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Sabelo Mkhabela

South African rapper, EmTee received a lot of co-signs from the likes of AKA, Burna Boy, Riky Rick and more, after his coming-out single “Roll Up”, which went to win Song of the Year at the 2015 South African Hip Hop Awards, went viral. AKA ended up dropping a verse on the remix to the single, alongside Wizkid. Purists have had their 2 cents about the rapper not being a wordsmith – which is a valid point. I don’t see EmTee winning any lyrical competition; there are no double entendres or “ohw!”-worthy punchlines on his debut album Avery. The subject matter is limited to grinding, getting money, haters, and a few love songs make their way in there.
But one thing you can’t take from him, it’s displayed on the album, is his ability to make songs – catchy hooks, flowing to a beat (even if that flow is “borrowed” at times), and don’t get me started on his beat-selection. The likes of Ruff (who handles most of the production) and Tweezy are responsible for the eardrum wreckers EmTee’s vocals sit on.
Avery is monolithic – never have I heard this much 808s in a South African album. The production is mostly trap, and most of the vocals are enhanced by autotune, which can turn a lot of insufferable hip hop heads off, not that EmTee cares, they aren’t his target market. Some of us just like shit that sounds good, and Avery is exactly that. Ethically, there’s a lot ... Read Full Review

South African rapper, EmTee received a lot of co-signs from the likes of AKA, Burna Boy, Riky Rick and more, after his coming-out single “Roll Up”, which went to win Song of the Year at the 2015 South African Hip Hop Awards, went viral. AKA ended up dropping a verse on the remix to the single, alongside Wizkid. Purists have had their 2 cents about the rapper not being a wordsmith – which is a valid point. I don’t see EmTee winning any lyrical competition; there are no double entendres or “ohw!”-worthy punchlines on his debut album Avery. The subject matter is limited to grinding, getting money, haters, and a few love songs make their way in there.
But one thing you can’t take from him, it’s displayed on the album, is his ability to make songs – catchy hooks, flowing to a beat (even if that flow is “borrowed” at times), and don’t get me started on his beat-selection. The likes of Ruff (who handles most of the production) and Tweezy are responsible for the eardrum wreckers EmTee’s vocals sit on.
Avery is monolithic – never have I heard this much 808s in a South African album. The production is mostly trap, and most of the vocals are enhanced by autotune, which can turn a lot of insufferable hip hop heads off, not that EmTee cares, they aren’t his target market. Some of us just like shit that sounds good, and Avery is exactly that. Ethically, there’s a lot to critique – the album doesn’t score high in the originality department. The flow on “Roll Up”, as you’ve probably heard if you didn’t pick it up yourself, was lifted from O.T Genasis’s “CoCo”. On “Pikipiki”, EmTee borrows Future’s flow from “Thought It Was A Drought”. There are more instances, of course.
If, like me, you liked Dirty Sprite 2, you are highly likely to wake up and sleep to Avery. EmTee does a lot of singing and sing-songy rapping over trap production, drawing parallels to Future.
If you checked out his D.I.Y EP, Avery wouldn’t surprise you. The EP was an impressive snippet of what the rapper was capable of. It’s a working formula that needs no altering (at least for now). Avery could have done with some brevity – the beats and lyrical content do get predictable towards the end, but then again as I implied earlier, this is not an album you listen to for impressive lyrical skills. Some tracks (for instance “Mama”, “You Got It”, “Avery”) may tickle a nerve or two, mostly because of feel more than the lyrics, which are quite basic. Play Avery after you just received your pay-cheque, play it in the club, play it in your whip… in layman terms, it’s an easy listen.
My personal favourites on the album are “Mamie Game”, “You Got It”, “Roll Up”, “We Up”, “Ready” and “Mama”. Your list might be different to mine but one thing is guaranteed; you will have one.

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