Does Koby Justify his Self-Proclaimed Illustrious Status with Young Legend?
Mukome Muwezwa or the artist popularly known as Koby (fka Koby BuckVille) has been a long-standing stalwart of the XYZ music movement. Although not as celebrated as his more distinguishable label mates Slap Dee and Bobby East, Koby has certainly not been in the shadows biding his time. With a local music history dating to as far back as 2013 when he returned to Zambia with his family from Botswana, Koby has diligently been putting in solid work leading up to the eventual release of “Young Legend.” Koby’s first official documented release was in 2013 entitled Freedom and kicked off a career that has eventually culminated in the release of “Young Legend.” Along the way, Koby has attained many milestones in the build up to not only his album release but his career as well, which include winning the best male up and coming artist at the Born & Bred Awards in 2015 and additionally scooping top honours in the 2016 MTV Base “Rate or Hate” competition with his Bobby East assisted Hakuna Matata single.
The promo for this album was carefully orchestrated by Koby and his management team. Koby opened the year with his 2019 freestyle released towards the end of January, which was followed by slew of solo releases and eye-catching feature verses. The pinnacle of the promotional wheel was the release of Keep Forgetting released a little over a week before the album which included a scathing Tommy D verse which spawned the over use of the term Kapyopyo tah, but also had the masses talking and definitely drove up the hype for the album.
The 30th day of November finally saw the release of Koby’s magnum opus (apologies, this review has taken a bit of time to do, but I was caught up in the KeDezemba movement, LOL). This album represents years of Koby’s diligence and patience and this is evidenced by the album opener Pray for You, which is a melodic and soulful celebration of achievement which features sound bytes of his parents, siblings and friends congratulating him on the album release. Koby has been referred to as a double threat, being proficient in both rapping and beat making. He has been behind the crafting of multiple XYZ hits and this is documented vividly in the album’s second cut, the Izrael and Ben the Future assisted King Maker where he enthrals us with lines such as “I came a long way, let me take you back in time/Joined X Y, but no, I was never signed/Never for the shine/I wasn’t about the rhymes/It was Bobby, Stevo and Kantu out on a Friday night/I never tagged along, I was in it for the grind.”
The majority of the album is peppered with introspective songs that give the audience glimpses into Koby’s psyche. It was really hard to pick out stand out songs on this project. However, one of my personal highlights of the album is My Way featuring R&B crooner Elisha Long and samples the Love Doctor smash hit My Love from the mid 2000’s. Call me an old head, but the nostalgic feel of that record had me all in my feelings. Another personal favourite of mine was Osalila, which is a laid back, feel good, uplifting song where he opens the song with these bars, “Look at me now, I got a new style/I was back then, now I’m right now/I used to lay low/Listen to J Cole/And when the money came, I was the change bro/So I changed clothes, I let the chains go/And if we live fast, I pray we die old.” Bang Bang is another song loaded with replay value. A rambunctious record with the instrumental curated by Mohsin Malik and featuring the young phenom Natasha Chansa who expertly trades bars with Koby, reminiscent of classic LOX records where Jadakiss and Styles P would flow back and forth between themselves.
The album is 18 songs long and has an estimated play time of a little over one hour. It may sound long but the entertainment value of this album is so high that you barely notice how long the album purportedly is. The accompanying soundscape is handled by a bevy of producers, although majority of the instrumentals were crafted by Lord Aku. Other notable producers were Mohsin Malik, Koby himself, Bootman Lee, CMark and TK of Romadise fame. All in all, with Koby’s background as a producer, you can tell he has a really good ear for beats, as not a single one of them seems lacklustre or misplaced on this project. The project is also sprinkled with guest verses and hooks, but they all complement Koby and fit perfectly on the songs they feature on. Even on cuts like Humble and Curfew, which almost sound like pacification to a Zambian audience who prefer vernacular bars, the charisma that guests Nez Long (Humble) and Ruff Kaida(Curfew) bring do not up stage Koby. In fact, Koby displays an incredible knack of bringing out the best in his guests on this project. Kunkeyani Tha Jedi and Chanda Mbao both sound energized as they deliver a lyrical masterpiece on My Side. Bobby East has had his detractors over the years, but no complaints can be raised as he delivers one of his best ever non vernacular verses on Celebrate which also features Elisha Long. Jay Rox sounds defiant on his guest spot on the victorious anthem Ole. TIM (fkaThugga) and Camstar sound super inspired on the fitting album closer Had to Leave, which concludes the album with the haunting background chorus, “I got too many dreams that I had to leave/cuz the stress within is something you cannot see.”
It has been well documented how long this “Young Legend” album has been in the works, and this 18-track masterpiece is the culmination of all that hard word and patience. When starting this piece, I wondered if this project was worthy of the moniker that Koby bestowed upon it. After several listens (most of them objective, LOL) and reflections, I can safely conclude that Koby is not being facetious by naming his album “Young Legend,” it is well deserved.
If you have not already copped yourself a physical copy of the album, please find below a link for all the digital copies of the album below;
By Yombo “That Boy J” Mutumba
Short Bio :Passionate Hip Hop enthusiast, Part-time rapper, and just a regular guy doing his part to take Zambian Music to the level it deserves!
Twitter : @Odyssey529