Much to many of his fans’ dismay, AKA has set free his latest offering for 2020. It comes in the form of an EP titled Bhovamania. The initial reaction is dominated by disappointment from those who had waited in anticipation. But is it that bad?
In an interview on Y, AKA expressed the story he set out to relay with the EP. It is inspired by his love for WWE wrestling. That means the execution is a big miss because this EP does not have the intended golden thread. Right from the intro, it bears no indication of that theme. But that explains the long skit at the end of the last track, AKA ft L-Tido, which is the only thing along the theme.
AKA is said to have had more of a hand on the production. Which means this is possibly the most AKA project he has dropped yet. And true to that is the flavour of the EP. The beats are good with a Kwaito tempo and a retro finish for most. He then compliments that with Kwaito and Afro Pop references through-out.
AKA kept to his slow-tempo rapping style with the pauses in between lines. This is a difficult thing to pull off as a song can easily sound dry and poorly delivered if the gaps don’t connect right. AKA himself suffered some of this with some of the verses coming to an abrupt end with a few bars left only to the beat heading into the hook on a few occasions. He still takes swings at catchy lines that make for good sing-alongs.
The three-pack he released earlier in the year has also made it into the EP. That’s Monuments, Energy and Cross My Heart. With those three, it took a while for them to land and garner appreciation for what AKA was going for.
AKA is big on pushing a South African sound through the use of samples. He has found a sound that works for him in that realm. What he did get wrong on the production is that he went overkill with sound effects. Some of the effects have poor placement and to reiterate the first point, they’re unnecessarily overdone.
He roped in a good list of features with appearances from the likes of Gemini Major, Moozlie, L-Tido. That’s on top the usual working relationship between him and Yanga Chief and K.O. Each time AKA and K.O are on a track together, they square off like they have a score to settle. They met again on Heavy Drank but that was not the case this time around.
To get an appreciation of Bhovamania, one has to take it in its stride as a pop album from a self-professed pop star. There is even an element of African pop to it which belongs quite well with the Kwaito nostalgia. The rapping on the EP is near dreadful. That would be understandable if the flow and delivery compensated but AKA was willing to experiment with those as well for what feels like a loose finish. A project reflects the artist’s frame of thought at the time of creation and you can tell here that Supa Mega was care-free.
Having taken a week to listen to the project, there was also the chance of seeing AKA perform some of the songs from the EP. From that you can see that he was aiming to leverage his stage presence as a performer. As for the body of work on its own, it may take some time to grow onto people much like some of the preceding singles, or it may be exhibit A in arguments of him having fallen off.