If you haven’t jumped on the Robin Thirdfloor bandwagon yet I’d highly recommend you do so – and his brand new EP Zazi is just the place to start. The Durbanite rapper has a taste for the heavier, beat-centric end of the hip-hop spectrum and he knows just how to juggle the many interests of his audial ear.
Zazi (A Story About Self Awareness) comes as something of a sequel to his 2019 release Zithande (A Story About Self Love) – and chronicles his musical journey, finding himself, and the success he has managed to achieve by simply being that self. Thirdfloor has hard-edged quality to his sound which sets it apart from his contemporaries with an impressively even-tempered gauge.
Cascading chimes meet percussive kwaito beats. Vocals slip seamlessly between Zulu and English without pause. He enlists the vocal cords of Rhea Blek and Just Jabba in “Weekend”, and the quick-tongued verses of kasi rappers Young Cannibal in “Izinja”. He gets real about Covid-19 and the challenges faced by black youth (“Awareness”), channels almost sultry synths in “Lerato (Uyajola)”, and even penned an ode to that TGIF feeling (“Weekend”).
While the South African hip hop scene is heaving with life, Thirdfloor has carved out a niche almost entirely for himself, right from the beginning.