"I'm a lady, so what - do I need to strip to earn a buck?" says Shameema on "Dissfunkshin", a breathlessly ironic commentary on male dominated and brainless mainstream USA rap culture.
Spillage is slick and crafted, but never bland. The songs explore issues of femininity, self discovery, spirituality and South African culture. At times it's disturbing. Is that a groan I hear? Not at all, Godessa aren't hairy-legged complainers! They're trendy, desirable women who challenge the status quo, and who glory in their intelligence. Their pride is sexy - but they don't lie back and accept their sexist lot. Instead they protest with joyous, energetic music that'll make you smile. One big disappointment lies in store for long time fans of the outfit: the failure to include the awesome hit track, Social Ills - [listen to it], with its infectious, bouncy riff, on this debut album. Sure, that track did appear on various other records - Godessa are probably sick of it. And sure, the song is full of digs at commercial brands like Levi's, who ironically are now Godessa's sponsor. But it is also the best track they've done to date, and it belongs on their debut, even if only as a hidden track, and even if they've changed labels from African Dope to High Voltage.
Speaking of commercialism, some production decisions break the flow from one track to another. Take "These times". It's interesting and inspiring (and a spot-on comment on how unfashionable it is to be African on the Cape Flats!). It's good art/spoken word. But do you really want to have to concentrate and listen to an inspiring political monologue, just as you're getting into your groove?
On the plus side, plenty of jolling tracks like the single "Mindz Ablaze", with its swaying choruses and beautifully rapped verse, more than make up for the album's few flaws.
Godessa's persistence, and their work touring in SA and Europe, is paying off. They're hot, tight, and clever. They'll move not just your emotions, but the dancefloor too.
* Once strictly all-girl, Godessa's hot backing band now includes bassist/overall producer Grenville Williams (of Nine) and drummer Sean Ou Tim (of Max Normal), among other top SA musos.
- Jean Barker
WHAT OTHER CRITICS SAIDTheir debut album may not have their huge single, 'Social Ills' on it, but it makes up for this with 13 brilliant tracks- Daniel Friedman for Jo'burg live
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