Prophets of Da City - Ghetto Code
With this their 6th official album and first for over two years, the Prophets have made one major change. In what must have taken much soul searching and thought, they have changed their name to Prophets of 'Da' City (from of 'the' city). Their music on the other hand is the usual Kaapse Hip-Hop/Rap that they have been doing so well right throughout their exciting careers. As with most 'Prophets', they have been largely unheard in their own land except by the young and wise who recognise revolutionary talent when it bangs them in their ears. Hip Hop is not everyone's cup of rooibos due to its apparent tunelessness and shouted macho ravings. Yeah well they said that about Punk in the 70s and Rock and Roll in the 50s so what do 'They' know. Well the NME knew back in 1994 when they awarded the POC single 'Never Again' their prestigious Single of the Week slot and deservedly so, the first such award to a South African artist/group in recent memory.
The new album "Ghetto Code"'s first single 'Wild Stylez' sounds like it could easily repeat that feat, it is that good ! "I've got so much styles on my mind, I just can't lose" is the catchy chorus line sung over a short, sharp sax piece that leaves you waiting patiently for it to come around again.
The album as a whole ploughs the usual POC furrow of heavy Bass with accompanying eclectic musical samplings. The lyrics are the Hip Hop Gangsta patois, lean, mean and assertive. Everyone chips in with a word or a yeah here and there giving the whole album more of a live album feel with the crowd noises removed. The opening 'Intro' sets the tone with a chorused rap of intent leading into the Public Enemyish 'Heyta Da' and the groovy 'The Roof is on Fire'. 'Roots Resurrected' is the POC's tribute to SA Township Jazz with a cool guitar and female chorus in the backround which sounds like a young township rapper jumped on stage with the shebeen band and slung off this low cool lyric. Then its back to the Cape Flats for some rough talk. 'I remember District 6' is a stream of consciousness rap about the old days "I remember District 6, the laughter of the adults and kids".
'Planet Cape Town' is a speedy, scratchy instrumental and 'Cape Crusader' finishes off the album on a slow languid sax-driven riff with a state-of -the-POC nation 'discussion'.
All things considered, this is a strong and confident album from a group that can only go from strength to strength with albums of this quality. Echoes Magazine call POC "...the only group to be banned in the OLD and NEW South Africa"; Rap Pages USA prophetically proclaim "...It wouldn't surprise me if one day they win a Grammy", the world is waking up to the Prophets of Da City, we in South Africa should be listening to our own prophets !
Stephen Segerman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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