CeeThr33 stakes a formidable claim to the Throne with “MWATA”
The first time I ever came across CeeThr33 or any semblance of his music was about a month ago when I was leisurely browsing videos on YouTube. And I guess according to my viewing history, the A.I. algorithms figured an episode of Zambezi Juice’s“LevoUp” hosted by Sanga Tembo would tickle my fancy. It was actually my first “LevoUp” episode, which I must admit is a great show, credit to Keisha Chilufya, Sanga Tembo and their team for that innovative show. I digress, apologies.
Back to CeeThr33, the format of “LevoUp” is that the host Sanga Tembo puts his guests through a rite of passage before they can actually get into the meat of the show. This rite of passage consists of the guest having to tackle three (3) separate instrumentals (usually hip hop) with freestyle verses. I was casually listening to this episode when I heard CeeThr33 spit “I’m about to Take Off, this ain’t something you can Offset.” That line definitely piqued my interest. After the episode, I did some research to hear some more from this Emcee. CeeThr33’s catalogue wasn’t too hard to find, one name search on the Audiomack app and his three previous projects (Before The Fire, NoSmokeWithoutFire and NoSmokeWithoutFire 2 came up. After a week of digesting the project, I easily became a bonafide fan
Fast forward to the present. Cee Thr33 released his latest full-length effort last week on Friday (November 1st) aptly titled “Mwata.” Mwata is a vernacular term referencing the traditional monarch of the Lunda chiefdom in North Western province of Zambia. Mwata is a 13-track project spanning a little under 40 minutes. Mwata in my possibly subjective opinion is a masterpiece spanning divergent themes ranging from the reclaiming of personal and cultural identities (title track Mwata), flexing on an ex-lover that jilted you in the past (Bring Back The Flex), the stereotypical hip hop self-proclamation of lyrical dominance (Si Boza), mental health acceptance (The Sunken Place), to finally survival and triumph (By Fire, By Force) amongst others. For a project with a diverse mix of subject matter, Mwata is just the right length as it keeps the listener yearning to hear more at its conclusion, which is the hall mark of any project worth its salt.
The production on this project while not ear catching superb is relatively decent. For the life of me, without the beat makers’ tag lines that we have become accustomed to in Zambian music, I was unable to figure out who handled the production duties on Mwata. However, the majority of the beats on the project were relevant to the type of song being conveyed. Heck, I must admit that my old self has never had an affinity for Trap beats, but Cee Thr33 and featured guest OMMGEE made me rewind and bump my head to “Si Boza.” With introductory lines like “Tekanyani, you don’t want me calling my Bros/One slap, you Fetty Wap, linso permanently closed,” you are compelled to repeat the song, just to hear more. All in all, as mentioned earlier, the tape’s beat selection is decent.
For any shortcomings in the instrumentals, Cee Thr33 fills in those gaps with incredible lyrical content, that the beat just becomes a necessary complement to a good song. After all, this is not an EDM album. It was hard to pick a personal favourite cut on the album so I picked several. Sunken Place is such a sad, but equally relatable song. It’s a melancholic journey portrayed through the eyes of the majority of the youth out there who seek escapism through the cliché of sex, drugs and alcohol, etc, to counter the perceived expectations placed on them. I must admit it triggered quite a few memories for me, and might do the same to other listeners out there. Time is another stand out song. The song uses a Kyla (Do you Mind) sample (which Drake previously used on “One Dance”) and Cee Thr33 is basically spitting game about how some girl deserves a lot more time than her current man accords her. The man is clearly deliberate in his intentions that halfway through the song, he effortlessly switches from rapping in English to rapping in French. Yes, you read right, he rapped an entire eight (8) bars en Francais. He drops lines like “N’esttupas fatigue d’etreseul tout le temp/Chaquefoisqu’il parle blesse vos sentiments/Tu est malade et j’ai ton medicaments/Le reve que j’aivousetes avec moi.” Basically telling his muse that she can do better, and he is that standard. Those bars took me back in time to my childhood in Zaire (now known as the DRC) where I would try imitate MC Solaar using a Walkman and some Sega Mega Drive theme music (I keep telling y’all that I am an old head, LOL). Other standouts include the afore mentioned Si Boza, All To You featuring an amazing songstress credited as Temwani and a definite Afro Beat party starter featuring Baba Tunde called Bring Back The Flex. On Bring Back The Flex, CeeThr33 and Baba Tunde ironically trade bars about how they would celebrate their newly found success at the expense of their exes who left them for a premature perceived lack thereof with lines like “Trying to prove I was worth it/But all you saw was the surface.”
It was almost impossible to find any glaring flaws on this project. CeeThr33 proudly displayed his genre bending range by not only spitting some amazing word play, but he also proved he can attempt to stretch his vocal range by singing hooks on songs like Bring Back The Flex, and My Shoes. He kept the features to a bare minimum allowing his obvious talent to shine throughout the project. He even had an opportunity to show off, with his spoken word delivery of “Mfumukazi.” A passionately delivered ode to women, extolling their virtues and placing them on a pedestal while also playing as a cautionary tale to the male species, to regard them as equals not as subjects.
If it is not already obvious, I am a huge fan of this project. CeeThr33 has managed to deliver a gem of a tape that should appeal to almost everyone who has an affinity for Hip Hop. The tape has significant replay value. To add some necessary context, I am a 36 (almost 37, LOL) year old hip hop enthusiast, and Gang Starr (Dj Premier and the late great Guru) released their latest album, One of The Best Yet, on the same day as Mwata. I haven’t felt inclined to listen to Gang Starr yet, because I have been hooked on this Mwata release, and I am being as objective as possible. This is a great body of work from a talented Emcee, and he can only go from strength to strength. Please find below link to stream or download this project;
By Yombo “JazO” Mutumba
Short Bio :Full time husband and father of two amazing little girls. Banker by day to pay the bills, passionate hip hop enthusiast by night to create the bills
Twitter : @Odyssey529