AKA | Congratulate

Some time in March this year (2014), AKA released his hit track ‘Congratulate‘. It’s a hip hop/rap track that talks about his come-up, then goes into celebration of his success. Success indeed, because this chuuune debuted at number 1 on the iTunes South Africa chart! I couldn’t help myself, I just had to do a review of it. Sit back and enjoy your read. šŸ™‚

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photo credit rapgenius.com

First off, can I just say SALUTE AND DAPS to the producer or the genius behind this awesome production!Ā Tazzy van Muzart. You are a bad man! (In the best of ways, of course). šŸ˜€ …The track begins with a sample of Harrison Crump’s ‘Ride‘. An electric piano chord progression plays along with the sample and a few bars in, we are introduced to the kick. The kick brings in a snare/clap that’s an absolute neck-snapper, along with what sounds to me like a modulated synth bass. This, ladies and gentlemen is what makes this track so awesome. The bassline is EVERYTHING! Plus I’m a certified bass junkie.

On the hook, we’re introduced to a sort of woodwind instrument (not sure; Tazzy if you’re reading this you can let me know yeh?) but it sounds great. In verse 2, the awesome bassline is outed, but the remaining instruments are enough to keep my attention. I don’t miss the bass for too long because it shines through again in the second hook.

Verse 3. This, I’m afraid is the part where I lose interest. If you pay attention, you’ll notice significant elements of the instrumentation missing. Right after the perfect syncopation between the bass and the kick in the preceding hook, there’s an abrupt change in the arrangement without much of a warning. It would have been nice to have a cool transitional element to introduce this change but hey. So no kick, no bass, just a snare/clap and the electric piano and other subtle instruments playing now. I feel like there was a big energy drop. Am I the only one that felt like I was left hanging? The intent was probably to have the song rise slowly in the start, reach it’s peak halfway, and then slide smoothly back down again but for me it was too abrupt. I’d have loved for the more rhythmic part to come through at the end again. Overall though, this beat is a banger!

We’ve come to expect lyrical genius when it’s AKA on a track and he does well not to disappoint on this one. The track starts with him telling us the story of his come-up. He raps about some of the things he had to go through to achieve success, with some clever wordplay that alludes to his first mixtape and how you can now catch him on MTV Base. He also celebrates the fact that he was on that Morvite (cheap porridge brand) but now he’s living that champagne life. Execution and delivery is on point.

On the bridge, AKA rolls out some nice vocals. There’s some vocal treatment, but that doesn’t hide the fact that he has a nice singing voice. The hook comes right after this and if you really listen, you’ll notice that it isn’t AKA’s voice any more. Yes, ladies and gents, that’s J.R on the hook. Remember him from the track “Make The Circle Bigger”? If you don’t, you can’t sit with us. :p

Later on in verse 2 J.R comes back at the point where there is a call and response going on. AKA calls “Aw’Bula Boot” and J.R responds in the same way. “J.C le Roux” … “Aw bona!” and they go on calling and responding until the end of the verse. It’s what I call a hook within a verse and it sounds superb! I think that’s one of the reasons this song is so good; hooks are plenty so your attention is kept and enjoyment stays on a high. This of course is only until the end of the second hook because from then on we head downhill.

Lyrics on verse 3 didn’t really compensate for the energy drop in the instrumental. Not much I can say about the verse. Really it gives me no energy to do so. The song closes with the bridge and hook. The mood is almost like this car was doing just fine until it ran out of gas and couldn’t go any further. I believe the tempo was slowed. I would have done that differently.

Can’t help thinking how this beat reminds me of a Camp Mulla beat. I think it’s the electric piano chord progression and general groove of the song. Anyway, chuuune or just chune? What do you guys think?

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