***LISTEN TO THE LIONESS – PRIDE OF CILQ ALBUM REVIEW USING THE PLAYER ABOVE***
Lioness… the name says it all! I won’t even break the ice, let me just start.
The intro itself had me in my feels. The analogy by the guy talking is of an album in the context of Lioness’ music being comparable to having a meal. It needs to be balanced with meat, carbs, veggies, some gravy and so on. It all comes together to make a healthy, well-rounded meal. From a music perspective, a good album is more than just bangers. Why? Because the audience goes through a variety of emotions as well as ups and downs. The most complete artists cater to the complex pendulum swings of human emotions.
Aptly titled ‘Pride of CilQ’ this is an album dedicated to her fans, the people that have been with her for the longest and supported her to the stage she is at now.
On ‘Way Too Much’ Lioness got some of the best in the game with Skrypt, KP Illest and Kenny-K. You already know KP Illest gives it 100% on the mic and I enjoyed his wordplay. He is a hard act to follow especially when he is first on a track. From here on I found that the tempo on Pride of CilQ picked up noticeably. I like travelling with a musician in this manner. I find that I prefer albums that build up rather than wind down. In this sense, Pride of CilQ eases you into the project.
Bad, one of the earlier singles from this album featuring Zimbabwean star Slickartie, remains one of the stunning offerings here much like its music video. Slickartie gave the chorus a brilliant energy and he is one to watch for the future. That is why this collabo works. Lioness may be a relatively new school hip hop artist but her core is old school. She can go bar for bar with just about anyone with none of that mumble rap stuff. She’s the real deal.
You get to journey with Lioness into the kind of music that influences her when you listen to songs such as For Sure which has that smooth west coast vibe. Stars comes through on a very differently unexpected vibe – unashamedly African and vibey. It adds new layers to the ones you would have already experienced.
I feel like Lioness started to loosen up on songs such as Tala which is my pick for the December song for this album. This song has a one of those afro-house vibes about it without venturing deep into the genre while captivating the listener. Even on such a danceable beat, she is a hardcore MC through and through. What you see is what you get kinda even considering technique in terms rapping style. Her bars are very symmetrical which gives some predictability to how she delivers on a song. That’s where she is most comfortable. Now where she got me was on the song Meme which is a very personal song that delves into losing a mother from cancer and if anyone has gone through such as\n experience, this song will really enter your emotions. This is where I find music to be therapy but also a language that transcends cultures and societal barriers. That song, is Lioness at her most vulnerable, passionate and unfiltered.
Technically, this album is quite good. The production team did well to stay within trends without just following them. The music sounds fresh and at no point did I feel that it was dated or under threat of being ‘not current’. To be honest, Lioness doesn’t veer off the mark much and this leads me to believe that her upcoming projects will see her become more experimental with her voice. In fact I would love to see her challenge herself a whole lot more because I know she knows she can rap!
At 13 tracks I think she nailed it, just long enough to keep you wanting to know what else she can do and sort enough for you not to lose interest and move on to other things! For a debut full-length offering I see so much potential here. My picks from this project are Way Too Much, Meme, Tala, Sauce, Dreams, Bad and Stars. If you are into hip hop, this one is for you.
Physical copies will go for N$150 if you are in Namibia! You can also purchase on all major online stores – Spotify, Deezer, SoundCloud, Apple Music, YouTube etc
Lioness on Twitter @lioness_CilQ