Slick – One Sounds Celebratory with His Long-Awaited Debut “The Inception”
“Inception” is a 2010 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio whose plot basically depicted the use of dreamscapes to perform daring acts of espionage and elaborate robberies through the infiltration of their victim’s subconscious. “The Inception” is also the boldly named title of the December 2019 musical release from Chungu Katontoka popularly known as Slick-One. There are really no parallels between the two works of art, but it just felt really cool to mention the similarity in names. The Oxford Dictionary defines “inception” as “the establishment or starting point of an institution or activity.” Eight years and three mixtapes later, this was an apt title for Slick-One’s debut album.
The album spans 19 songs and runs for approximately one hour 10 minutes. I recall seeing a tweet where Slick-One was lamenting how difficult, the process of trimming a project to album length was. An understandable struggle for artists who record multiple songs in different mind states and times and then afterwards have to let go of certain songs in order to stick to the conceptual aspect of the album. The promotion leading to the release of the album was not to a larger extent above the line. Aside from the release of one of two visuals on the album, the Kunkeyani Tha Jedi assisted “Sugar & Spice,” the promotional activity leading to this project’s roll out was minimalistic. I may be wrong, but I believe to date, only one other song has been blessed with visuals, the Scott and Klappa Heiz assisted “P S R O M N,” an acronym referring to the now infamous Birdman phrase, “Put Some Respect On My Name.”
To say “The Inception” has a constant theme running throughout the album would be a complete injustice to the entire project. This is exactly what I would expect from a project whose name draws parallels with the abstract nature of the movie with a similar sounding name. The album kicks off with “Do Right By You,” a passionate and heartfelt declaration of loyalty to his loved ones. The song serves as a good project introduction with its introspective verses and endearing hook. With Slick One proclaiming “I went from zero to hero/a son to a father/now I’m living for my daughter, ain’t nobody else matter,” he appears relatable and draws the listener in. He continues these declarations of appreciation and loyalty on the next two songs, the Dopsta assisted “Real Ones” and the Voodoo Child assisted ode to his love interest “Zuba na Mpepo.”
Slick One begins to divert from his reflective subject matter later on in the project and adopts a tried and tested Hip Hop bravado persona in the ensuing songs. On “Never Basic,” Slick One proudly declares “when it comes to putting in work, I’m the foreman.” He continues thumping his chest with lines like “they talk it, I live it” on the Ollee Benjamin assisted “Don’t Count Me Out.” He carries on to expertly navigate his bold swagger on the aforementioned cut “ P S R O M N,” the thumping bass accompanied “Kodi mu Ziba,” and the anthem of defiance to failure, “Too Late.” As with anything though, a swashbuckling lack of modesty can be a double-edged sword, and Slick One falls victim to sounding cringe worthy on “Thirsty” with its provocative hook of “I ain’t trying to look thirsty, but she looking at me dripping like a fountain.” For a project that opened with the afore mentioned “Do Right By You,” this may come off as uninspired and inconsistent. However, this is Hip Hop, and the greatest artists to have done it, have always displayed strong cognitive inconsistencies in their subject matter delivery. If I am going to be fair however, the instrumental is very catchy and I perhaps may just not be the target audience for that particular song.
The last quarter of the album is where Slick One flexes his artistic dexterity. “Skopo” one of my personal highlights borrows from the classic Israel (fka Exile) record “Kumvela Ni Mvela” and details in brief his artistic journey and the pitfalls he faced. “Run Town” oozes cross over appeal with its dance hall undertones and “My Yard” featuring Cee_Thr33 lending his talents as hook master is another portrayal of self-confidence over a reggae-ish soundscape. The album closer “Mpelafye Ishandi” is a hard-hitting, bass heavy offering, which could reverberate for some time coming as a Zambian hustler’s anthem. My personal stand out cut is “Good Times,” where Slick One holds his own against lyrical heavy weights Tim (of Zone Fam fame) and Krytic in a song that in parts sounds like an emotional eulogy to lost loved ones, but also an optimistic celebration of life.
The production on this project is quite diverse, the majority of it is derived from “Trap” heavy sounds, which I am slowly getting accustomed to. However, some of it does sound homogenous, and could dent the replay value of the project. On the whole though, the production choices were carefully thought out and complement Slick One’s and his guest’s delivery. The album could have benefitted from a bit of trimming, on some songs, Slick One tackles similar subject matter better than on others. For example, the braggadocio displayed on “Remedy” was executed a lot better in the earlier half of the project. Despite having a few kinks here and there, for the most part, this project puts on display Slick One’s talent and excellent ability to curate well placed features. These abilities alone would be enough to predict a solid career, and this is an excellent debut project to chart his path forward. Download, Stream, and support the project on the link below;
Short Bio : Passionate Hip Hop enthusiast, Part-time rapper, Husband and Father to two adorable little girls and just a regular guy doing his part to take Zambian Music to the level it deserves!
Twitter : @Odyssey529