Album in Focus: Problematic By Suhn & Icey Ekxne

Trap Music is without a doubt one of the budding sub-genres on the Zimbabwean hip-hop landscape. It might be far different from the conventional Zimbabwean sounds but when you realize we have all the ingredients that gave birth to the Atlanta-born genre then it becomes easy to understand why it enjoys those pockets of popularity. I know we don't have the traditional "Trap houses" but we've got our Jezzman spots and corners. 

We certainly "trap" the same, although for us here it's fewer opioids and more cough syrup, the gangs are fewer guns and more machetes. Then that feeling of being trapped in a cycle of poverty, in a small geographical location, in a rough situation... well we have problems like that and more. This brings me to Problematic! Problematic is the quintessential trap tape, albeit short, it is truly problematic. A collaboration between rising artists in the Zimhiphop space Suhn and Icey Ekxne.

Problematic By Suhn & Icey Ekxne Review

You could say Icey Ekxne is the Jnr Brown to Suhn's Tehn Diamond, concerning their chemistry and the different ends of the HipHop spectrum they bring together. Suhn has captured the sound from how it's made in Atlanta and Icey Ekxne brings uniquely Zimbabwean elements to his music. What you have is a duo that just works. Music that reaches out to both sides of Samora. I mean I could be biased because I've always been a Suhn fan but Icey Ekxne feels like exactly the wingman he needed.

Problematic has an edge to it, it has some bars you'll side-eye, some you might even see as abrasive, it's the trap sound in its rawest form. Its high energy and tempo, with equally vibrant hooks delivered in Suhn's signature twang. The EP opens up with Time Time, which is probably the stand-out track. Icey brings the punch lines in a verse that blends English and vernacular, while Suhn simply glides on the trap instrumental with a heavy bass line.

From What's That to Forgive Me, Icey Ekxne delivers constant nuggets in the form of his insane bars. It goes from no under 18 references to myths from Shona culture. Lines like "My shit triple x, you thought you wouldn't masturbate" leave you thinking no way he said that and bars like "Dripping on them kuita kunge njuzu yabuda munyanza" although humourous feel like an ingenious reference.

The production is varied enough to avoid the mistake that happens in Trap Music often of sounding generic. However, the project wouldn't be what it is without Suhn. He grounds it and gives Icey Ekxne room to be his colourful self. Some bars definitely close the line, but rappers have always defined their limits by their own rules. There has been the Holy Ten-ification of Zimhiphop that has brought up a line of stars who drop bars in hoarse tones on slow trap beats and Problematic adds needed variety to that.

It's, however, a project with some missteps, great on vibes but low on impactful lyricism and sometimes missing on balancing those two factors kills the replay value. There is massive potential in both artists and Problematic has a lot more good about it than bad. Although I feel Kudhara Moves brings down the group average a little, I wouldn't mind a few more tracks from the duo.

Greedysouth rating: 6.4/10

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