Mtwo’s project title “Wounds : An Anthology Narrated By Mtwo” piqued my interest. I quickly assumed this would not a regular run of the mill Zambian Hip Hop project. His use of the word “anthology” made me think this would be a collection of spoken word and other poetic pieces.
It wasn’t too far off from the truth. While it is not exactly a collection of spoken word, it is definitely a lot more poetic than the myriad of local projects out there that have dropped recently. The majority of the album follows a generic metrical structure of alliteration in the rhyme schemes that Mtwo employs. However, the project is far from generic. Most of it is void of the thumping bassline that we have become accustomed to in Hip Hop, rather Mtwo decides to accompany his vocals with a more soulful acoustic soundscape, and I must admit for the majority of the project, this is definitely a winning formula.
The project’s introductory track “Shortsighted” opens with Mtwo proclaiming, “Good grief, I should have seen this coming but my view was brief,” which serves as an accurate portrayal of how deeply personal this project will be. Mtwo’s vocal delivery is laid back, allowing him to enunciate his words clearly. Coupled with the deeply personal content, this quickly becomes an opening into this man’s soul inviting the listeners to quickly delve into. The mostly acoustic nature of his instrumentals, coupled with a sprinkling of piano loops and minimal drum work create a haunting musical backdrop for the at times melancholic chapters of his personal life that he shares with his audience.
My personal highlight of the album comes on the sixth track called Now & Forever featuring the sole guest of the project, a silky voiced songstress by the name of Mercy. This song also serves as one of the more “happier” moments in the project. Mtwo delivers a passionate ode to a potential partner with lines like, “I am lingering in faith/she has me visiting this place/that I have come to know as love/and I think I want to stay/it’s written on my face/this isn’t just a phase.” The only flaw this song has is that it ends and its so short. Considering his streaming numbers on SoundCloud™, this is his most streamed song reinforcing my view that this is the one song most listeners resonate with.
At nine songs, this is a relatively short project but serves its purpose in introducing Mtwo as a credible artist carving out his own lane. His brand of music may not resonate with the general Zambian public who have become accustomed to heavy bass laden, punchline ridden vernacular rap usually accompanied with a dance to go with it. However, his alternative brand of Hip Hop will definitely find its own niche target audience. Mtwo unashamedly wears his heart on his sleeve on this project, hopefully any follow ups to this project will sound a lot more “happier” since he has got a lot of stuff off his chest with the Wounds release. He may also want to widen his production net, to avoid sounding monotonous and pigeon holed as lacking versatility. Today’s audiences are fickle and demanding, and some artists have to compromise their authenticity to appeal to the masses. However, if he wants to remain in this niche lane, complete with his minimalistic instrumental backing, then he should not make too many tweaks in his follow up. My last constructive opinion (humble one at that) is that the project could have possibly benefitted from additional mixing and mastering. In some parts, the audio is not consistent throughout and is not as crisp as it could have been. All in all, I really liked the album, it’s a good solid debut, and really tapped into my older poetic self. It truly is an anthology.
Listen to Wounds by
Mtwo on #SoundCloud
By Yombo “That Boy J” Mutumba
Short Bio :Passionate Hip Hop enthusiast, just a regular guy doing his part to take Zambian Music to the level it deserves!
Twitter : @Odyssey529