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Oliver: For the Dude Who’s Working on Himself

An admirably introspective collection, regardless of occasional dissonances.

15 Dec 2017 / Opinion, Review / written by Timothy Kohler

The Eastern Cape has been producing some of South Africa’s finest hip hop acts in recent years and producer and graphic designer Sizwe Oliver Mangcotywa is no exception,, having recently released a particularly introspective collection under his moniker, Oliver.

“For the Dude Who’s Working on Himself” was released in a relatively unusual manner: the album’s exclusively available on Mangcotywa’s website for download only. Considering the unprecedented rise of streaming service use and the accompanied drop in global downloads, in addition to operating in a country whose data prices are one of the highest in the world, we hope Oliver’s method leads to his benefit and not detriment.

Lyrically, the album encompasses a self-reflective narrative. From touching on themes of influence, contrasting motives and fulfillment, it “finds an ambitious Oliver going through a period of self-analysis as to what really matters most to him.” Additionally, the EP branches into accepting that “that trying to love and understand him could highly hurt the next person”.  A necessary and sobering transition most of us have to make.

Despite the occasional off-key dissonance in some of the tracks’ elements, the album embodies an admirably self-assertive, intricate dynamic. The emotive ‘Roses’ incorporates dense beats accompanied by piercing synths, followed by engulfing bass lines and a Kanye West-esque rap intonation in ‘Good Drugs’ and triumphant ‘Sikelela’. Although ‘Pretend’ exhibits a somewhat out-of-place dynamic, follow-ups ‘Fall Down’ and ‘Long.Lost.Love’ showcase beautiful ebb-and-flow instrumentals in a spherical lounge-esque undercurrent.

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Listen to “For the Dude Who’s Working on Himself” here.