Album Review: Jongisizwe by King Joe

The long awaited King Joe debut album Jongisizwe has finally dropped leaving fans excited and eager to learn more about who the man behind the King Joe moniker is. King Joe delivered an album which is true to his identity. As a Xhosa rapper or Xhosa trap star King Joe show cased the cultural influence in the album with him talking about his origins and upbringing. The album moves from high tempo songs to low tempo songs where Joe pours his heart out and expresses his experiences in his journey. From the onset with the poetic message conveyed by Kush Mahleka creates the mood of the album as the story is about to be unfolded. The album as much as it is about King Joe’s start it’s also about him boasting and showing off with Xhosa trap skills as he has claimed several time that he is the Xhosa trap originator.

The intro to the album is voiced by Kush Mahleka with a powerful statement that basically translates to “stand and witness for greatness is upon you”. The words said are accompanied by a low set of tribal drums and tribal chants which invite you into the world of Jongisizwe King Joe’s persona. One of the closing statement said on the ending of the opening track is “a wise has something to say but a fool has to say something” with that statement Kush Mahleka speaks volumes as to what you are about to listen to is no fool’s commentary.

Joe then follows up with a trap influenced salutation with the song Molweni (Hello), this is basically his official opening apart from the Royal intro. In this song there is a skit by a rapper Maxhoseni who passes the baton to Joe as one the Xhosa artist that are influential currently. The flow Joe uses pulls you in and the beat hooks you and never lets you go, the beat gives you a sense of euphoria that reels your interest to listen more.

The 3rd song Senza Kakhulu featuring Flash iKumkani has no overall arch to the main story line of the album but just two artist flossing their rap skill and telling people “Senza Kakhulu(we do too much)”.

On President RamaXhosa Joe proclaims the king is here and I’m the leader of the Xhosa trap wave and he is also telling a story of his upbringing like stating where his father is from and how he grew with his mother in Port St Johns. Joe’s story telling on this song is fast paced so a lot might be missed by first time listeners but he shines a light on where he is mentally.

Endlelni (I’m on my way) is one of the standout songs on the album as Joe pours his heart out on this 3 minute song. He is on his way to greatness yet people are closing the doors on him but he won’t give up. The way he uses his vocals draws emotions and calls out to the people to hear his cry. The industry is not for everyone yet Joe says no one is better than him, so why not give him the platform to showcase that.

Ghost featuring Nandile, Mpukane, Umxabelo featuring Soul T Idyan, M2Kane & Empha87 and Uqhushululu featuring Skhindi &Celestial Mic are song where Joe was having fun with his flow and word play. The songs same as Senza Kakhulu are song to vibe to and enjoy.

Xhosaiyan is the lead single of the album which was released last year, in this song Joe refers to himself as Black Vegita and a lot of Dragon ball references are used in the song in fact the whole concept of the song is based on the Japanese anime as Joe (black Vegita) is king of the Xhosa trappers. Hence the name Xhosaiyan was given to his fans.

King’s freestyle is Joe venting, it’s some sort of interlude bridging the album to the next phase.

Sweet Sweet ft Isaac Wilson the vibe of the song is hypnotical the vocal projection is too good, this another standout, what Isaac Wilson did with is verse took the song from a normal Xhosa trap song and made astronomical.
Joe in this song Holomisa pays tibute to Mr. Bantu Holomisa by saying he’s at a higher status like Mr. Holomisa, they cannot compare to him (Joe) because his moves are similar to Mr. Bantu Holomisa. Then the featured artist Androidinski comes in with an infectious flow reference the coup d’état Holomisa did to overthrow Matandzima. The song is a strong hold to Joe’s claim to the throne.

Umkhenkce featuring M2Kane & BhutLegend was the second single of the album, this song is the anthem of the album everyone lost it when they heard it and it’s a nice sonically composed song talking about Joe’s style as an artist with verses from legend that brought a different esthetic to the song and M2Kane making his presence felt with his commanding flow.

Siyasanga is based on a real life person a girl who Joe had a hard relationship with which left him not wanting love as in the song he claims he never had any love at all but just wanted intercourse, Joe also adds on his back story by telling us he was a church boy before he became a man and then he started being interested in women after. Joe states after Siyasanga he will never lie to a woman again as he saw what it did to her the tone of regret in his vocals as this particular girl loved him but he could not reciprocate.

The irony of the last song is that it is performed in English by the King of Xhosa trap, and Joe says he not a rapper as he doesn’t fit the ideal rap image, he is doing things the way he wants and no one can comprehend what is about happen. I’m not a rapper is a perfect closing statement as it leaves you with an image of someone larger than his current status.

Overall Jongisizwe is truly an album that justifies its author from the beat selection to the song choice, though the some song were not entirely needed for the album, Jongisizwe gave us an insight into the world of Phumele Bara aka King Joe. The overall rating of the album is 7/10 as there could more information shared about the rapper but it’s a vibe and worth a listen.