9 months down into 2019 and it can be safely that said that hip hop in South Africa has seen better years. Something must have happened in the air that led to the combos struggling to communicate. Needless to say, out of all the material that I have heard over the past few months, there was one album that kept getting spins from me: YoungstaCPT’s 3T (Things Take Time).
After 30 mixtapes, Riyadh Roberts decided that one of the ways from him to Own 2019 is to finally release to the masses his debut album. Why so long, though? [insert ‘things take time’ joke here]
Voice of the Cape
The album starts off with the adhan call of prayer, cars rolling up and down the streets and a hawker announcing the goods he has for sale – something that one would hear on the regular in the Wynberg, Cape Town streets. From there, a candid conversation is held between Youngsta and his brasse.
One would think it would be a regular chat of homies talking shit and whatnot, but it goes deeper than that.
One by one, they lament the current situation that belies the average Capetonian that lives their everyday life in the Cape Flats and surrounding areas. Especially in these times where a wave of violence is sweeping across those blocks so bad that military intervention was required (again).. They appreciate that Youngsta is trying to go against the grain. Especially when the younger generation look up to him for that.
He must have also realized the responsibility that has been bestowed upon him. He’s not just a rapper, he is the representation of what it is to be a Coloured person in South Ahh. Especially a Coloured person from the Cape, who feel they are being marginalised from the general discussions that take place in the country.
Granted, AKA and Shane Eagle are his skinfolk, but they are based inland and are seem more favoured toward black culture. YoungstaCPT is basically the notable delegate for the Kaapse rap faction for the current SA rap generation. Before him, there were Cream, Issac Mutant, Jitsvinger and the late Jaak and Mr Devious. Before them, Brasse Vannie Kaap & Godessa. Before them, Prophets of Da City and Black Noise.
I’m the voice of the voiceless
I will never be a disappointment
Or poison but rather be the ointment
Appointed to started a revolution
With positive contributions and find new solutions for the youth
This album is quite thicc, especially in the current way music is consumed. Over the span of 22 tracks that have a variety of topics for Youngsta to wax lyrical on. Here goes a summary of some of them:
- his family tree and all the mannerisms of the branches on “YAATIE” and “La Familia”
- a walking tour on the happenings in the Cape streets in “786″ and “Cape of Good Hope”
- his experiences of being Muslim in “(CA) Crazy Arabian”
- the consequences of misguided youth in “Tik Generation” and “Pallet Gun”
- an ode to the mothers and baby mothers for “Mothers’ Child”
- owning his identity as Coloured person on “Kleuring” and “GHAM”
I would mention some more, but I don’t believe in spoiler alerts.
West(ern) Cape. West Side.
Man wasn’t joking when he said that he feels like he grew up in Compton. One can definitely hear it and it can be identified in two ways. The first way is through the production: It’s a trip because there were many production cooks that were stirring up this pot. 15 to be exact. Whether its the G-funk inspired synths, hard hitting 808 drums, the groovy basslines or the tinkling piano keys, 3T does not slouch on the soundbeds; can’t sleep on these.
If you are a visual person, picture this: its a sunny November afternoon in Cape Town. You are taking the scenic route — a young cruise down Marine Drive to the city centre. The weather is agreeing, the mountain, the waterfront and Atlantic seas are your foreground. Looks nice, right? Now, add 3T as the background music. Now, you have a good memory.
The second way is through telling a story being told. With his family as the supporting cast. Recordings of chats that Youngsta had with his grandfather, Boeta Shaakie Roberts, span from his life experiences to his views on the shortcomings of the previous and current South African regimes. Some might feel there are similarities between 3T and Compton based Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, M.A.A.D city. GKMC is more of a story whereas 3T is a conversation. A conversation that focuses on what’s wrong with the world but has a sliver of hope that it can get better.
The only issue is that this project might be slept on. If 3T becomes a audio pillow, it’s because of him being more technical than your average rapper rather than him being from Cape Town. Releasing new singles could prevent that from happening. It also helps that he also released visually engaging videos to go with the singles as you have seen in this post.
3T is critically acclaimed so if Youngsta decides to submit it for the 2020 South African Music Awards….and I have said too much
Fire Tracks: VOC, Yaatie, YVR, The Cape of Good Hope, Kleurling, Old Kaapie, Crazy Arabian, 786, Pallet Gun, 1000 Mistakes, GHAM, Just Be Lekker