Kid Tini: The Second Coming (album review)

By Rita Kufandarerwa (Amber Stones)

The Second Coming album cover.

The Second Coming by Kid Tini is an album that more rappers can benefit from by simply making it their blueprint. South African (SA) hip hop has not seen a seismic-shifting rap album since the days of A- Reece’s Paradise or Dakar II, all of which took SA hip hop to a notch above. The Second Coming is a well-arranged debut, laden with every tenet that qualifies a piece of art as classic- from collaborations, production and engagement. It would be grossly remiss not to give the album a solid five mics. The album lives up to the hype which Kid Tini himself declared over it: listeners will hear God speaking through him.

Amen, which was first released as a single was my first favourite. Similar to a Kanye West production, the song has a choral hook which can catapult anyone to deep spiritual crevices. Kid Tini is a poet and the song is a testimony of his poetic prowess. For some listeners like me who believe in the catharsis potential of rap music, Winning is the song that effectively cleans all thoughts of self-doubt.

Most rappers struggle with striking an equilibrium insofar as albums are concerned. The Second Coming is well balanced with the entire rap gamut applied to every track. Songs like Nana Thola, Satane, Icebo, Andisabona, Habana Loka, Bafana and Delela were delivered in vernacular languages. The debate about preserving the linguistic integrity in rap songs is forever in SA hip hop circles. Rappers who predominantly rap in indigenous languages are often classified as authentic because they do not munch American phonics and expressions. Rappers who rap in English are always referred to as wannabes or lacking full linguistic competence. The debate around the use of language is a futile one because hip hop originated from the US, the Americanisation will always be prevalent. Kit Tini did away with critics who ride on language or dialect wave by simply conveying his messages in SeSotho and IsiZulu.

Rap music has its genesis in the emancipation of black people from shackles of mental and financial slavery. Rappers are the freedom fighters who use their words to effect change and rebuke self-hatred. In My People, Kid Tini addressed the issue of our time- African unity. By saying:

United we could build but we tear each other down/Instead of breaking rules, we could be breaking ground/Cause those who did found a way to sell us what they found.

The rapper beseeches brown people to realize their potential. Kid Tini is a freedom fighter using his lyrics to solve issues of his time. The message could not have come at any time suitable than now.

The versatility of the album is confirmed by a track called Lollipop. This track has all the sonic trappings of the neo-rap and lyricism, it will be enjoyed by the young listeners as a turn-up song. Kid Tini concludes his album with Life, a poem that is meant to keep us grounded when times are turbulent.

Having released Sound Mind (EP) in 2019, it was natural for critics like me to expect a sophomore jinx. The Second Coming nullified the jinx by surpassing all the lack-lustre expectations. The album was released from the Ambitiouz Entertainment stable which is the record label to which Kid Tini is signed. While we are used to record-label related drama, this album is important for the record label and the artist. The former calcified its position of unearthing the best local rap talent while the latter was launched into SA hip hop royalty.

It will be good for the culture is Kid Tini maintains his obsessive devotion to the craft. The mainstream airwaves are replete with rappers whose ability to depress in the name of entertainment is unrivaled. The Second Coming eclipses all the tasteless rap music that we are being fed.

Play music, be carried away- eternal orgasm.