HHP - Dumela

2009-12-07 10:54
HHP - Dumela
The first thing you notice about Dumela is that it comes in double-disc format – a first for an official SA hip hop album. The second thing you notice is that it’s actually two albums in one. HHP takes the “Double” concept further, here, splitting up the album thematically and musically into a ‘Hip Hop’ and ‘Pantsula’ CD – essentially breaking his acronym (name) apart and bringing the halves of it to life on their own. And it’s an interesting take on his abilities since Motswako – the Sestswana vernac-rap subgenre of which he’s noted as an early pioneer – has always bumped precariously between the pan-Afro-American swagga of Hip Hop, and the local street-corner wisdom and jive of kwaito.

So, in a way, HHP brings it out here and says, yes – he’s both and neither – throw him to either side and he’s ready, willing and able. The ‘Hip Hop CD’ kicks off with “Ancestors”, a soft, mellow, horn-driven Mizi beat which has HHP waxing lyrical about the importance of origins. It’s pretty solid, but there’s nothing that jumps out at you. That’s not to say that’s what they were going for here, the song makes its meditative intentions clear, but still, it feels like it ends up a step short from its destination. Likewise with the following song “Keledimo” – his much hyped ‘collabo’ with Nas that’s effectively the first SA rap song to feature a mainstream US hip hop artist. Nas drops a hot verse and Jabba hold his own down, but again, something seems amiss, here. There’s something about the slow, run-of-the-mill, mello-motswako beat that takes away from the momentousness of the collabo and Nas, despite spitting the vivid, virtuoso lyricism he’s known for, sounds distant – literally and figuratively – and any presence of chemistry between the two rappers sounds stretched and strained.

By the time we get to “Boogie Down” it seems like the tone in the ‘Hip Hop CD’ doesn’t change much: it shifts from mellow contemplative music to mellow party music and back again. Not a bad thing per se, but the consistent lack of variation takes away from the impact of the tracks. The songs start sounding the same and not only that, there’s also a palpable absence of that urgency and energy – that rawness, that ferocity that rap knocks with. This here’s a bit too un-daring, too calm; it only makes a few exceptions: the electric-guitar twisted “Daraja” with Nazizi; the pleasant and poppy “Kea Popa” with Notshi and Elemente and "Respect"and then settles into a single mood.

The second CD – ‘Pantsula’ – stands at the opposite corner, though. It’s a swerving lo-fi jam of kwaito, house, Guz (yes, the TKZee variety) Motswako and adult-contemporary (but not too much of this – one or two) throwbacks re-mastered to a perfect tee, with a little 2009 electro-house thrown in. HHP really excels here and the production is varied, well thought out, fresh and hard hitting. The featured guests – Maxhoba, Howza, and JR (amongst others) also bring their A-game. From “Dankie Siyabonga” to “Platinum Visa” to “Show Dem” to “Akhonto” to “Killowatt” the ‘Pantsula CD’ manages to tread the line between being nostalgic and current, double H sounds extremely confident and natural, handling this really well. Even more so, in fact, than the ‘Hip Hop CD’ with the Nas feature.

Maybe he should have saved the Hip Hop disc for a later release - he could have ran away with this one, if he'd kept it strictly Panstula.

Dumela is HHP’s most ambitious album yet. Not only is it a double–disc concept album, it also features legendary hip hop veteran Nas.
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NeutralMan 2009/12/08 10:32 AM
Great review... I felt the exact same with the hip hop disc... I still have to listen to the pantsula disc...
Tshepiso "Kin' Ike Bester" Morakile 2009/12/15 3:26 PM
I fully agree with the review and have to say, Notshi and Elemente saved the HIP HOP disc with "Kea Popa", Rraggo Mmaggo is also a nice melodical track, Daraja makes one thinks that there's little difference between Setswana and Swahili, dope track. Danki Siyabonga is my personal favourite on the Pantsula Album.All in all Dumela will be a timeless album.
Mmoki 2009/12/15 5:36 PM
This is Jabba's best work 2 date. This album is for the hip heads. Something about the Hiphop disc is that, it was never meant to be mainstream. if you looking for mainstream, go buy some other album - Teargas or Prokid. I'm Tswana speaking and I grew up on that nursery rhyme that he's sampled and features Nas. If you a Nas fan, u'll know he's never really been into cadence. so i dug that one. I do believe, if u can relate and understand what he's saying then u'd would rate the Hip hop track higher..take track 7. where he paints the painful picture of discovering his friend was HIV positive. only Jabba can do it like that. I loved the Hip hop disc and haven't even listen to the pantsula disc and i've bought the album 3 weeks ago
LG "Lehipi" 2009/12/22 2:50 PM
Eish this albumit's really prepared for december jabba thanks for them nice lyrics and beats... Dumela wena mosimane motswako! Disk 1,track 11,Kea popa ft. elemente and notshi that track it's dope KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
Bra G 2009/12/24 8:43 AM
Artists of this high caliber know exactly and instinctively what their fans want as they so close to them. HHP delivers a double album of Hip Hop and Pantsula that is a signature collection of great tracks that will entrench his huge fan base for years to come. Jabbaman is establishing himself in the upper quartile of superstars from the African continent. What a breath of fresh air he is and he deserves all the success in the world. Peace Bra G
prince 2009/12/25 6:20 PM
I wish to call you @ one of my parties, cause Mpitse really rocks boy. Bona I still need the "you make me happy", song that you did with Unathi tlhe, where can I get that. Prince, Lenyora la ko Bloemfontein. Jabba sani! O ntse o re jella bana even le nou sani, sure boss.
Thabiso 2010/01/04 11:53 AM
two witnesses,kea Popa "Kere tonight kea popa" wow thats great Track and there's still more inside at first i got only 2 Track on double disc that took me but as i go along i discover more than 6 Songs.Bona bona bona boooona!!!
ITU' 2010/03/26 12:20 PM
"Kea Popa" ya fisa big up to Notshi & Element, I feel ya nigger trust me I feel ya!
Masego aka C'gos 2010/11/05 10:48 AM
two witnesses is a hit for me, it jst brings life in me and also Kea popa. But over roll and above the whole cd is amazing and enjoyable. Well done jabba. Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooona!!!!
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