Tuesday, December 11, 2007


By Nick Kaoma

Hip Hop Pantsula – Jabba to his brethren; Jabulani Tsambo to his parents; HHP to everybody else – is undoubtedly one of Mzansi’s favourite sons. If you require proof in that regard, look no further than the fact that despite his chubby demeanour, he was able to waltz his way into million’s of people’s hearts as he walked away with the first prize in the phenomenally popular Strictly Come Dancing reality TV show.

As for the music, Jabba has been at the forefront of the Motswako movement, a unique and refreshing subgenre of local hip hop, alongside acts such as Morafe and Tuks. Discovered in the late nineties by the influential Chicco Twala, the Mafikeng native quickly rose to stardom with his catchy and fresh Tswana rhymes. Ten years later, he boasts a catalogue so peerless that it has propelled him to internationals stages as well as headlining roles at prestigious gigs such as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and Oppikoppi Festival. Hits such as “Mafikeng”, “Jabba” and “Harambe” have endeared him to many fans and instigated a bit of a cult following.

After touring incessantly in 2006/7, Jabba went back to the studio to record his 5th album, “Acceptance Speech”. Knowing that the expectations were high as always, the hardest working man in the music business assembled an enviable team of producers that include Magic Keys, Don Juan, Ross the ProduSIR and industry stalwart Amu.

Without wasting too much time on endless rhetoric, note from the get go that “Acceptance Speech” is Jabba’s finest album to date. The set features joints such as “Chic Music”, “Akhonto” and “Jiva”, catchy dance tracks that have become his staple – I can easily see him grooving and getting down to one of these tracks at his concerts in that mesmerizing style of his.

But partying is not the only issue on Jabba’s agenda; as he proved with the massively popular “Harambe”, HHP does have a conscious/socially aware side to his personality which he again shows off on this album on tracks such as “Darfur” and “Hell Pon Me”. The former, which is produced by Don Juan and features a Fegee O Seco sample, is a soul-stirring cut that will leave you moved with its gritty and honest narrative. Tumi, who spits a guest verse on the track, leaves an indelible mark with lines such as “200 000 more killed/ Africa gets darker with every discovered oil field”.

The brilliantly sequenced album boats a number of other highlights such as the lead single “Music N Lights”, “Wave Your Glasses” and “Ke Tswa Hole”, which features Joburg swagger boys Teargas.

However, there’s one track that steals the show completely (at least in my opinion) and that is the last cut, “Ra Di Busa”. For those who know their kwaito history well, you’ll immediately notice upon hearing that track that the song features a solid sample of Thebe’s ol’ skool hit “Ra Di Busa”. Who doesn’t remember that track? It came at a time when we were all smitten with kwaito in a bad way and “Ra di busa” was that joint that everybody and their grannies got down to. Amu, the master sampler, ingeniously takes the foundation of that track and adds a couple of easily recognizable hip hop elements and in the process creates one of the best hybrids of kwaito and hip hop that I have ever heard. Jabba, sounding extremely excited at the prospect of killing a track that features such a classic sample, rhymes his ass off. He is accompanied by the new hip hop sensation F-Eezy who drops crazy lines like “We record in hospitals just to prove that we’re sick kids”.

Overall, this album is as solid as anything you’ll find in your favourite mall’s music store. Jabba has officially done it again. If this album doesn’t sell pass the platinum mark, I’ll literally get Thabo Mbeki (or Jacob Zuma depending on who’s president at the time) to launch an Encore Commission of Enquiry. So y’all Support Jabba and get this dope album!

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