Music Review: NCSSR

By Mutsinzi

In no more than 8 tracks, Sogokuru has managed to cement what has already been a firm musical repertoire.

Je ne compte pas le faire comme les autres, non, non pas du tous; Je slide dans ton corridor baby check bien mes moves; Je fais le nécessaire!

Where to begin? ‘NCSSR’, Sogokuru’s first album, is to steal from its title, a necessary listen! In no more than 8 tracks, Sogokuru has managed to cement what has already been a firm musical repertoire. If ‘Kanura’ and ‘Ijoro’, some of his previous releases, have felt like sonorous waves of revolution, then ‘NCSSR’ will serve to affirm and re-assure that ecclectic influences, the multi-cultural juices that fuel Sogokuru’s music will always win! You will find that across history, artists with the most felt impact have borrowed from a number of cultures, which lent them a perspective that veered far from short-sightedness so that they approached all truths with an elegant fearlessness. ‘NCSSR’, a bold, capitalized play on the word ‘nécessaire’ is to be enjoyed for the near-to-perfect production and its cultural significance.

Ibintu ni hatari…J’suis le seul à sample Kayirebwa, les seuls à créer nos propres médias

On the 4th track ‘Hatari’, Sogokuru makes the listener aware of the disruptive forces playing towards the cultural enrichment of his home-country. “Changer le temps quand tu t’addresses à moi, j’suis le seul à sample Kayirebwa; Kigalicious, le nouveau Tidal, on est seuls à créer nos propres médias”. The only stories that are remembered are those that are told, over and over again without sounding redundant and Hiphop achieves that on a level that most artistic media simply can’t. Sogokuru’s contribution to the popularization of what has long been dormant musical gems, should not go unnoticed.

It would be unreasonable to highlight the genius surrounding this eccentric cultural rebirth through hiphop without mentioning the role of producer and MC Yannick MYK. A guest on this album, Yannick continues to pioneer the resourcefulness of the Kinyarwanda language by producing neat wordplay and rhythmic inventiveness that are simply unparalleled. On the 3rd track ‘Njegera’, Yannick achieves just this, and the result is an enjoyable and unmatched performance. And then there is that familiar use of ‘Kwivuga’ snippets on Yannick’s joints which appears at the end of most of the tracks, a reminder of the ‘necessary’ reclaiming of the artists’ identity.

$teezy-$teez is another guest on the album and his Jamaican Patwah singing makes for a smooth interlude on the project. $teez tells the tale of an indifferent ‘she’, who won’t pick up the phone and of the seductive ‘other’ whose calls are nothing short of provocative.

Like $teez watagwan; gyal I’m just chilling, since when do you call me on the phone, are you tripping?; She say is your girl around?; Why you care?; She say the right question is, does she care?

The white sandy beaches of Zanzibar are the subject of the 6th track ‘This Summer’, along with the inevitable irresistible female character. This track is entertaining but not in the way that it puts a strain on your blood pressure but with that mellow, consistent lyrical delivery that’s characteristic of Sogokuru.

Je veux qu’on aille a Zanzibar, this summer! Posés sur la plage, petites puffs sur la shisha!

Sogokuru’s album would not have been complete without a taste of his skillful storytelling, a taste that we get on the 6th track ‘Le NCSSR’. On his first solo work ‘Kanura’, Sogokuru describes with stark vividness a trip home after a night out on the track ‘Vole Petit Oiseau’. It is with equal if not better clarity that you’re told of a fictional episode with a fortune teller whose crystal ball shows the artist a glimpse into the future. The plot-twist here is the artist’s belief in the ‘untelevised’ revolution. The comfort of fortune tellers’ words is nothing but fiction. The artist forges his own path! This track has an interesting arab musical influence towards the end which only adds to the mysterious mood surrounding the track’s theme.

Je ne compte pas le faire comme les autres, non, non pas du tous; Je slide dans ton corridor, baby check bien mes moves; Je fais le nécessaire!

I’ll leave the outro for your own enjoyment, it is a recorded message left by illustrator Khalilu(63) that’s succeeded by Sogokuru’s lyrical playfulness and a touch of Congolese instrumental Rumba as the conclusion. NCSSR is re-assurance from the Hiphop artist Sogokuru that there are no mountains(to use the proverbial allusion) that won’t be climbed to keep on producing musical classics, to achieve artistic greatness. It is an 8-track echo of that familiar phrase ‘By any means Necessary!’

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