Hype Avenue

THE VERDICT: AKA’s new album Touch My Blood is not for the haters!

AKA’s latest platter won’t win over any haters, but by the sounds of things, he doesn’t care.

AKA is back, but you probably know that already.

He has been telling the world about it, loudly, and Touch My Blood has already been declared a classic by both himself and his biggest fans.

There’s so much hype swirling around Touch My Blood, that I find myself listening to the album over and over again, in a sustained effort to try and work out what I’m missing.

I understand that he delivers a slick product, combining hip hop and pop seamlessly. His technical skill and showmanship are not up for debate here. But even in a genre where flossing and projecting success is not only allowed but expected, Super Mega lays it on uncomfortably thick.

Over 17 tracks, AKA tells us how well he’s doing, confronts issues with his ex Bonang Matheba (on ‘Beyonce’ and ‘Daddy Issues II’) and tells the haters how little he cares about them.

There’s a bit of politics as well, with several references to taking the land back. There are many, many lines about what he’s been drinking and smoking mixed in with a bit of self-reflection and tales of drowning his sorrows in bottles. But much like Drake, even when he looks inward it’s hard to relate because he always tempers it with a bit of bragging one or two lines later.

On ‘Fully In’ he indulges in the time honoured tradition of making a hook out of a famous South African’s name (“Shoot to Kill, Bheki Cele” his answer to SA hip hop tracks ‘Tito Mboweni’, ‘Pearl Thusi’ and ‘Bob Mabena’).

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Lines like “My stature international / You flying Mango / Your baggage goes to Cabanas / I’m at the Palace” sound like a variation on the time he tweeted a picture of the lobster he was about to eat with the caption “How’s your King Pie right now?”.

And on it goes. He talks about how he doesn’t need to care about awards on ‘Magriza’, how well he adapts to changing trends on ‘Star Signs’, how he’s in the zone on ‘Zone’, how he’s raised the bar when it comes to SA hip-hop on ‘The World Is Yours’.

This is allegedly his last album, and I’m ok with that. AKA is an artist that has nothing much to say but “I’m a success” over and over again until I for one start questioning if he’s trying to convince not only the listener but himself.

Which is strange, because he certainly is a winner, and he will no doubt keep winning by catering to a large amount of diehard fans who don’t expect anything more from him than he’s already delivering.

This is someone who, as he says on ‘Caiphus Song’, “never gave a f**k about opinions”, and so I’m sure he won’t care about mine. It will be too easy to dismiss me as a hater for wondering how anyone could possibly find the man or his music interesting.

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