gTbeats - Kutsvaga Mari Mixtape (2016) review
From raw talent to being one of the most underappreciated producers of the current generation, gTbeats (a.k.a Titus Gambiza) has always challenged the status quo. As a rapper he articulates some of the realest societal issues and as a beat maker he always finds a way to exceed expectation. In one word, gTbeats is GIFTED. His recent mixtape titled Kutsvaga Mari made its way to our playlist and here we are...
The mixtape kicks off with the title track, Kutsvaga Mari, which is one of the most mature tracks I have heard from gTbeats during his career. It typifies the beats across the whole mixtape; thumping, well-produced and pure. gTbeats talks about how our lives are all different but we have similar destinations when it comes to living a successful life. This piece is an ode to issues that many Zimbabweans have experienced like crossing the borders in search for a better life without knowing how much harder life is in the diaspora. He encourages people to never give up and to always turn to God. The social situation of a listener who has gone through similar trials makes this song a strong contender to be a favourite among many.
One of the first singles from this mixtape I heard was Mare which embodies a fantastic track in all senses. Firstly, the production was uniquely futuristic. It is very easy to underrate the technical nuances of it all but listen closely and be amazed. gTbeats, Tricky J and Mugo give such a good account of themselves by delivering 3 different hip hop styles so seamlessly on one track. That is what I call balance. But have you seen the video though? One that Zimbos slept on. Here it is and make up your own mind:
True to gTbeat’s character (he is very energetic and funny), Kung Fu Squanda hilariously plays on Lady Squanda’s recent violent conduct issues and uses the Panda backtrack by Desiigner. I marveled at the turnaround time in producing the track, gTbeats haana kunonoka kani! It took him only a couple of days after zvaitika to drop the track. Talk about striking the iron while still hot! Respeck is much in the same style, making light of the viral video when rapper Birdman confronted The Breakfast Club hosts earlier in April this year. This song could really be international if it gets in the right hands!
Zvidhoma Zvikwambo is certainly one of the best tracks on this mixtape. Tricky J dropped undoubtedly one of his most fiery of verses here. His flow was impeccable. Same goes for Bulawayo’s finest, Cal_Vin, who murked that verse with exceptional ease. Mamero will have the the haters unwilling to engage gTbeats, Cal_Vin or Noble Stylz in any form of battle. ‘Mamero’ is a slang term that has taken Zim by storm referring to haters who pose as people who like and care about you. As soon as you are down, they pounce! Thank Zimdancehall for popularising the term. The track is littered with quotables but I think Noble Stylz stole the show with lines like:
“Vaida hondo vakazoti No Mhen (Norman) Mapeza,
kundijairira ndakaleza ndikajamuka vozeza.
Was like, ‘Nhai MarcQues? WakandiMarka asi?’
Akati ‘No bruh’, ndikati aita luck asi.”
His wordplay is TOO MUCH (is he referencing MarcQues of the Zunguza fame here? Interesting).
Adonis stamped his authority co-starring on Always In My Heart, a love song par excellence. To jog your memory, Adonis sang the hook on ExQ’s smash hit Mazirudo from Chamhembe Vol 1. It comes as no surprise that he added an undeniable flavour to his collabo with gTbeats. Great to note that some of these artists who paved the way are still in the game and doing it like pros. Culture is a great interlude where gTbeats tackles real issues. The man encourages the youth to be careful about losing their culture once they venture out of Zim or regardless of how much they embrace foreign elements such as music, movies and so forth. He stresses that this applies to all Zimbabweans whether Ndebele, Shona, Tonga or whatever. I strongly agree. Maskiri’s Mari Yako Chete was a good surprise inclusion on the mixtape. I am always keen for some good Maskiri raps.
To enjoy this album you definitely have to be in a headspace that can appreciate what I like to call ‘urban hip hop’ (a hybrid between urban grooves and hip hop). The first half of Kutsvaga Mari mixtape is more to the hip hop side. As the mixtape winds up it changes tempo and goes the Zim Dancehall and Urban Grooves route. You will find some hidden gems there.
At 21 tracks deep, you can see that gTbeats was hard at work and wanted to put on show his talents as a producer and rapper. On that note, that is also my only gripe with Kutsvaga Mari - it was so long. Sometimes long offerings can wear down the listener and you don’t want the them to miss the gems at the tail end. Regardless, not many creatives can enjoy their craft like gTbeats does, let alone do it as well.
Other tracks that will tickle your fancy are Type Yandooda featuring Nox and Goridhe, Miss Makadini 2016 (a worthy remix to the banger by Leo Mapfumo & Roki with Take 5ive, Stunner & ExQ), Musaladrasta, Usajaidze Nhamo, and Miss Nakidzai.
One thing that stands out about this mixtape is the QUALITY. I never once found myself doubting that. No shortcuts were taken here and it is good enough to be an album in its own right. Don’t let the ‘mixtape’ tag fool you. This is good music. Gone are the days of half baked mixtapes that are poorly produced just to ‘get something out’. The mixing and mastering are an absolute peach! gTbeats sets a very high bar with Kutsvaga Mari. A well-done project!
Cover Art: 5/10
Overall Mark: A
gTbeats likes to get his hustle on so you can also order the Kutsvaga Mari Tshirts (Velvet Print) on +27746860329
Tshirt comes with a hard copy and a DVD! Pretty good deal...