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REVIEW: Tshego – Pink Panther

 

After making a name for himself as a credible go-to-guy when it comes to infectious Hip Hop hooks, Tshego finally released his highly anticipated debut album, Pink Panther on August 30th. Clocking in 50 minutes, the 15 track album is an overall upbeat project that is a composite of Tshego’s multiple thematic styles.

A Little While

The album opens up with a hauntingly earnest song, which finds Tshego asking his muse to be patient and wait a little while for him. “You’re the reason for the way my heart is beating” he reveals, and this brings a sense of someone who desperately wants to prove their worth and believes that a little time is all he needs to show it. This song appropriately sets the tone for Tshego to prove his crooning abilities throughout the album, a characteristic which has made this one of the most anticipated albums of 2019.

Right Now

The second track is a glaring departure from the preceding song on the track-list. A high-tempo song which will be fitting for the club scene and all the memories made there. In it he addresses the ever so popular occurrence of a superstar who has that one girl who’s always down for him in every city he goes to perform in, even if said girl has her own man. He sings, “I come swerving through your town, and the shows are going up, that’s your girl she’s coming down”. While he revels in this power he wields, he also gives us a banger that’s sure to get the club jumping in the process.

No Ties (Ft. King Monada)

Released as a single, this was an unlikely collaboration that actually worked. King Monada assists, offering a hook in true King Monada fashion, which employs the use of the Sesotho and TshiVenda languages, amid Hennessy and Ciroc shout-outs. This is a cut also geared towards the club scene although delivered in a more subtle and smooth approach. 

Me and You (Ft. Ricky Rick)

An understated love-song in which Tshego sings mostly in low-register, as he repeatedly assures his person of interest that it’s just them two. He is joined by Riky Rick who augments the sentiments shared in the song by delivering a verse dedicated to what one would call a ride-or-die chick. Riky asserts that “I did it all for her, I probably give it up all for her, there’s nothing to offer her, I am the one and I am all for her.”

With My Bro’s

Characterised by a heavy baseline, synths and 808s, this will surely serve as an anthem for the homies. Tshego celebrates working hard in the industry, “putting work on the road”, all the while doing it with his brothers. Even when he celebrates, “sipping Black and some Krone” he’s still “keeping it tight with” the bros. We all need a tight circle while on the climb, a crew to work with and celebrate with when the fruits of the toil ripen. This is their song.

Ubumnandi (Ft. Kwesta & BLACK. CASS)

It would be remiss if a boy from Mafikeng wouldn’t have that kasi flavour on his project, and who better than Kwesta to help in that front. A Kwaito-esque beat is the vehicle for this nostalgic cut lionizing the “good times” also known as “Ubumnandini”. BLACK. CASS is also featured on this one, lending an assist on the hook. Kwesta delivers a master class of his famed vernac raps, never short of intricate wordplay and internal rhyming.

On You (Ft. Tellaman)

This is the quintessential R&B song on the album. Tshego teams up with talented singer Tellaman to deliver yet another song where a lover is being assured loyalty and unwavering love and devotion. Tshego sings, “I’ll never change on you, but I’ll change for you, put a ring on you, a couple of things on you, but I’ll never change on you”, while Tellaman pledges his allegiance to his lover, and assures her that there is no question, despite the doubt that may have arouse in the past, that he wants her to be his spouse.

On God

Another high-tempo cut in which Tshego swears “on God” that he’ll stay true to his vision and grind hard without any distraction, though he admits that “if a bad bitch comes my way I might snatch it up”. Fused with braggadocio lyrics, this brings to light an artist who is very self-aware and confident in their abilities. He knows what it costs to be the boss in the game. He is committed to continuously working hard, in order to afford that kind of lifestyle and earn those bragging rights.

Together (Ft. Focalistic)

A potential steppers groove, Tshego, along with Focalistic, make light of indiscretions that occur in relationships on this one. Instead, they advocate for lovers to be steadfast and remain “together” despite the rumors, which are a consequence of the jealously felt by those who spread them. This has the potential to burn up the charts if released as a single later on.

Waves

It goes without saying, money is the engine that keeps all of us running. This is no different for Tshego as he declares, “I need money now, I need it like a drug”. Here he delivers a celebratory ode to money as a motivating factor to him for doing what he does, even his “mother knows”. What makes the pursuit for money even more meaningful is the fact that he didn’t always have it, as he reveals that he “came up from the mud”.

Playing (Ft. Thabsie)

The scorned man anthem of the album, this song finds Tshego in unfamiliar territory thus far. He is lamenting a failed relationship due to a lover who was unfaithful to him. He reveals that, “I always knew that you were playing, all it was is entertainment, falling for you that was dangerous”. Overcome with sadness and heartbreak, Thabsie joins in to give her perspective on a relationship that has devolved due to a lack of trust.

I Been Good

Almost on cue, as part 2 of “Playing”, Tshego lets an ex-lover know that he’s “been good” since their relationship on this one. He makes it a point to let her know that he has done all of the things that he used to tell her that he would. He is far better off now that he is no longer with her. He reflects, now with hindsight, on all that was wrong with their relationship while they were in it, ultimately feeling relieved that he is no longer with her.

The Touch (Interlude)/The Touch (Ft. Ricky Rick & Frank Casino)

An interlude serves as a pre-cursor to this star-studded cut that sees Riky Rick returning to deliver a second verse on the album, this time joined by Frank Casino. They creatively flex on how they all got that “touch”, that Midas touch, which turns everything they are involved in to gold, and as such, hits. Frank Casino is at his most comfortable on these kinds of trap beats, as he raps, “You know I got the Midas, bank account never on a minus, all my niggas eating they got the itis, 2020 vision with the pyrex”. 

You Don’t Have To

The album closer is a somber account of Tshego declaring that his muse “doesn’t have to go so far for love, or look so far for love”. The recurrent theme of Tshego offering himself to the subjects of his songs throughout the album is carried forth on this cut.

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