Sjava “Isibuko” Album Review
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It is almost traditional these days for musicians to announce the imminence of a project before eventually releasing it.
There are several reasons for this initiative. First off, it gives fans a glimpse of what to expect, and in the event there is a teaser, stokes the fires of anticipation among fans.
Of course, there is no guarantee what the reception for the project would be, ultimately. But then fans have been given a mirror into the future.
South African trap ace Sjava did just that with his recently released “Isibuko” album. After dropping a teaser and a cover art, he led fans into a good music Friday… well, kinda. Join us as we explore the project in its many hues.
Cover arts often give clues about a project and perhaps how an artist was feeling when he created the project in question.
In the case of Sjava, it might be said that he was focused on himself and wanted fans to do the same — just push aside every item of distraction and keep their binoculars trained on the spotlight where he is.
The artwork is minimalist, only showing the songster before the microphone, apparently about to spit the bars encapsulated in the project in review — “Isibuko” album.
Sjava has never been known to be heavy with the tracklist. That is, he is most likely to drop a project with a compact tracklist than load up on the tracks like a fishing trawler.
In this instance, though, there is a big change as the songster let his muses just swim. The result is that his “Isibuko” album bears exactly 18 tracks, beginning with “Thixo” and ending on a nite of “Peace.”
Between those are numbers like “Ubuhle Bendalo,” “Kube Ngangazi,” “Time,” “Amaphiko,” and “Amavaka.”
Other numbers on the tracklist include “Grounding,” “My Life,” “Iphisi,” “Dudla,” “Ungavumi” and “Isola” — and we are still counting.
A project offers opportunities for artists to collaborate — work with people whose work they admire or who respect enough to want to work with, or who want to add an external flavour to their offering.
Whatever the case, collaborations are part of artistic creations as we know them.
Sjava did not run solo with his latest compilation. The tapped the vocal resources of his associates back home. The collaboration started from the very first track in the compilation, “Thixo,” in which he worked with Nontokozo Mkhize.
Thereafter, he had tapped the vocal resources of Saudi, a former label mate at Ambitiouz Entertainment, Delayde, Lolli Native, Emtee, Samoa the Great, Anzo, Vernotile, Q Twin, Mzukulu, Shwi, Umzulu Phaqa, Udumakahle, and Inkos’yamagcokama.
The eclecticism of the tracklist cannot be missed as the songster worked with artists of various genres, from house to hip hop, right down to maskandi
In almost every project, people would readily point to favourites — the songs that resonate with them the most or songs that they think have great creative energy and will leave in their consciousness for a while.
Left to us we would point to “Time,” “My Life,” and “Peace.” While it is tempting to want to dwell on the choice of this three, we would rather leave it to you to listen and find out for yourself.
For a compilation of 18 tracks, it was inevitable that Sjava would explore several themes. Among the themes the songster explored in his latest body of work are love and relationships, growth and uncertainty — in fact, the BET award winner took on life in its many hues.
Musicians often announce projects and drop teasers, but sometimes the finished work has fans shaking their heads and even sticking out their middle fingers.
Sjava, fortunately, spared the listener that experience. His “Isibuko” is a project worth the wait and worth a place on a playlist.