Blaqbonez is closed to full-formed and

The final instalment of MI Abaga's LAMB August trilogy is a vibrant, 10-track project from the talented rapper, Blaqbonez, which is now classified as his officially released debut album.

If you are one of those who just heard of Blaq Bonez based on his affiliation with MI and 100 Crowns, then ''Bad Boy Blaq'' is a wrong place to start.

His evolution from the boy who raps into the all-around artist comes full circle on this tape, presenting him with a chance to impress at a high level for the first time in his over seven years journey.

For a number of us, BlaqBonez has been on our radar almost since the first time he popped up.

I remember writing an article with unbridled excitement when he released the single, ''South Africa Must Go'' in 2015 featuring rapper Oladips. That was a joint and a half and one that announced Oladips as another rapper headed for great things.

But like time has since proven, rap in the last few years have not been at its most viable streak, so no sooner had Oladips bagged a deal with Reminisce's Edge Records, Blaqbonez also began to tap into the Trap sound that was beginning to take over the scene, and then ironically join forces with the same man who states that ''South African rappers are killing us''.

Last year Blaqbonez put out a prophetic tape, titled ''Last Time Under'', indeed he had envisioned this and wanted to give his fans a final piece of Blaqbonez the rapper and as I watched him at the LAMB listening session, where he stated, "I decided to start making music, not just rap because I've rapped, I've rapped, I've rapped," one could foretell that indeed, this was a risk-it-all step forged to complete his rise from the underground.

Bad Boy Blaq is the closing act in the LAMB August series designed to bring rap to the front burner of music conversation.

A series that has witnessed the fiery joint project, Crown by Loose Kaynon and AQ, the therapeutic Yung Denzel by MI, and now it was time for Blaq to embrace the spotlight and not even Eminem dropping a surprise album on the same day could dim his shine.

The project contains features from label heads, Loose and AQ, rapper Alpha, the talented Oxlade and Terry Apala.

The album opens with 'Accommodate' and it doesn't get any wavier than this, a song that eases you brilliantly into the breezy journey.

Then there is 'Denied', the song that settles you into insane tendencies, the bouncy feel alone is mesmerizing and his flow on this comes so confidently devastating, as he gets major co-signs from older cats.

Previously released single, Play remains a symbolic standout and stands superior to almost every other track on the project.

Why there is no video for this yet remains a mystery, but this is the joint that will have the choir singing at their loudest voices, as he coherently brings together his newly found direction in terms of melody, hook and flow, and is one that should easily fit into playlists across radio stations.

The first guest offering is Oxlade on 'Mami Water' and even though he brings his unique reggae feel on the opening moments, Blaqbonez in a way sounded like someone who had forgotten how to lay a proper 16 as he struggled to match his energy.

'Consent' is as important a song, as it is a discussion that more rappers need to touch on, ''All I need is your consent'', he sings, I would have preferred fewer effects and more intentional lyrics on this very essential song, but it takes quite little away, the message stays clear, especially with the words at the end.

Blaqbonez lets Loose Kaynon and A-Q in on 'Lowkey', production here is smooth, Blaq is (T)rapping, Loose and Q manage to soften up on this without sounding out of place.

'Tosin's Song' and '5am' are interesting songs laden heavy with hypnotic sound effects but however lack replay value, while 'Woke' is very effortlessly delivered to offer a turn up anthem, as he rhymes, ''I gat a lot of fucks, that I never get to use''.

Terry Apala digs in with his usual Apala influenced Trap sound as they bring the project to a fairly euphoric end with 'I Told You.'

While a number of rap albums come with the 'Parental Guidance, Explicit Content' warning, 'Bad Boy Blaq' sounds like one that will have an 'Adult Guidance, Kids Content' tag.

It is a project built less on a theme or tangible substance, production across board is top-tier, staying constant with previous LAMB offerings in quality and its infectious harmony.

The albums' strongest highlights come with the opening tracks. Blaqbonez deploys different flows for a number of the songs, while his delivery is playful and lends each song a groovy vibe, but as it progresses, the experiment begins to lack punch, inspiration and sounds overdeployed.

There will probably come a point in the coming years, where critics and 'Hip-hop head' who struggle to relate with anything Trap will be forced to step aside and accept that we are stepping into the future and the genre as it once was now wears a new coat and rappers need to adapt to eat.

But for now, Bad Boy Blaq offers a handful of songs that point to something brewing, yet falling short of making a definitive statement to sway the conversation in its favour.

Rating: 3/5


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