Album in Focus: Ghetto Yut EP by Bling4 - The Ghetto Gospel

Once upon a time arguably, Bling4's status among the top artists in Zimbabwean Hip Hop has become undeniable. Yet with that revered position comes a set level of expectations, and if you fall below that, your self-declarations are quickly seen as just hyperbole. At the present moment, Zim Hip Hop feels like a genre that is ever-evolving and while staying true to himself in the stories he tells, Bling4 is definitely evolving with it.

Bling4 - Ghetto Yut EP

As an artist, his key elements have always been his unique cadence, constant social commentary in his lyricism and relatability, brought about by not only his application of colloquial language but the stories he tells. An artistic makeup that has been key to his rise. These are all elements he brings to his latest body of work in abundance. 

Ghetto Yut EP by Bling4

The Ghetto Yut EP is the Ghetto Gospel told through the eyes of the Zimbabwean youth. Bling4 is the preacher but the only tithe demanded is your time to listen (of course the data to stream the music costs a small fortune but that's Potraz, Econet and Netone's fault). The EP is alive with not only Bling4's personal stories but also the stories of what he sees around him.

While Bling4 is never low on belief in himself, this project doesn't have that typical rap bravado of "I am him". It has high-energy instrumentals that drive you to dance but the lyricism, more often than not demands reflection. Mukati however defies that mould by being the outright party track, and with Enzo Ishall as the featured artist, those were definitely the vibes expected. 

While in some instances Ghetto Yut has the feeling of a compilation, something the project's rollout added to, you can see the themes that unite the music. Beyond the storytelling, the project's DNA is rhythmic and textural, a testament to Bling4's great beat selection. 

28 MaGEEZ is high energy with a heavy bass line and electronic elements but the instrumental doesn't overshadow the vocals. It feels personal in subject matter but Bling4 still reflects on societal ills like the abuse of crystal meth. Ama2k eases on the tempo and it is a critique of the state of society in the age of social media. It might feel directed at the generation of the 2000s by its title and chorus but it feels like it has a broader application to society.

Hazvidi Kudhipisa reflects on understanding how to let go when a relationship ends. It makes reference to Levels and Shashl's relationship, and it is a very relevant message to Zimbabwe society. However in my book Vana Venyu which features Gemma Griffiths is the EP's defining song. Not because that's where we get the best of Bling4 but it has a sincerity to it that makes it most memorable and it has the greatest potential for radio. Gemma Griffiths is as sensational as always and together with Bling4 the duo gives the Ghetto Gospel its most poignant chapter.

Takano Eazer is another great collaboration, it carries the same high-energy instrumentals characteristic of this project, and Bling4 and Runna Rules play off each other well. All in all the Ghetto Yut EP is a great display of Bling4's artistry. It places us right on the path for another great year in Hip Hop. The project's execution, in both the quality of the music and its rollout (single releases with a video for each track), is near perfect.

Greedysouth rating: 7.2/10

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