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Cape of Good Dope (Various)
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© June 2003 Mustafa Maluka for Africanhiphop.com

Welcome to my home/don't mind the mess/I made it myself

This19 track compilation takes you on an aural journey through the most experimental hip-hop to have emerged out of the Cape Town in a long time. The compilation, a mixed pot of urban stew, is a good gauge of the distance hip-hop has traveled in Cape Town, from its roots in the streets of the Townships on the Cape Flats to the city center. As the parties that made this kind of collaboration possible, it is truly a meeting of two tribes. Tribes made up of the mainly black underground hip-hop scene and the inner city club culture with its racially mixed, new South Africa generation staking their claim. This is some head-nodding, chill-out music. The lyrics switch eloquently between English, Afrikaans, Zulu, and Xhosa with various hybrids never before heard on record emerging. The biggest surprise for me was the MC Yang Weapon who paints surreal worlds with his multi-lingual lyrics. On the track Crypticism, he takes on the alter ego of “the man who never came back”, and on Nyama he talks of his love and hunger for hip-hop. We see another side of EJ Von Lyric, one third of the female group Godessa on the ragga track Rise Up. The sister shows us her versatility by dropping one of the illest delivered verses on the compilation:

Be ful-ly conscious of the wickedness that them impose'oh
Nutty Rise up never let them come close
Babaylon's got the sickest thoughts so no worry pose-zo
Just do yourself any way that you choose
In this age we are struggling for deliverence
Caught up in a vicious system ripping innocence
Time's of the essence and the situation's serious,
Nutty dread, aint no time to act devious
So remember what you represent
and bout who you'me you said
To make evil men bend and repent
Then ensure you earn
The knowledge that you learn
Apply it ritiously so they fire goh'an burn
Black man
We know them are wicked can't fe test this
But nutty now blessed
Na give the wicked stress'eh
Hey dreadlock man inna rise inna de place
Nutty rise up
Feel the power
Now he just
Block, block (echo…)

MC D-Form of the group Moodphase5ive, shines on three tracks in total. D-form drops his usual flavour on Moodphase5ive's funk infused track Vital, and delivers an ode to the power of the tycoon suit on the track Gigilo Lounge. On the Dj Dope produced Neon Don, the MC takes on the alter ego of Neon Don, a Bollywood break-dancer headspinning in hairgrease. On this mad funny track Neon Don, with his PhD in Shittalkology, gives us a lesson for free. He starts off the track by attempting to suck up milk through his nose and squirting it through his eyes. Later he spits: “Rapping is my day job/ yet I make less money/ than a paraplegic retard/ at wrong set of traffic lights…”, conjuring up images of someone begging money at a traffic light in a city far away. The production on this compilation is really mixed with producers who have their roots in different musical backgrounds. Residue from the city's local drum and base scene is visible on a few tracks. One producer who stand out is Sibot. On the track Klone Gardening he uses his background as a turntablist to construct an architectural beat that float through your ears. Trying to catch the beat is like fishing in a river with your bare hands. The last time I heard something like this was when Prophets of da City dropped the track Oowie Goowie on Boomstyle in 1991.

The only down side to the compilation is that in a city like Cape Town, with a thriving hip-hop scene where MC's like Mr. Devious walk the streets without a record deal while making waves on the International underground scene, why was there space for eight instrumental tracks? Don't get me wrong, the instrumentals are dope, great production etc. but why? They could have been Twice as Dope with an MC on them. I have to give the label major respect for at least having the bravery to come out with the kind of music that mainstream South African labels seems to get severe allergic reactions to. Overall, I think Cape of Good Dope is a really Dope Compilation with enough on there for everyone. Go and buy it now. Maybe next time the compilers will add a few more MC's. I can't wait for part two.
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