So let me first talk about my story with Solo. When I first met him, almost four years ago, he was still chasing a corporate dream and wasn't too happy. I think my first discussion with him was about the thought of leaving the corporate world for music and questions about how he would make a living. At the time he had a mixtape and I felt he wasn't ready to leave his job with the music he had, that was not 'cause I thought the music was bad but simply due to the fact South Africa doesn't always open up to cats that spit unless they can also balance with mainstream joints. Turn to today, nothing much has changed as he's still a spitter but his approach in the market and his use of digital has proven that he doesn't think like the other rappers. Although he won't be successful through the common path they take, he might pioneer a whole new way to make it as a lyricist. Some rappers are popular in the digital space and blow up, some are creating and building a fan base by using digital innovation. Enter Solo, the BetrGang movement and the most recent project called DreamsBPlenty. The album is officially out today, so here's a little you need to know about some of the tracks on the album.
Benchwarmers ft. Kabomo
The first song on the album after a skit intro features Kabomo which is fitting 'cause when I first met Solo, Kabomo was his manager. If you listen to anything out there Solo is really in his own lane and this joint reaffirms that. He talks about refining his sound to be the best of whatever he wants to be without compromising his style. With lines like I did everything possible to silence the non believers a lot of lyrics I scratched would've burned them like some Cahibas/try to match my demeanor/been meaner with spit try comparison with different dreamers they simple as shit
I came from everybody and their mama doubting/ now how many other real rhymers you counting/How many promise legendary/ How many vary or borrowed fathered heredatary style
How Cool Is This Love ft. Ziyon
How Cool Is This Love is about his commitment to his sqaud and how they keep at it and how he does this so they can one day break bread. It's a relationship that's been through thick and thin but through that there has been growth, not only for him but for the crew.
This is one of my favourite tracks and the metaphor plays around the level Solo is playing at with his rap game. With a cheeky chorus like Flying 30,000 feet, 50,000 people talking 30,000 feet/ if you are not my people, you don't get no mouth to speak/ you are not my equal you not even ounce of me now you can hit this, Flow 30,000 feet I tweek each bassline like 20 times a week, your weak cliches is going get you obsolete, I'm twin DJ's you was very minor league
Selfies killed the autograph before he blew up and do girls put up posters anymore? Interesting question posed in this song which talks about an artist putting in all the work in studio, working on their craft all in the name of getting groupie love but in a world where girls don't put up posters on the wall anymore will one ever know if it's all worthwhile?
Ball & Chain ft. Lilly Million
You haven't heard Solo on a joint like this with a dancehall inspired bassline mixed with a pop chorus, it's a pretty experimental sound for Solo. It's one of the tracks that could possibly sit comfortably at a station like 5FM.
One Way Ticket ft Spoek Mathambo (call Solo about it)
I suspect Buks is on the chorus and at this part he gets into sentiment and this song talks about the selfish decision that everyone has to make to get to their dream. One way ticket is used as a flight analogy representing that decision.
Here's the funny thing, it takes me a while to be comfortable with an album but by the time I was on this track I was sold. Key words on this song are we believe in us and by now I believed too. Please God we just came for what we prayed for/ Solo's enthusiasm to win without compromise is genuine and this comes across in Not Vogue. Like I said, by the time I was on this track I was also a believer in the fact that Solo has a place in the game and his father comes in at the end and talks about how they first were skeptical about his rap career but he's made the whole family believe. That was crazy for me cause this track was where I started believing.
Is a letter to his mother who went to work in Birmingham while they were living in Diepkloof and their house was about to be repossessed. She applied for a job to be a social worker in the UK making a sacrifice for the family.This nature of sacrifice that we see in Solo is inherited from his mother and that's expressed on Safer High .
I never covered every song in the album but this is the most honest and consistent narrative on a hip hop album. Please make sure you get the album when it drops.