Last week Friday, Da L.E.S released F2D Presents: Hall of Fame, a surprise compilation album showcasing artists signed to his Fresh 2 Def imprint and its partner labels Young Legend Music (owned by Yanga) and Rudebuoy Major (owned by Gemini Major). And it’s bananas! – with features from industry heavyweights like L-Tido, Maggz and NoMoozle.
It’s on joints like “One for the Team”, “Saucing”, “Wagwan”, “Can’t You Tell”, “One Night Stand”, “Dungeons” that Gemini Major’s unique ragga vocals and production make the album an even greater listen. He gives the project a refreshing twist, which makes it stand out from the standard autotuned hooks you hear on every mainstream hip-hop song.
Da L.E.S did a great job recruiting Gemini who was, up until a few weeks ago, signed to Cassper Nyovest’s Family Tree. The Malawian-born artist is the hottest new artist at the moment, having produced and featured on massive hits like Nasty C’s “Juice Back”, Aewon Wolf’s “Walking and Dabbing”, Riky Rick’s “Sidl ‘ukotini”, among others.
All the artists on the album bring it. Da L.E.S himself makes a great contribution through hooks and verses, and his personality is infectious, as the album maintains the same happy aura Da L.E.S is known for, throughout. NoMoozlie drops charismatic verses on two songs. The song “Baddest on the Planet” was nostalgic for me – hearing Maggz, L-Tido and Da L.E.S on one song took me back to the late 2000s, when Jozi and Glitz Gang were the frontrunners of new school rap. Yanga also brings his street-centric raps. Stunt Double’s laidback rhyming and singing also works.
F2D Presents: Hall of Fame is a solid offering – the production is impressive. The basslines bang throughout, and a selection of synths and pads and different rhythms make the production varied.
I just can’t get over songs like “Water Under Bridges”, “Baddest on the Planet”, “Yeah”, “One for the Team”, “One Night Stand”, “Now You See Me”, “Dumb it Down”, “Late Nights”… that’s like half of the album!
With such a roster, Fresh 2 Def has one of the most solid set of artists in the game at the moment, especially considering how labels seem to be in turmoil in South Africa.
The concept of artist running labels has been in question for a long time, after labels like Cashtime Life and Motif Records collapsed. We can only wait and see, because, in the words of Gemini Major on “Wagwan,” North God got the answers.
Listen to the album below or grab a copy on iTunes.