Some call him music maestro; some say he is King of the Decks while others reckon he is the best thing to ever happen in the South African music landscape. Whichever way you call him, Rabs Vhafuwi is proving yet again that he is a force to be reckoned with after the release of his latest sophomore album, Hear Me Now.
Making a follow up from his first release that had a thumping tune ’Count Your Blessings’, the multi-instrumentalist who doubles as a DJ has made another impressive return with this latest offering which is equipped with fifteen well-jotted house tunes.
Even though there is a lot to talk about regarding the new album, what really standout the most is Rabs’ musical diversity in which he offers the listener songs from commercial party bangers to soulful and mellow jams.
Leading the pack and reassuring his fans to trust his take on music, the talent goes out of his way to put together a party hit, ‘Entara’ which he featured Kalawa Chikita, Busiswa. What is so special about this take is Busiswa’s ability to fit into the song and offer more of the sing-along vocals. While the songstress did her utmost to breath life into an already well-cooked beat, Rabs should also be given credit for his unique music doctoring skills! Not only does he puts together songs that make one to fall in love with house music all over again, his arrangement skills and musical instruments he throw into a song like the Rhodes piano sound, and sub-minimal lead guitar are just a few things to take notice of.
But this lead single is just a tip of the iceberg; the producer takes it to level higher with ‘Shake Your Body’, which he worked on with D-Malice, and it features Alie-Keys on vocal takes. With Alie-Keys offering catchy vocals, Rabs and D-Malice keep the song simple with the relevant up-to-date musical sounds.
After teasing the listener with a more commercial driven tunes, the music doctor makes a turn and panel-beat songs that carry sounds he has become known for – a lot of live instrumentations: piano, lead guitar, bass guitar and trumpet.
Installments such as ‘Light After Dark’, ‘Happy People’ which he looped in his longtime music partner Mizz and ‘The Village Pride’ are some of the songs that best illustrate Rabs’ musical diversity and ability to take the listener on a passionate musical journey.
Having been monitoring the development of house music and changes it has gone through globally, Rabs then teamed up with exceptionally talented vocalist, Mr Mo and former SA Idols contestant, Lungisa on yet another bubbling under hit ‘Baleka’. On this one, all the trio did was to simply showcase their musical prowess – from the song’s composition, lyrical content to the final cut.
On Hear Me Now, there are many other tunes one can enjoy like ‘The Healing featuring Mr Mo and Jonny Miller – an international music producer. Not forgetting where he comes from and being proud of his language, Rabs teamed up with TshiVenda vocalist Makhadzi and jot a song, ‘Lufuno’. Even though the lyrics are sung in TshiVenda, this tune is yet another testimony that music is indeed a universal language, spoken and understood by all.
There are other charming songs such as, ‘Journey Within’ (Hear Me Now), which features Bob The Stylist on poetry-in-motion. Claudine Marshall’s vocal command is well showcased in a tune, ‘Guilty’. The composition breathes simple catchy hooks while still maintaining its ground. Here, the artist impressively narrates her story while appetising one’s musical tastes buds.
Other songs to digest are ‘Uya Swikota’, ‘Sophia Town’, Close To You’ – originally done by Bob Ezy, ‘La Lumiere and ‘King of Kings’
Truth be told, Hear Me Now is an all-rounder release with songs that one can listen to any day in any mood. With such a diversity, it’s very clear that what you are bound to come across here is a great project that offers the listener good music.
Listen to ‘Shake Your Body’ using this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUGFU8hXMgQ
Listen to ‘The Village Pride’ using this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji_uuoQkB4E
Listen to ‘Entara’ using this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkEpFUSb7us