Review

Lakei’s, Songs For…, is a confident love letter to classic hip hop and R&B that strikes a perfect balance of flow, soothing vocals, and catchy bars

“Introduce U” is, quite fittingly, the perfect introduction to the tape, and offers a glimpse at the many sides of Lakei. The vocals are controlled and executed with precision, and the bars never disappoint. Liam Alex’s immaculate voice provides an extra layer of beauty to the track. It’s the type of cut that begs a cool drink poolside in the summer. 

With tracks like “Main Road Flows” and “Flights 2 Catch”, Lakei is at his best. His ability goes beyond being able to rap, produce and sing – he knows how to make a song work. His presence is felt throughout the former, and the harmonic refrains leave you bobbing your head to the sound of Lakei’s everyday life. “Flights 2 Catch” slows it down again, and there’s a calming beauty that comes with it. The vocals of Sascha Felix will grab you by your feelings and drag them out before the beat change hits and Lakei slides in with some passionate story-telling. Lyrics referencing a complex, and possibly long-distance, relationship top off a track that is beautiful all-in-all.

“Salt Bae” feels like an ode to love, lust, family, desire, and everything in between. In no time you’ll be singing, “Told my Mama Imma be a millionaire.” An aspiration we can all relate to: to be successful and make our parents proud. The chorus is catchier than the flu and the hook compliments it perfectly.

The personal favourite here is “Back for Me” that features the unbelievably talented Nalu. It’s like being brought back to the mid-2000s, where R&B love songs were at their peak, and “My Boo” by Usher and Alicia Keys kept you and your Grade 7 crush living your best life. This song makes me want to go outside and choreograph a dance in the rain. Nalu’s captivating voice holds a grip I hope never ends. Her vocal range is something to marvel. Lakei’s ability to control his vocals and optimise the output has grown in leaps and bounds. It’s a superb feeling to hear someone so talented come into their own.

The EP closes with “Your Blame”, a song that touches on post-love indifference, and the freeing feeling of realizing that all you need is yourself.  “Spend a long time trying to get you off my mind” is probably the most relatable lyric on the EP. Lakei’s word play, flow switches, and rhyme scheme end the EP off in the best way possible. I have to emphasise that Lakei produced this entire album by himself, and it is quite blatantly fire all ‘round.

Lakei is a DJ, producer, rapper, singer and multi-talented, self-taught student of sound. I do not speak lightly when I say we are witnessing an artist that is bound to do big things. Lakei is Cape Town’s hidden gem, let’s make sure he stays.