Album in Focus: The Girl In The Durag by Hanna. A Young Artist With A Beautiful Emerging Sound.

A while back a tweet about "The girl in the durag" passed my timeline. I'm always one to try out new music but in that moment I just wasn't in the mood. Fast forward a few days later and the mixtape kept popping up in my feed and I finally caved in. I pulled on the thread and dived into the lyrical world of Hanna. A young but fast rising rapper, singer, producer and songwriter. Music has been with her for the longest time as she was attracted to instruments at an early age.

She's an artist who's influenced by the likes of Mick Jenkins, Kehlani, Eminem, Nasty C and J Cole has the honour of being her favourite rapper. The girl in the durag is her first full project that comes on the back of viral rap videos and covers, the honour of being among the 11 winners of Mr. Eazi’s emPawa100 artists and a couple of hot singles.

The project features 11 tracks and in my words it can be best described as this blend of soulful rap and RnB. Hanna doesn't conform to the mould of the pure lyricists or the vocalists but she's an inbetween. I kind of feel like I'm listening yo the musical child of Bryson Tiller and Drake (The rapper version). There's this smooth and captivating feel I got from when I started listening to "The girl in the durag" and it stuck with me throughout.


  1. Never Doubt
  2. Low Key
  3. Heaven Interlude
  4. Okay ft Nalu
  5. The Girl in the Durag
  6. High Life
  7. Bad Habits ft Luna Florentino
  8. Daddy Said
  9. Btw ft Mikyla
  10. Weekend ft Msimisi
  11. Otw

There's intriguing story storytelling interrupted by captivating vocals that make for an easy listen and intense wordplay that leaves us in awe. It seems "The girl in the durag" has taken a while to arrive but it is well worth the wait. It's an exploration of the story Hanna has to tell and it's an exploration of music through those tales.

The first thing that struck me on the title track, The girl in the durag is that Hanna is clearly a potterhead. She goes, "Nigga, we got no new friends just a couple new fans, I just got the Harry Potter new vans". And as a fellow potterhead and a vans lover I instantly said damn where do I get those too. She goes on to say, "Never let the magic die, no Sirius Black, you looking at me funny like I wasn't really as black". And I lost it at that.

My favourite line in the whole jam though is "What's an artist without scars what's a rapper without bars?"

And then there's Weekend ft Msimisi. Have you ever heard a song where the music sinks right into your bones? You ever started thinking this is what I would've said in that moment some years ago but I just didn't have these words. The medium tempo and sprinkles of changes in rhythm took on a memory trip. The song has a heavy texture to the instrumental but the vocal delivery is amazing.

OTW (On the way) is a soft sound that has a lot of well placed snaps that instill the rhyme part right into your head. The chorus has a repetitive nature but Hanna comes through on the verses.The song is a reflection on her journey and a tale from her heart, brought out by lyrics like, "I didn't have a clue who I was but now I'm so proud of my reflection". She also goes (or something along those lines), "Every song that I write is a piece of of my life, a piece of my heart, better treat that shit right" and this slightly reveals how invested she is in her music.

BTW ft Mikyla is uncharacteristic of the mixtapes general sound. It features a quicker tempo with the same dynamic though but Hanna still doesn't miss and Mikyla beautifully holds her own too. The line that stuck with me was, "Caught between leaving you to your peace and being real with you". And there's some soulful humming at the end from Hanna that's reminiscent of peak Kid Cudi.

Daddy said is rich storytelling and Bad habits ft Luna Florentino comes through with the heavy electronic sound of trap beats. It's full of instruments but Hanna and Luna go toe to toe with that instrumental in their lyrical delivery. Luna has this hoarse tone to his voice that reminds me of Kwesta but it has a slightly softer nature to it.

Okay ft Nalu is another deep joint. Nalu serenades us with the sweet nature of her voice then drops the vocals for flow. Hanna remains consistent and the two blend beautifully together. Heaven (interlude) starts of like the recital of a poem but in rap nature, it also features an ambient instrumental at the beginning and it's almost sounds like an acapella performance. Midway through it the rhythm switches nature, Hanna puts on her vocal cap and piano keys are thrown into the instrumental for a rich sound.

I have to take a moment to give it to the production work on this album from Dakari to LNSTHEPRODUCER, Beatsmith, Beat Sampras, Kronik, Tipy, IndrAE and even Hanna herself. The work was phenomenal.

Low key is a smooth number that seamlessly blends in with the rest of The girl in the durag. High life is a vibe but Never doubt is what really kicks the project over the top for me. It has the feeling of a celebration about it, it's easy to go along to while filled with vibrant word play and that hard hitting lyricism. My mind was blown when Hanna went, "This is the flow that you wanted of some more, so let young metro know that we boomin(g)".

And she's definitely safe with that line because I have no doubt in my mind that she would have Young Metro Boomin's trust. 

Greedysouth rating: 7.4/10

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