One listen to an album isn’t enough to conclude all its merits and demerits, but Thuto sounds fresh. This is the first time I’m listening to a Nyovest album in its entirety. His previous two disappointed me. Both were scattered messes that had no specific direction, and I stopped halfway through.
But not Thuto. The album is essentially divided into two parts. On the first half, you hardly ever hear a hard-hitting 808 – it’s mostly keys, warm basslines and crisp snares and kicks. Think of his previous songs like “Cold Hearted” and “I Hope You Bought It”.
The rapper lays his vulnerabilities bare. The opening track “Confused”, which features American soul singer Goapele, is heavy. Here’s an excerpt:
“But I won’t lie, man, success has its downfall/
The new nigga will always excite the crowd more/
Like I ain’t given’em enough stats to vouch for/
The music about the only thing that I’m proud of/
The other day my mom told me that she suicidal/
The same soldier who told me to read the Bible.
I’m really tired of hearing bad news/
Especially about black dudes/
Man, I don’t care about who left who/
Everybody is going through some real shit on their own bro/
We all got demons we don’t show”
On “I Wasn’t Ready For You”, Nyovest speaks of a past relationship that went wrong (watch the tabloids tell you who this song’s about). On the song the rapper talks about how he disappointed the woman in question, and blames entirely on himself: “I look myself in the mirro, like ‘Dawg, what happened to you?/ You told this woman you loved her, and you promised her joy/ She just needed a man, you behaved like a boy.”
Content-wise, Cassper is just basking in his success (“We Living Good”, “Bentley Coupe”, “Top Shayela”, “Ngiyekeleni”), doing some introspection (“Destiny”, “Confused”) and being inspirational (“Push Through The Pain”). “Superman” is a heartfelt song about his dad, featuring Lesotho legend, Tsepo Tshola. You might shed a thug tear to it.
Thuto shows some growth on the rapper’s side. His beat selection is impressive, and he keeps the features to a minimum unlike on his previous efforts. The American singer Goapele’s appearances, on “Confused” and “Destiny”, are the most impressive. The Roots’ Black Thought’s verse on “Ng’yekeleni” is also dope (“I’m headed to Africa, call Cassper/ Shit, this ain’t a regular broadcaster/ See, all I been getting is more nasty/ And then I pull up in a cold Aston”). It was so refreshing hearing him rap over a trap banger and sounding comfortable – this man knows how to structure his bars.
“Baby Girl”, a song which samples Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s “Dilemma” is for the dancefloor, and brings out the pantsula side of Cassper, as it has a house and dance element, with a catchy mid-tempo rhythm. It sits well with other ratchet songs like “Tito Mbowen”, “Nyuku”, “Ng’yekeleni” and “Touch The Sky”.
Long story short, Cass was right when he said this album was his best. It’s too early to really judge it or declare it a classic, but one thing is for sure, Thuto is a great effort that deserves a place in your collection, or at least a chance.
You are guaranteed Instagram caption-worthy quotables. Sha sha!
Holding image: Sabelo Mkhabela