Album in Focus: Risky Life 2 by Holy Ten

When Risky Life was released, it was Holy Ten's magnum opus. His pièce de résistance. His Monalisa. He has now reached far greater heights than back in 2021 when that album was released but that will always be his defining project. So when he announced a sequel, I was definitely excited.

However, Risky Life 2 had big shoes to step into. A part two to one of Zimhiphop's greatest albums ever. A tough act to follow, because Risky Life wasn't only celebrated for its artistry but also its cultural impact. It was one of the moments that turned the tide on the urban music airwaves from being dominated by Zimdancehall, to having Zimhiphop artists as household names.

While the bar set was high, Risky Life 2 certainly had a life of its own even before it was released. There were no singles in the build-up, just a freestyle and a social media verse challenge. Holy Ten did not have the feigned humility of the Holy Ten of 2021 but he was in a far more boisterous mood. Risky Life 2 was announced as a 13-track album. With every song being accompanied by visuals.

Holy Ten - Risky Life 2 album download mp3 zip

Secondary School kicks off the project and it's very much the typical album intro. Holy Ten sounds reflective about why he is the way he is. He's outspoken and has a total disregard for political correctness. It definitely sets the tone for what comes in the rest of the 12 tracks. 

While not the classical vocal talent, Kimberley Richard (Holy Ten's wife) features again on this project and shows us that lightining certainly strikes more than once. She first made her debut vocal appearance on the song "Too Scared", from Holy's third album. The track instantly became a hit and Risky Life 2 showcases that it was far from being a fluke. Mr & Mrs Ten collaborate again on the tracks Banga and Ndotukuda. Two more examples are that the couple knows how to make a hit song. 

Sorry Boss is the third track on this project and it has a heavy bass line but it's pretty much a playful trap track. It's definitely filler but there's a certain vibe to it that gives it replay value. Wake Up ft Mr. Candy is a slow-tempo love song that blends together elements of Amapiano and RnB with Hiphop. It's easy on the ear, and although not the most outstanding record it's great to listen to.

Baba Vasina Basa celebrates or you could say is dedicated to all the fathers. "There is no father who doesn't matter" as the title says is a sentiment echoed again and again, in not only the chorus but Holy Ten's verse. It speaks not only about how class shouldn't define the importance of a father but also how our society lacks the guidance of a family patriarch.

Hakuna baba vasina basa, chero vasina basa
Ndibaba vane zuda, sha ndibaba vane rasta
Ndibaba engineer, ndibaba vari pastor
Ndibaba vari teacher vanoponda nemaduster
Ndibaba vamwa beer, ndibaba vadya sadza
Ndibaba vane beemer, ndibaba vane marafter
Ndibaba zvichidziya, sha ndibaba zviri padhaza
Ndibaba nhingi zviya, hakuna baba vasina basa

Mureza ft Poptain is a song of patriotism, with a sprinkle of propaganda. Yet for all its flaws it's such a good song sonically. It is uptempo with an Afro-fusion quality to it. It will undoubtedly have an audience that loves it, both now and in election season.

Jongwe ft Kayflow is a marvel of storytelling. Holy Ten and Kayflow tell a fictional but very real story of the imaginary character Jongwe and how he lost his way. It is the art of rap at its finest. When Kayflow said, "Jongwe akaitwa most played asina Spotify", I couldn't help but smile. Side note: What a talented rapper Kayflow is.

Are You Really Leaving? sounds very experimental but it's an easy favourite. Holy Ten described Risky Life 2 as an album inspired by loss. The loss of people, reputation, money, and opportunities and making mistakes. This all resulted in him feeling the urge to return to the beginning. Risky Life. These feelings are summed in Paranoia. One of the better tracks on this album.

If looked at the terms of storytelling alone, there's a certain alignment to the album. Sonically the music is nomadic but the lyricism sort of binds it together. Risky Life Interlude closes out the album and it's a bit like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Because while titled interlude it's certainly an outro.

Risky Life 2 when looked at in isolation is a good album. Certainly not great but when you open the lens, you realize it's another defining album in a great run. It's Holy Ten's third album in 13 months and he has maintained a standard. In looking back on his journey, Risky Life 2 defines him as one of the greatest hip-hop artists we've ever had. You could argue about that in terms of talent but in terms of creative output, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone working harder than him.

Greedysouth rating: 7/10

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