There was a time Malawian Christian Hip-Hop was at its prime, records were being released, concerts being thrown and hype accompanied album releases. I can’t remember the last time a record this exciting dropped, in case you have been under a rock; I am talking about Suffix’s debut Ep “DeThrone”. The EP was officially launched on Joy Nathu’s ‘Made on Monday’, where the rapper also launched his website where the EP is being housed. This is the rapper’s first official release as well as the first release with his management team “Lestwai”. Its been a while since I’ve done an album review (some people have been asking for it), plus I always Joked with Aubrey (Suffix’s real name) about how I will review his Ep, and here it is.
The EP kicks off with the first single released from the EP, and a couple of months later this track still sounds fresh. I love how the entire song transitions, from the first bar in the song he builds up to the ending of the song and the sermon excerpt. Honestly this song is perfect, Suffix’s confidence and articulateness stands out in this track.
When the second track started playing and I heard “Mista Gray Aise”, I already had a high expectation for the song from both Gray and Suffix. Mista Gray didn’t deliver as I expected or perhaps I set the bar too high, the chorus was also disappointing. This song had such great potential to stand out based on the Mista Gray and Suffix combo but it sadly ends up being a very forgettable track, something about it that sounds easy and out of sync.
Exhibit A brought my attention back to the EP, Regenerate has such a commanding voice that you can’t help but pay attention to. The beat (produced by stone) and the features mesh beautifully as the rappers talk about Christian love and unity that should really have no boundaries regardless of your status or beliefs. Olivia’s voice stands out and blends in well with the feel of the song, she does a great job in bringing out the emotional feel of the song. The song ends on a perfect note and transitioning us to a more emotional track titled “talent” which again features Olivia who delivers strong vocals that do not take away from the content of the song, but highlights it.
“If I love Jesus, then I should love his bride too”- Suffix
On this track Suffix opens up about his struggles as a person who is an artist and how God has used various situations in His life to chastise him. Talent has a way of making the listener feel like they know the rapper not just as “suffix” but also Aubrey Ghambi, I appreciate the rawness of the song which leads me to sympathize and pray for him. A good reminder that he is more than a voice we hear on the radio, he is a Christian who God is still working on.
“My disobedience was part of his plan to break me first”- Suffix
We transition to a lighter note with the more Malawian beat (prod. BFB) that samples the legendary song “Lameck”, you can’t help but vibe to this song. The song has a very relaxed feel to it but both Suffix and KBG drop some gems (word of wisdom). I love that the song brings not only a Malawian beat but a Malawian story, we have so many “Lameck’s” around us (and in us), and I hope that more of them (us) can access to this song. These are words of wisdom that our young people need to hear, the fact that it is done in a street style language (slang) that every young person can understand carries a lot of weight. As someone involved in youth ministry, I appreciate this song and its content a lot and I know I’ll be sharing it with our young people.
“anakamvela Lameck zinakamuthandiza/ akawona ngati moyowu ndiwoselewetsa/ Sankaziwa kuti moyo si Mario/ supezekaso mwai wina ukawona maliro”- KBG
Ziwindi is that track you just want to ride to and dance to, Abel Chungu’s chorus just brings those “vibes”, the kind you just want to bop your head to. The beat, the chorus and verses in harmony sound like a bold proclamation that the song is! The song makes you want to stand and proclaim “imma go down for this faith”! It will definitely be on rotation for some weeks! I would love to say who killed who and who was weak, but I don’t want to take out anything from the track, it’s a stand out regardless.
The EP ends with the highly anticipated song “Inkosi” featuring Mag44, Lily Million and Church. Lily Million has some outstanding vocals and this track doesn’t do them justice, they could have definitely be delivered more powerfully. I would love to witness this song live, the chorus has a way of taking the eyes off of the talented individuals and reminding us why this EP was titled Dethrone. Although the song for the most part speaks of the glory of God, there is a danger even for Christian rappers for one to talk more about themselves than for the focus to be solely on God, this song faces the risk of being one of those songs.
Stand Out Tracks: Ndinakakhala judge, Talent, Lameck, Ziwindi and Inkosi.
From his unofficial release “D.O.S”, Suffix has grown tremendously as an artist and it has been such a beautiful thing to watch. From his effortless transitions from Chichewa to English, to his confidence and eloquence it is all impressive. Even more impressive is the artist’s growth spiritually and theologically, especially when you compare to the substance in DOS, that break he took from music paid off. The Dethrone EP is a solid offering from Suffix and the Letswai team, it’s been a while since the Malawi CHH scene was this exciting. The combination of sound theology, relevance and influence is something is not very common in the current Christian Hip Hop scene, but it’s something God has blessed Suffix with. I hope that as Christians, we will unite in praying or our brother, lifting him up and supporting him where need be. You can download the EP on his website suffixmusic.com or malawi-music.com, and you can follow him on twitter @SuffixMw.