The king of TrapHouseJazz is back. Masego's self titled album is possibly his most polished project to date in that it really exemplifies his essence as an artist. It flows smoothly and is full of charm. Though much less conceptual than his previous works, Masego still demonstrates his ability to make magic.
The production is diverse, kept cohesive by the melodies. Piano makes two lead appearances on the record. The enchanting keys on 'Black Anime' feel ballad-like and melodic whereas the piano on 'You Play With My Heart' feel reminiscent of an old soul. Tracks like 'What You Wanna Try' and 'Down In The Dumps' have a swing to it and while being lit up by hi-hats. The production is rich in variety and kept cohesive by the melodies. The way Masego's voice wraps around these beats is inexplicable. And of course, his iconic saxophone solos appear on the album, notably on 'Remembering Sundays'.
'Black Anime' interpolates the lyrics from 'Cha Cha Slide' by DJ Casper, aswell as sampling some percussive elements and the iconic "Cha cha real smooth," from the original classic. He samples his own backing vocals on 'What You Wanna Try' from 'I Had A Vision...' from his last LP, Lady Lady. The way they run through the production is simply mesmerising. Some of the lyrics are interpolated from Craig David's 'What's Your Flava?' as Masego echoes his chorus and the verse's melody is sampled from 'Tom's Diner' by Suzanne Vega.
On 'Black Anime' he makes a reference to Hayao Miyazaki, the director behind the Studio Ghibli films - "My life is an anime, young Miyazaki". 'Remembering Sundays' blasts us to the past - "Life has lemons, Lemony Snicket / Snickering at books under blankets", lemons are often used to describe when things go sour which is often the case in Lemony Snicket's novels for children called A Series Of Unfortunate Events. On 'Gemini (Two Sides)' he speaks on the duality of a Gemini, 'Two sides, choose your fighter', and he describes two different sides of himself in each verse. On the closing track, 'Eternal Sunshine (Fire Pit) he uses a simile 'Like a lava lamp, they gon' make me dance', the lava in the lamps flows freely, dancing with fluidity.
Overall, Masego's latest effort reaffirms his ability to make outstanding works of art. He is an expert when it comes to blending genres, it never sounds like a combination. He melts the elements smoothly enough for it to simply sound like a genre of it's own.
Written by Kat Friar