/ 20 December 2012

Khuli Chana: Mother tongue lyricism

Khuli Chana: Lost in Time

Khuli Chana is known for his motswako music, which is the mixture of Setswana, English and other vernacular languages in rap lyrics. For me, listening to a motswako album has always been a slow and enjoyable process. One can always either relate to the songs, or at least be entertained (I'm usually in stitches) over some of the ridiculous lyrics.

That was was what I was expecting when I listened to Chana’s sophomore album Lost in Time, which comes almost three years after his acclaimed debut album, MotswakOriginator.

In a recent interview with the M&G, Chana spoke of how easy it easy it is to write in his mother tongue. This, he says, makes it easier for his audience to relate to his music. This comes across on Lost in Time.

The album varies from relaxed songs with easy beats such as Chilling, Capunta and Pina (Love this Music) which have the same smooth sound and relaxed way of delivering lyrical punchlines with that made previous songs, such as Freshe, such radio hits. The funky hip-hop tunes such as Mnatebawen remind you why motswako rap came to be so popular.

Chana has inserted comedic skits between the tracks, such as the occasional radio snippet of a cute little girl attempting to sing one of his songs. At one point, In a morbid twist, he throws in a line from the infamous Johannesburg gangster Maleven. For me, these detracted from an otherwise good album.

A pleasant surprise on the album is Chana's collaboration with Stoan Seete in the a house tune titled Pina ya Kalawa. This upbeat track leaves you dancing and wanting more. Other  songs to look out for are Ketane, Hape and Pina.

Chana's ability to move from playful lyrics to songs with a bit more meaning, without being preachy, makes this album a good option for when you are looking for great beats made for pure enjoyment.