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Cassper Nyovest: AMN Album Review

  Jointz   2020/09/14

 


Straight from the Family Tree stable comes the much-awaited album of event-headliner, Cassper Nyovest. Titled AMN, it is easy for one to mistakenly call it Amen but the acronym stands for Any Minute Now. Not being stingy with the music, Cassper made this one lengthy at 21 tracks in total. That's 20 songs and only one skit. Jointz did a track-by-track breakdown of the hour-and-a-half long project.


Hlengiwe

The album opens with a solo gospel piece by Zola 7. He starts by dedicating the song to Nyovest before breaking into song. His singing is soothing. He sings with comfort and familiarity, its graceful. He doesn't hold back on this hymn. 

To Whom It May Concern

The transition here is clean, you'd think your'e still on the same track if you aren't paying attention. The beat keeps the same melody as Zola's singing on the intro. Very minimal with some strings and kicks with a reverb. Nyovest has a lot to get off his chest. With all the success that has come his way, a lot of betrayal made sure to accompany it. But weighing heavy on his heart is the rift between him and former collaborator Ricky Rick. Cassper's delivery suffers when he has a lot to get off. Or maybe that's a way to present his emotions in a raw format.

1 of 1 

A beautiful boombap beat with piano keys dominating the melodies in unison with a soft bass progression. Cass' delivery is not as clean as it could be. He is still trying to get recognition as a lyricist. The rapping here is more refined than what we heard in To Whom It May Concern. Cass' is still addressing the adversity and betrayal he constantly deals with. 

Thoughts

First thing you notice is the beautiful transition from the previous track. Cassper brings the tempo down and reflects some more on the daggers still stuck to his back. He relays well how drained he is by all of it. To a point where thoughts of taking his own life have made a home in his head. The jazzy beat pauses for a trumpet solo in the middle, making way for Boogie to come in with a sick flow. Cass' picks the flow up in what feels like a perfect relay. Still drained of all his energy. The trumpet solo leads the song out with a dude wailing in the background.

Loco

At this point the great production stands out. The beat here has a classic feel to it. Its a moment of glory. Cass is noting how crazy it is getting some of the comments he gets, even from people that don't even know him. Journos harassing his mom, comments on him not having a Matric. Many people are hoping for his downfall. It's a feeling he puts across a lot on the album. Ungrateful niggas and Hip Hop critics get the final shot sent their way. "I can't take that shit". Great track.

India

A break up song. Cass starts out by singing with a flanged effect over slow piano keys and trumpet on the chorus. This is before laying down to the baby mama that it's over and he will be pursuing an interest in someone else. The honesty of it is bold to say the least. He acknowledges the damage he has dealt before by not being honest. So really, being honest is the more thoughtful option to go for. Matters of the heart are never easy.


Friday Night

Friday night is a sample of the legendary Brenda Fassie' Weekend Special. They do a cover of the original chorus as an intro, with a switch of course. Samthing starts things off with his unique voice on the chorus. It's a short and soft.  Cassper comes in with a single verse to speak of an evasive love interest.

How Does It Feel

Okay, how much better can the production get here!? How Does It Feel is a classic slow jam. Cass does some whisper singing agonising over how he just can't forget a certain someone. He handles the singing quite well. Then in classic slow jam style, Langa Mavuso takes the song to its climax with his strong vocals. Just as seamlessly as he took it there, he brings it back down and whispers it out. It further highlights Cassper's great choice in choosing collaborators. 

Egyptian Cotton

Fuck it man. The arrangement here is A grade. The first verse is a flex. Luxury raps exceptionally executed. The chorus by Anthony Hamilton is beautiful. It's minimal and not overpowering. Second verse starts off with acknowledging family and the new baby soon to come. Cass is real with himself and his responsibilities. With that handled, he gets back to the luxury. SA luxury brands to be specific.

Nobody Knows

The mood picks up. Cassper's artistry is worth noting. He's poetic in how he talks about the plight of being black, the dangers that come with it. Not ending his verse on that note, he brings up the pride of being black. Bas is on the second verse with a verse almost as good as Cassper's. The beat makes way for YoungstaCPT to deliver the third verse. Vivid as always with the pictures he paints. 

Ngwanesu

The incorrect spelling in the title here is upsetting. Anyway, Samthing Soweto comes back to grace this trap joint. He finds his way perfect in this slow terrain. Cassper's verse starts off sloppy and shaky. Almost putting a dent in how he has fared up to this point. Pride in where we come from is what we're all about. We come from a blessed land. Samthing Soweto brings it home to a close beautifully with a reprise about paper money.

Nokuthula

The preceding trap sound was making way for this UK Drill bop. Cass keeps it true to the South African context. The track features the number one rapper in the world, Busiswa. This will definitely be a club banger once clubs are opened for banging

Amademoni

The UK Drill continues. Nyovest worked with Tweezy to put this out as a single in early 2020. There were mixed reactions to this one when it dropped. Nothing stands out with it other than they managed to pull off a specific sound. It's one for the clubs.

Hypnotize

The 808 are still banging but they've toned down a few notches. Cass is boasting about being with a 10 that's hypnotising anyone looking in her direction. It's a Naughty song. The chorus doesn't land well and the verses from Cass and Nadia are lukewarm. 

Ses'fikile

There are few tracks that borrow from SA classics on AMN. The borrowing is done nicely. Ses'fikile pays homage to TKZee' Phalafala on the chorus, delivered to us by Phantom Steeze. Making his presence felt in the neighbourhood, shitting on their existence with his flex. Like the previous track, it's more laid back and less serious than how the album started.

Isinkwa

Isinkwa features the late rap legend Pro on the chorus(R.I.P). Cassper plays with his cadence on the two verses. It's hard to ignore how he pays too much attention to "the haters". He's less direct about addressing the hate and opts to take a more general angle. He notes his achievements and how he had to take his spot in the game by force. 

Celebrate

This is the type of number that brings a show to a close after a successful night. You'd be forgiven for thinking its the outro to the album. It's a slow tempo beat with subtle piano keys and Cass gives it a flow to match. It gets sentimental as he reflects on the hardships he ran into along the way. In the second verse he opens up about coming to terms with his mother ageing and lifts his mood by noting there is a lot to celebrate, like the beginning of a new life. It's a song about celebrating life in general. The melodies by the African Gospel Singers at the end put a theatrical touch to it.

Bonginkosi

Zola 7 makes another appearance on yet another Gospel song. This time maybe not as graceful as the first time around. But this could be an avenue he will be going down in future. It has two short verses with Zola taking the first one giving some words of wisdom. His maturity translates well into his words.  

Good For That

Good for that is one of the earlier singles that saw the light even before the album was announced. The beat is in between trap and UK Drill. Cassper does some mumbling and tops it up with a melodic blend with sound effects on the chorus. The two verses are some of the cleanest rapping he does on the album. Talking big figures and expensive things.

Nyuku Remix

This is the remix of Nyuku from Cassper's album, Thuto. On here Cass unleashes Maftown Motswako heavyweights to do their thing on the mic. He collaborated with originators Khuli Chana, Mo Molemi, Towdee Mac. He roped in Tuks and got a great verse from HHP, with DJ Lemonka behind the scenes. Mafikeng stand up!! It's rough territories, filled with boNgwanaka. You get robbed if you're caught slipping. We get a full display of Motswako and its signature wordplay from the best to ever do it. A-game was brought to the studio when this was recorded. The only person caught slipping is Molemi, who really under delivered on his verse. Alas, we walk on by. The chant at the end makes it obvious if you had any doubts that this is a tribute to the art of Motswako. It puts an end to the album on a high note.

Cassper put out an album that shows not only how versatile he can get but one that highlights the extent of his growth musically as well. It was worth the time he took to bring it to light. The music is good, no doubt. The length comes into question given that some of the tracks have the same message and feel. Some could've fell out. 

Cassper goes through a range of emotions on AMN, managing to cater to different appetites while keeping it all centered. He made the best placements for his selection of features. He may not tick all the technical boxes but his music making ability is on a level of its own. Even though its such a lengthy project, it doesn't easily lose the listeners attention. It still feels like the title bearing similar phonetics with Amen has to do with the sprinkle of gospel from Mzolisto.