ALBUM REVIEW: Sharky – Take Back The land

As hip-hop grows to the point where many rappers have become caricatures of themselves, Sharky still remains a part of group of MCs that still consider the culture in every decision he make.

An outspoken critic of the status quo and cultural imperialism, he has become a leading light in a new wave of hip-hop music that aims to agitate the industry and hopefully change people’s opinions for the better. Nay, he’s even less likely to disappoint fans than he’s to shake up their preconceptions on  his latest album Take Back The Land.

He harks back to an era when hip-hop meant an infinite horizon of possibilities rather than the blind alley of predictability and has made a landmark album. On a mission to steal the genre away from it’s corporate paymasters, this self-released project flows with raw energy and outrageous talent. It dismisses the notion that all rap should be about gold chains and other fancy stuff. On it he tackles competition,egos, politics, economic depression, colourism, love and even promiscuity with intelligence and  captivating prowess.

All of the above make for interesting listening. Of course no bar feels wasted, especially when there are inept and power hungry politicians, wack rappers, influencial trolls and rusty OG rappers that need stamping out. He speaks plainly without a trace of irony.

The inception to this rule is the opener K!ng , which is a quick strike response at naysayers, radio host PD The Ghost, trolls et al.The follow-ups #2 and Henaroo!!  are shots at competition alike and have the rapper proclaiming his greatness and how much he changed the game with his debut.

Elsewhere, Homu Homu is a track which celebrates the trials and tribulations of the struggling independent artist,who accumulated relevance and success in the industry through assiduous endeavors. Featuring his brother Italist , the track is most certain to please hip-hop and dancehall music enthusiasts. Notable on this track are shots at OG rappers,to whom Sharky is saying are no longer living up to their repertoire.

Though he has already comes across as utterly dour with his egotistical nuances, Sharky still proves he’s like all human beings subject to emotional frailties and sensibilities.He has the ability to love and even mend up broken relationships, a feature that went missing on his debut.If you’re all about love and caring then Make Up Your Mind and the surprisingly funky upbeat Side To Side will  float your boat.

Also exploring themes closer to home he expresses his opinions on disunity in a society on Kwete and imparts forceful messages about the real sociological and physiological implications of blackness in Issa Melanin with an underlying sense of pathos. Songs like Ndambakuudzwa and Family highlight that he’s also equally conscientious of deeply-ingrained personal issues ranging from selfishness and the treatment of families.

However, it is the seditious content in Far Away and Take Back The Land that really captures the attention.These two are the climax of the album where he endeavors to shine spotlight on subjects that those in power would not want to hear. Reporting live from Harare, he presents a very direct exposition of socio-economic and political disenfranchisement going on in the country. In a more agitated indigenous style the closer Take Back The Land sets his stall out to maximum effect where confronting hums and chants of “Take Back The Land” blends with a righteous “state of the nation” address.

In the end , Take Back The Land is a monumental album. It balances political incisiveness and lyrically brilliance with a deep-rooted African style crossing the genre divide. Shorter projects do not always mean better projects, but this strikes that delicate balance between quality and quantity. Sharky says more  in these thirteen songs than most rappers do in double that time : it’s proficiency meet efficiency.Commendable.

Pickup Tracks :

  • K!ng
  • #2
  • Homu Homu
  • Take Back The Land

Click here to stream the album