse country than we think, and there’s a lot more about South Africa that’s been left out of the history books.
And while this review comes 2 years after the album’s released, it’s important within the context of South Africa and its greater meaning and symbolism – it’s worthwhile.
A story that unfortunately hasn’t been told enough is the story of a coloured man living in Cape Town. Areas like the Cape Flats, Wynburg and Bo-Kaap make up a large part of the Mother City that people tend to forget exist. If you never plan to travel to Cape Town, worry not. The story of this history rich city is told by 2019’s SA Hip-Hop Album Of The Year recipient, YoungstaCPT.
YoungstaCPT took time to flawlessly craft his debut album titled, “3T (Things Take Time)” to give fans of SA Hip Hop a comprehensive look into Cape Town. The 22-track album is something like a movie, giving the listener an intricate view of his upbringing and his life. To assist him in the narration of the coloured life is his Grandfather, who speaks carefully and adds an immense amount of detail to his words.
These are the songs that stood out from the pack of 22.
The intro of this album is what makes it feel the most movie like. It kicks off with the sounds of the hustle and bustle of a Cape Town taxi rank and the faint sounds of singing from a Mosque. Youngsta sits down with two of his fellow Cape Townians to discuss the realities of the life they face. Their words are met with mellow piano sounds as they say to each other,
“We need a solution. Bad stuff is coming. Nowadays we must look over our shoulders, for what reason?”
“Look at our coloured laaties out here. They’re killing each other”
“What is our solution towards this? What are we going to do?”
“We need to build something in our communities”
“It’s gonna take a bietjie time to change, but we can do it my bru”
These are the words that stuck out. They tell the listener about the conditions which they live, with little to no tools to rectify their situation.
YoungstaCPT summarises his family life in 4 minutes emphasising that no matter what – it’s family first. Cause you know, "You don't turn your back on family."
“Cradle to the grave,
Yeah death and birth,
Everything is secondary,
After the hook, he details his life in the Cape Flats. He raps about being raised by a single mother, who was not able to afford the finer things in life. Towards the end of the track, his Grandfather strongly suggests that that the children of today should take time to venture into their pasts and note how far their struggle goes.
The Cape of Good Hope:
This might be my favourite song on the album. Paired with a lively beat and bump feel to it, the song serves as a tourist’s guide to Cape Town. Youngsta takes the listener from Maynard Mall in Wynburg, and Grassy Park to Mitchells Plain in just a few minutes.
The track comes alive when you watch the music video. The rapper and his crew visit Clifton, Parkwood, Kalk Bay and other prominent areas in the city. There’s something about Youngsta’s music videos that are compelling.
On the 12th track of the album, Youngsta focuses on solely just coloured people.
“I send this one out to my brothers. And all of the sisters who love us. And all of those stuck in the gutters This one go out to the coloureds”, he raps. This is one of the trap-like songs on the album and will certainly have you bumping to it because the adlibs are so catchy.
What stood out for me the most here is his grandfather’s narration toward the end of the song. He discusses why the term “Cape Coloured” exists. He very passionately expresses that the term was created because some coloured people had fairer skin than others so one could not differentiate between a white man and a coloured man.
An educational moment in the album that is a turning point for the listener, it provokes one to read further about the history and understand it more.
The one downfall of the album is possibly that it’s too educational and not enjoyable enough for someone who is only listening for something light and commercial. Listening to 3T takes some time and dedication. The album is just under 2 hours. And while that may be lengthy, it’s worth your time. I mean, it was enough for Youngsta to tell his entire story in. It’s enjoyable, colourful and diverse.
To sit with the album, Youngsta released music videos for some of the tracks on the album over the past 3 years. With clever marketing and industry manoeuvring, clear authenticity, great wordplay and flows – Younsgta is definitely one of South Africa’s best musicians.
Written by: Naledi de Wee (@naledidewee)
Edited by: Dithekgo Mogadime (@DithekgoM)