MIXTAPE REVIEW: Still Gift – Escaping

For his debut project he offers a nine track mixtape that contains ideas, thoughts, feelings and experiences that are weighty and massive and in depth.

Here he packs diary-like stories into punchy and realistic boppers that gives us yet another rich listening experience this year.

The first track Irony encapsulates the heinous reality that people of this day, especially the youths, has to relentlessly wade through. Angst-ridden, it’s a pulverizing juggernaut that jolt and calls out hypocrisy in leaders through a fiery hook and sprawling vocals engineered well enough to make you go riot. Shakara on the other hand, has a more relaxed subject matter and sees Gift showing off his rapping ability. The fabulously corny song sampled the work of legendary Nigerian singer and activist Fela Kuti.

Bowl Club” and “Made For Progress” displays Still Gift’s affinity to his hometown Gweru. The former is an energetic banger that takes us on an ensuing trip to the famous club where fun and merriment is rife. The later tackles his inner-vices and reveals him as someone who accepts the consequences of his deeds. In the same song he also vows to give his best of quality  to his “girl”, Gweru and hip-hop. The personification is just awesome.

The basic strength of this project lies mainly in the choice of sound and the groove. Producer Victor Enlisted found space in the mix for everything. “Hande Nenyika” is a last-ditch funky song that features  Victor and Young Nate. The two rappers dabble in a playful lovely fairy tale with Vic providing a sensual singalong-able chorus. “Femalanthropist“,a mbira-driven and flute-led song finds the rapper sympathizing with his homegirls as he recalls the new flame narrating her friends’ disturbing experiences. As good as it may sound, the song however, has naff flows, leaving us to conclude that this type of sound isn’t for everyone.

Still Gift also addresses the theme of love on Escaping. The Paul Matavire sampled “Dr Lonely” is a boy-meets-girl story that happened at a club. Our sympathies are drawn as the rappers pried over a building trap beat that he doesn’t want to die lonely. The moody “Where Do I Begin” is an emo song that bemoans a love that’s fast diminishing. Although he does not know where to start, he tries to rekindle the affection by offering an honest perspective and reassurance.

The moody atmosphere reached its climax on “Winnie’s Memoir“.The H20 assisted jaunt is a tribute to the rapper’s sister who passed away in 2011. Carried on a pop substrate, it’s heart-throbbing and it gives us a glimpse of how devastated Gift is at her loss.

All in all, Escaping is a good debut and the way it’s conceptualized in the form of an album. Although it has some notable recreant moments, it’s a pleasing body of work. It’s a chockablock with massive tunes that make an instant impact and in the process Still Gift has created one of the most bracing entertaining mixtape of the year.

Standouts tracks :
Dr Lonely
Hande Nenyika

Listen to it below:

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