Thami 2 Shoez is a Johannesburg-based rapper, percussionist and vocalist. Commentary is his debut EP, and was released on independent record label Subterranean Wavelength yesterday. Being relatively unknown, there’s an overwhelming sense that he put everything he has into this EP, and rightly so. It was produced by Vox Portent, who is featured on one of the tracks as his second alias Je Suis Ohne.
Where debut EP’s are concerned Commentary hits every nail on its head. From a production stand point, the EP is flawless, versatile and daring. Vox Portent has managed to construct each track in such a way that it does not take away from the next or its predecessor.
Let’s get to the main attraction, Thami. Firstly it was a welcomed change of scenery that Thami didn’t shout as he performed each track, as is common with rappers today. His calm and patient delivery of every word, phrase and sentence was somewhat seductive. His lyrics are relevant, deep, slightly dark, but most importantly they make you think.
Stranded is the opening track of the EP and features Je Suis Ohne. It was also released as a single on the 18th of July. The dreamy vocals leads the way into the track and has a hypnotic effect. Soon after, Thami’s rapping brings you back to reality. Although the vocals and rapping are polar opposites, they have a symbiotic relationship and the sense that the one wouldn’t be as effective without the other is very apparent.
Following Stranded is Curtain Call, a more upbeat and in your face endeavour. With lyrics like “Cos what you see ain’t the prophecy, it’s just probably your redundancy” and “I hope the truth puts you at ease” the imagery created is darker and grittier. Finality is a theme that comes across within the lyrics of the track too. Stand in Line, the third track has a manic feel to it because of the fast paced drum work. The drums also allude to an urgent call to action. Lyrically, Thami speaks about how technology has impacted our lives and how we have almost lost our humanity due to technology. He says, “virtual reality, drinking the essence of humanity, for we are bionic machinery.”
The final track on the EP is Limbo. It has a sneaky build up, and a large garage influence. If you listen close enough you can also hear some gqom influence in the background. It addresses issues such as power and ego, and how our human experience can become consumed by them. “The home of sin is man” is a phrase which is repeated multiple times and emphasises this human condition.
Listen to Commentary below: