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Rating: 2.5 stars
When it comes to South African hip-hop, Nomuzi “Moozlie” Mabena is its most stylish illustration. Having carved out her own lane, the famed television host has been able to steer clear of the debate about which female rapper reigns supreme (lawd what a tired, old and boring conversation that is).
Could it be that she’s so supremely cool that she evades scrutiny? Or is she actually a gifted rapper? While it’s not amazing, her recently released mix tape Versus is produced well enough to get herself booked for gigs – which is where the real money is anyway.
And the 11-track release has a couple of moments (Getting Cash, BumBum and Relaxxx) where you’ll go “aight, I hear you Skhanda Queen!” Getting Cash, Recipe and Break Up Song will confuse you about what sound she’s trying to pursue, especially when she does the unconvincing “skrrr-skrrr!”
The most recent single, Getting Cash – produced by Syriee and Mordy and written by Moozlie and Gift Magubane – is a standout. With smooth production and a simple beat, it can almost persuade you of her talent as a rapper. The lesser than moments are how invested she is in changing her voice, which won’t play well to those that still aren’t convinced of her emcee skills – especially when she’s the Auto-tune rapper.
Relaxxx, which was co-written with rapper Reason, is a well-delivered track but sounds very influenced by him. Switching sounds can either be because she hasn’t found her voice as an artist and she’s experimenting, or it could be intentional. But that means that you’re never going to be able to identify her sound.
The New Age MaBrrr didn’t do too badly with this project, but I think she needs to drop a couple more mix tapes before she does a full release, which is due mid-next year.