Well, he never actually ever went anywhere – he’s been collaborating and dropping music videos and singles in a streak so consistent that even his haters have had to give it to him – but two years after the SA Hip Hop Award nominated NORMVL dropped, and the brand that came with it developed and consistently grew, the Durban-based rapper is easing his fans with his second complete project, the Your Absolutely Right EP.
NORMVL was the kind of first official musical release that most rappers wouldn’t mind having. Not only did it birth a new outlook on life for many people to carry as the mixtape was inspired by being comfortable with who you are and accepting your flaws and odd nature as the norm; but the project was also heavily introspective, honest, rich in familiar subject matter and still managed to gain Lwansta (who has now become ByLwansta) attention from the same music industry and critics that he was initially battling to find appeal from – the same music industry and critics that have now become the inspiration for his second official musical project.
In the opening skit of Your Absolutely Right, the listener is eavesdropping. We’re listening in on a conversation with Lwansta who is being convinced that, despite his talent and his acquired sound and style that people seem to be loving, his music needs a switch up – a less lyrical and more party-orientated switch up. “You can still do your real shit, but, like, just… switch it up!” It almost feels as though this conversation is symbolic of the public: the tweeters, the comment section loiterers, the “experts”, and the fans too. We’ve all, at some point, grown frustrated and developed our own opinions on exactly what our favourite artists should do to either maintain or improve their position in a music industry full of change and hungry, desperate artists succumbing to pressures to stay relevant. In this EP, ByLwansta addresses this. He is not that artist.
That copy and paste shit? That isn’t where my mind is
“We know that you can rap but you don’t always have to remind us”
You’re absolutely right!
– NORMVL Still
While Lwansta still touches on relationship conflict, such as on Grey featuring Kimosabe; how challenging society and expectations can be on Funny How featuring Saida; and he still aggressively attacks beats as he vents his frustrations as heard on The Sigh, The Routine and Stay At Home with Sipho The Gift, Your Absolutely Right shows huge artistic development from all other previous works
I haven’t signed to a label they asked me how come
Cause I’ll fucking make it without one!
We all thought success would be the outcome
Till I lost mixtape of the year to album
And then I realized, this shit is not about the perfection it’s Really bout who you know and all your fucking connections
So don’t ever rely on people cause people will piss you off
Same people who put you on, can easily take you off
So put yourself on Lwansta, till it’s hard to ignore us
– Something To Say
After reading up on why the spelling of Your Absolutely Right is the way it is, and after reading the rapper’s explanation of the sarcasm within the title of the EP, I couldn’t help but further admire something I’ve always appreciated about ByLwantsa: his ability to understand his position in the game and how the industry views him. This is important for any artist. It allows for the bettering of oneself in the areas that need improvement while still staying true to your art. ByLwantsa’s artistry has been evolving between 2014 and now – not just musically but business wise and with the visuals as well, and Your Absolutely Right shows this leap clearly. One of the most obvious ways in which ByLwansta has done this is in the packaging or presentation of the EP that comes complete with a digital booklet and lyrics.
Thanks to Swiff D, Yondo, Champ, Beat Mochini, LonzTooStoned, Jrobb X Slater and ByLwantsa himself, the lively production brings the EP together very well. If you’re a first-time ByLwansta listener, this EP would be a great introduction. He highlights his good qualities and ends on an incredibly high note with Something To Say, one of the strongest joints, featuring Clara-T.
Your Absolutely Right lends itself as an EP that emphasizes the importance of self-belief and how the fickle opinions of others might just end up being the thing that keeps a person’s art in a vicious cycle of mimicry and stagnancy. “Just do you”, is essentially the message of the EP, and this comes across loud and clear with some catchy hooks, and enjoyable verses.