EP Review: Journey Into Ghetto Bulawayo in “TopJita” (@Maestro_IV)

Bulawayo is the home of Ndebele Hip-hop, a sub-genre which had a hard battle in it’s disambiguation with Kwaito. Maestro IV is among some of the hardest lyricists who’ve been kicking it in the City of Kings and has been trying new concepts to break out into the mainstream firstly by sampling Lovemore Majaivana in the song Majaivana back which dropped early in the year.

Majaivana Back was just a fraction of a full project know as TopJita #SpazaWeekend. The term “Jita” in Kingsville is slang for “Dude”, hence TopJita means he considers himself a top dog. We will discuss the positives and negatives of this project in the write up.

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The EP (which I actually think was a mixtape) kicks off as he makes his faith known in Holy Grail where he recites Psalm 23 in Ndebele, and goes on to kick bars about his gratefulness for the talent to God. I think this track was deliberately first to set the record straight before he’d go into party songs and braggadocio. It was produced by Phanas.

The central theme kicks in on the second track titled Top Jita For Life where he talks about his determination to make his hood proud despite what unbelievers thought. It’s more a braggadocio theme about him winning, running the streets and calling shots in the face of rivalry. Top Jita was produced by 9th Audio and features Lloyd Mavuwa. It’s followed up by Switch, which sounds like something you can have over braai or your next pool party. It’s got a catchy delivery you can swing too and a mad instrumental created by Mar Vinyl, with a feature from Calvin Treazy (note this is not Cal_Vin).

She Crazy is the first song about a girl on the project and it has a beautiful instrumental as well. From delivery to lyrics I’d say he went in and even the hook was on point. The song is sub-titled (Roll with iJita). His message is essentially centred around, “does she know what it takes to be with me?” He briefs the girl on the life she is about to get into by falling in love with him, warning her of the life she should expect. Our Jita is being honest that he can’t afford the high life yet but he is prepared to work with her with what he has if they put together what they have. I love the reality of this song. It in fact says much more than I can fit in an album review.

Ungabasabi quickly puts you back into party mode. Ungasabi means “don’t fret”, it’s a story of a guy who’s inviting chicks to come for a boot with no fear. It’s a party song and is definitely lit. The beat and the hook is life. It is no-wonder Maestro has managed to make a lot of downloads on this project. Five tracks in and the music is still lit. He produced this one himself.

Shake, is yet another lit banger on the project which features iL Duce and even has a mixture of Shona bars. Just like ungasabi it has some playfulness between him and a girl who is on the track. Unfortunately the vocalists were not credited on the mp3’s I got. The party doesn’t stop as we lead into Spazza Party  featuring Munati Fam, iL Duce, which is another party scenario track but I’d say it has nothing on Shake although it is more lyrical and he put more effort on delivery in it.

Majika is the next track on, featuring Prime Suspects. It has that old school Kwaito feel we got from Robaliteka in the hook. It’s a more chilled dance track. Maestro The IV produced this record himself. It didn’t move me as much however, I feel like it was abit misplaced. It sort of quickly drops me from the mood I got from around Ungasabi.

On a Vyrass beat he gives us a Kwaito like Hip-hop fusion titled If you want which features TKP. The project seems to take a conscious turn at this point. It talks about a girl who can be a good or bad girl depending how you treat her. The girl expresses she wants to be loved for who she is as a person. I love the concept, but I feel like this is not where Maestro’s strength is in this project. However it does manage to prove that he can tackle much as an emcee.

Bang’biza Ba is the next track featuring T Man and Mike Br, where he talks about how he is respected in Phumula, his ghetto for putting in work. MWD follows up with a refreshing instrumental from Twizzy. It basically means Money Women Drinks, he does this one excellently on the bars and delivery. It features Asaph, who throws dope punchlines.  The hook also has pretty female vocals. 9th Audio drops yet another beat for a song titled 325, which has an autotune vibe going on . All new school Maestro, reminded me of Drake.

Our Jita then gives his Apologies in the next track, produced by Phana. This is another autotune track where he is apologizing to a girl he wronged. Hip-hop Messiah follows next on that autotune tip as well, with some braggadocio raps, before he closes off with Majaivana Back and a Bonus Back to back track. In both Majaivana Back and Hip-hop Messiah there is mention and respect of Lovemore majaivana. Other respected legends are Khuli Chana and Fanyana Dube.

In a capsule

I’d say this collection is more a mixtape, because even though it has dope music. The music does not seem to follow an actual central plot. It’s more like an album about a lot of disconnected subject matters but it’s good, my take away tracks are Top Jita For Life, Ungasabi, Switch, Holy Grail, MWD and She Crazy. I think if he has a strength in commercial tracks.

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