AKA & Anatii - Be Careful What You Wish For, 2017
Signed up the 06/06/2017Be Careful What You Wish For, an album by AKA & Anatii
The road to Be Careful What You Wish For has been an arduous one without a doubt. From hit collaborations, to creative and financial differences even diss songs, one would have thought we would never get this album. But lo and behold, Keirnan Forbes and Anathi Mnyango have put their differences aside and the result is a short, but spellbinding and almost miraculous musical experience, the likes of which we have never seen (or heard in this case).
From the onset I have to address the album’s one glaring flaw, the runtime. BCWYWF is 11 songs long, of which one is an interlude and 4 more are singles we have already heard (not to mention the fact that one of these aforementioned singles is nearly two years old). Five new songs on an album this highly anticipated is more than a little disappointing and while it’s not so much of a problem if you haven’t been following the single releases (highly unlikely) or if you are listening to the album a couple of years from now, in the year of our Lord 2017, you can’t help but be left wanting for more.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way on to the good news:
This album is immense. ‘Very good’ doesn’t do it justice. AKA and Anatii abandon their old tag team partners in Da LES and Cassper Nyovest respectively to take their place in the pantheon of great duos, earning a place next to the likes of Triple H & Shawn Michaels, Goku & Vegeta and peanut butter & jelly. The chemistry between the two is palpable and bleeds all over the songs on this record; both artists are producers as well as rappers and their attention to the details of the musicality gives BCWYWF a very unique sonic aesthetic.
Album opener Bryanston Drive takes cues from the kwaito-tinged production style Forbes has favoured on songs like The Baddest and The World Is Yours. He takes command of the song as he channels 24/7/366-era AKA with all of the polish of his 2017 self. The verses are introspective as AKA touches on his come up and takes a moment to reflect on his successes over a razor-sharp flow. Anatii, not to be outdone, lays down a smooth rendition of Boom Shaka’s it’s about time, with the throwback falling into the vibe of the song perfectly. Songs like 10 Fingers and How Do You Like Me Now ooze with Anatii’s signature production style; with steel drums and bright synths peppered over electric, melodic verses. Camps Bay 3 evokes visions of its namesake, the unmistakably African production setting the perfect backdrop for a vibey summer love song. Anglez on the other hand is a lot more aggressive, in the vein of Toronto-styled hip-hop characterized by simple hi-hats, hard snares beside harder kicks and pitch bent 808s. The beat bangs but isn’t all that different from what you’d hear from your average SoundCloud rapper. The performances on the other hand are probably the most memorable on the album. AKA raps his ass off on this one, with layered, multi-syllable rhyme schemes, well written melodies and dope lines like “Sunday morning it’s a vibe Wilson B Nkosi”. Anatii however is the star of the song, switching from Xhosa to English effortlessly and injecting energy though his use of melody and flow changes. What I like more than anything about the song is that AKA and Anatii take a beat that isn’t as forward thinking as the rest of the beats on the album, and rely solely on their execution to make the song a hit.
BCWYWF is more than a good album, it’s a great album. A little thin, but masterful in both its idea and its execution. The sound direction is like nothing I’ve ever heard both from our shores and from abroad and the performances Anatii and AKA deliver place them squarely atop the pantheon of greats right now. Be Careful What You Wish For might be permeated with religious imagery; from song titles, to lines in verses (and even the church scene in The Saga music video if you want to look that far back), but I don’t think I’ve ever heard gospel bang this hard.
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