Review

B-boy Branco releases heady hip hop EP sequel, AWAKEN II

Fourteen years ago, Cape Town-based singer-songwriter – operating under the moniker Branco – saved a dream he’d been told was no good from their burning home in Maitland. That dream was hip hop.

With an obvious knack for rhythm and poetry, at the age of seven the B-boy would spit bars to hip hop songs during dance class. Winning rap and dance battles throughout high school, Branco followed his heart using music as an avenue to channel life’s adversities. 

These days Branco is the father to two bodies of work both out on digital distribution: three-year-old Awaken and his newborn, Awaken II. 

The nine-track EP is thoughtfully constructed, with heady lyrics that largely address all the nitty gritties that naturally come within the hip hop territory: working hard, come-ups, women, fakers, paraders and haters, the pain of lost love, and karma.

“Dying” and “Wish” bring this EP home. “Dying” features KingR and Denise and employs the hard-hitting melody from A-Wax’s “Come Down” (originally a SYML melody from single, Fear of the Water) as a foundation for addressing issues of heartbreak, trust and loyalty. “Wish” also floats on a pretty melody which Branco rides with punchy lyrics about proving those who have ever doubted him wrong.

Awaken II is well-constructed in all its raw and edgy glory, and we’re here for it and all that’s to come.