Album in Focus: Muna Jumbo by Michael Magz

When Michael Magz comes to mind, it is often that the thought that follows is Holy Ten. The New Bhundu Boyz as they called themselves. A skin that the duo has now shedded. Yet a cloud of that success still hangs over Michael Magz. 

Michael Magz - Muna Jumbo album zip mp3 download

This is nothing new to music. Whenever great duos have come together, there's always been one that's seen as more talented. One people think can survive and flourish as a solo act. That was always seen as Holy Ten in this instance, but Michael Magz is certainly proving he's not a wilting flower without the backing of Samanyanga Sounds.

Muna Jumbo might be Michael Magz's debut album but it's not his first big step as a solo act. However Muna Jumbo is already proving it's going to succeed where Canaan EP failed just 4 months ago. Well maybe I should say it's going to build a much larger platform for him, on the foundation of Canaan EP's small successes. While they were more than a few times I felt that Holy Ten was the missing piece to a song while listening to Muna Jumbo, it certainly establishes him as his own man.

However with these reflections shared, I have to say Muna Jumbo is not a very good album. Seemingly earning it's name from the road Michael Magz grew up in, the album title brought expectations of stories from home. The tale of Michael Magz's roots. While he does give us some of that, this album feels like it's everywhere. You would think he was unsure of the recipe following and then decided to just throw everything in.

Muna Jumbo gives us an experience of Michael Magz the rapper, Michael Magz the Dancehall artist and Michael Magz the singer. The different sides of him are all producing good songs but with everything forced to fit together on this album, you get an something that has no cohesion. It could've been two very decent EPs if just curated better.

The only thing truly consistent on Muna Jumbo is how much Michael Magz talks about his car. It doesn't feel like his bragging though but more like he's finally living the life he used dream about. And I understand it though. Let me just get an electric wheelchair and you won't hear me shut up about it. I'll be sending out tweets like, "We used to get pushed, now we push to start".

But then with everything about cohesion said, you have to ask yourself if the market really cares for the careful curation of an album? Michael Magz goes from a punchline rich rap "Intro", into the vibrant Zimdancehall sounding collaboration "Gudhu Plan" with Killer T, into the melodic "Chiheavy". For an album it's a very questionable transition. 

Michael Magz - Muna Jumbo zip mp3 download

Not only sonically but in subject matter. It goes from poignant storytelling of his life and upbringing, into talking about taking a moment to celebrate, then romance. However isn't that how the typical Zimbabwean music fans playlist goes? So can we really say the album was wrongly sequenced when it somehow fits into the Zimbabwean music space?

As a rap fan and a fan of Hiphop, I would give this album as experience a 5/10 at best. But if I ignore all the standards of what makes a good and I treat this like a compilation of singles, my appreciation grows to 6.5/10. The rap fan in me is fed by tracks like Intro, Dhaza, 1774 Flows, I told you, Ndee ft Bagga and Outro. While my Dancehall and Afrobeats side gets to enjoy everything else. 

Sorry ft Freeman is certainly one of my standout favourites and it makes you see the genius bit of Michael Magz casting a wide net with all these different genres. For whatever it lacks, Muna Jumbo will certainly win him fans from the general public. The Hiphop heads will be groaning with disappointment, but music is a business after all.

Greedysouth rating: 5.9/10

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