With over 7 million all-time streams in just 3 days after its release, there is no doubt that this is one of the greatest hip hop body of works ever released in South Africa. The 14 track posthumous album has definitely received some positive feedback on social media.
Mass Country has reached over 7 million streams on Spotify alone and it's currently the number 1 album in 10 countries. Long live Super Mega. 🙏🕊— Nkanyezi (@NkanyeziKubheka) February 25, 2023
The Album kicks off with the beautiful drum-less track titled 'Last Time.' Given the sad reality of AKA's passing, one would assume his spirit was conscious of its departure from earth, I mean, just take a look at a line he rapped in this song,
"I said, dust myself off and make my way to the next time, This is the last time."
Now that he is no longer with us in person, he leaves with a parting gift of his latest album, where he has reincarnated himself through it.
"Mega it's a miracle, you came back from the dead." (Last Time, Mass Country)
On the surface, this song is a reminisce of his music journey, as he pays tribute to the likes of Johnny Clegg, Khuli Chana, Zahara, Zake Bantwini, Tuks, Mi Casa, Jabba, Amu, Teargas and Skwatta Camp.
On the Song 'Mbuzi,' we are reminded of the version of AKA that we knew from the early days of his music career. Here he samples lyrical elements from the unofficial national anthem of South Africa 'Sista Bethina.' The raw-ness and trap-iness of the freestyle and Motswako rap input from 'Thato Saul' is a revival of the once upon a time South African hip-hop glory days where freestyles and mix-tapes were an integral aspect of the culture, in defiance of the mainstream commercial rap. Thato Saul did justice on this song, 'HHP' and 'Pro-kid' would have been proud.
Collaborations and Sound
There is no doubt that AKA's vision for this project was to marry the origins of his hip-hop style with the contemporary and relevant style of today. Within this spectrum, the former is represented by collaborations with 'Khuli Chana' on 'Parada,' and Sjava on 'Sponono.' Representing the latter are new school artists like 'Nasty C,' on 'Lemonade,' 'Blxckie' on two songs 'Paradise,' and 'Dangerous.'
What made AKA one of the greatest hip hop Artists in the country was how he was able to sample South African sounds and classics into the sound of his music. It is no doubt that this technique enabled him to create one his best albums 'Touch My Blood' which consisted of hit songs such as 'Fela in Versace,' 'Caiphas Song,' 'The World Is Yours',' and 'Jika.' It was definitely a surprise and pleasure to experience that version of AKA once again in Mass Country, with the song 'company' topping the charts.
To put it frankly, the 'Megacy' experienced a bit of a dry spell after the 'Touch My Blood' album as the consecutive albums that followed suit weren't really satisfactory. Everyone always reminisced of the days when AKA made music with 'Yanga Chief' which are considered to be the glory days in his discography. Luckily, the fans got to experience that magic once again with the song 'Ease' where 'Yanga Chief'' is featured. With a sound that was flexible and with collaboration that represent different styles and epochs, Mass Country is an album for all masses. Every SA hip hop palate was catered for.
Testing out Amapiano
"People say Hip-hop died, that's nonsense, thank GOD they showed they true colors, switched up piano like vultures." (Lemonade, Mass Country)
We all wonder how Cassper Nyovest, Reason, and many other hip-hop artists who succumbed to the Amapiano wave must have felt listening to that line. However, here is a plot twist, on this new album there is a low tempo, log drum song titled 'Amapiano.' (lol). To classify the song under the Amapiano genre would be negligence, however it does have hints of the genre, perhaps AKA was trying to tell us something, that if he really wanted to, he would ride on the wave. It goes without mentioning, though AKA never really succumbed to the pressure to divert to Amapiano to maintain relevance, collaborating with 'Musa keys' reveals how he was open to work with the genre's artists. This further reveals the whole vision of the album, Mass Country, music to all the masses, including the Piano-heads.
Overall, this was an exceptional Album, the numbers can attest to this. Those who have been long time fans of AKA will really understand and appreciate the richness of this album, and those who may not really appreciate the intricacies of music may over-look certain elements that make this a great album.
Rest in peace, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes.