Provoke Music/Kaka Empire; 2013
The wait is finally over. Budding femcee Wangechi has finally released her much-awaited mixtape exclusively on waabeh.com (download the mixtape ASAP if you haven’t already). Consume: Chakula Ya Soul drops courtesy of her label Kaka Empire and mainly overseen production-wise by Kevin Provoke of Provoke Music. Ever since we first heard of Wangechi, every track she has been on (except Ligi Soo Remix) has drawn a picture of what she represents musically – a 90s kid who is in her best element when immersed in old school hip hop vibes from way beyond her time. This mixtape does not deviate from this picture one bit and is bound to catch the attention of local hip hop fans pretty fast.
The mixtape instantly transports you back to the 90s of Golden Age hip-hop with its selection of beats from some of the most acclaimed rappers out there, right from the intro that borrows that very awesome beat from the Digable Planets’ hit Cool Like That (The Rebirth of Slick). The falling back on tried and tested beats means that there is very little to be done production-wise. That being said, the challenge posed by this approach was not in originality but in the selection of the right beats and for Wangechi to come up with lyrical content that would match up to those awesome beats. Overall, those objectives have been tackled well by the final product in Consume. The variety of the songs sampled range from classics by 2Pac, Busta Rhymes, Outkast, Common to even the likes of Eric B & Rakim.
Lyrcially, Wangechi is no Joey Bada$$ when it comes to competely owning old school beats but she definitely has some moments of brilliance throughout the mixtape. The Game whose beats seem to suit her flow perfectly gives her the chance to drop a bunch of entertaining lyrical boasts and witty lines: “Stick to your lane, hakuna Lamborghini Nairobi/So I ain’t going to show you no Mercy…Me ni missing link, the gap in your mwanya/Usijifanye haunioni..”
However, The Game sounds like a warm up when compared with Push which utilizes beats from the monster hit Tush by Ghostface Killah and Missy Elliot. Push is easily the best track on the tape. Wangechi is simply on fire with her bars and story telling skills as she raps about a typical night out in Nairobi and dealing with the city’s men who can be quite a trip especially when they start dropping pick up lines. She is in her best element here and if there’s any track that deserves a video IMMEDIATELY, it is this one.
The overall sound is not set in stone as old school hip hop but has some unexpected sample choices to reduce monotony in the mixtape’s theme. Consume also samples newer tracks such as Only Wanna Give It To You, some new jack/R&B in Twende Kazi and also a classic dancehall reggae vibe in Lega Mega Sega that benefits from a Meek Mill instrumental. The only guest appearance is in More To Me which features Wangechi’s protege Rabbit who goes super hard on this track to a point, having already matured in the mixtape game. Ligi Soo Remix is the other bonus track and will be included in physical copies of the album. The mixtape’s artwork by Zack Adell is a work of art in itself – how can you not pick up CD with such a good-looking cover?
Consume has the effect of making one reminisce of a time when hip hop just meant an emcee and a mic.This mixtape is a testament to the fact that Wangechi is the rapper to watch now and in the near future. She represents an interesting new and alternative generation of emcees that may revive the much loved old school hip hop sound that she has reminded us of in this mixtape. The hope is that her future (and more original) material does not deviate from the good progression that the mixtape has set.
Scoot over to our Mega Sample Sunday feature for our complete list of all the songs sampled in Consume: Chakula Ya Soul.