A review of Rootword's new album, 'Warning Signs', released on March 23rd 2018.
It so happens that an ardent listener of music seeks out the style of an artist, to know if it resonates with their taste or not. As evident in the album, Rootwords' style is hardcore rap, delivered without effort and laden with deep messages; all accompanied with strong rhythmic and interactive beats. He is fast to create the impression on the listener, that he's out to deliver, and nothing more; and never does he compromise anywhere along the way. This pretty much sums up the album, 'Warning Signs'.
He is fast to create the impression on the listener, that he's out to deliver, and nothing more; and never does he compromise anywhere along the way.
The album starts off with an intro that is musically interactive, with a heavy rhythmic beat and hard-core rap lyrics that are narrative and laced with pun. It very much sets the mood for the tracks in the album. In 'Clockwork', I was treated to a display of instrumental creativity, a testimony of the producer's mastery of his skill. I had to be cautious lest I be carried away by, especially, the drum rolls dominating the sound arrangement in a most appealing way, and miss out on the track's lyrical content. The mood changes with 'A Matter Of Time'. The lyrics are punchy and matter-of-fact. I couldn't help but notice that Rootwords didn't set out to simply entertain with 'A Matter Of Time', but to tell about something he feels very strongly and personal about; and he tells it strong and hard, mellowed only by the emotional chorus. At the risk of immodesty, I'll say that Rootwords establishes himself in 'A Matter Of Time' as a prophet of the hip-hop movement. I became more endeared to his person in getting to listen to 'Bad B*tch'. One would expect something typical of contemporary hip-hop norm in 'Bad B*tch' but I can't tell if I should be disappointed or pleased after listening to it. Rather than derogate, it's a song of praise for a strong woman who never conforms to societal dictates nor wavers in her support for him. In recent times when hip-hop only belittles the value of womanhood, this song comes as a relief. It won't come as a surprise if this track gets endorsed by as many who subscribe to feminist agenda sweeping across the vast African continent and in most of the world. This track embodies all that's artistically Rootwords.
I became more endeared to his person in getting to listen to 'Bad B*tch'. One would expect something typical of contemporary hip-hop norm in 'Bad B*tch' ... rather than derogate, it's a song of praise for a strong woman who never conforms to societal dictates ...
With the inclusion of J. Fever in a feature, the album gets laced with an Oriental spice. It may well be a ploy to appeal to the Asian audience. Whichever way, it is an artistic success; for even though the listener may know no words of Mandarin, yet they won't lose out on the rhythmic and lyrical flow of J. Fever's rap. Still on collaborations, we have Robin Thirdfloor feature on 'Some Danger', perhaps to lend a tasteful local South African feel to the album. Like J. Fever's it's an artistic success, in my opinion.
It's quite striking that the album has two features on offer; rap lyrics riddled with pun, easy flowing and poetic; instrumental display; not to mention the chorus which sticks to the mind. For instrumental display, 'Children Story' has an instrumental arrangement that audibly stands out. I love the theatrical interlude with the snare drum roll.
It's quite striking that the album has two features on offer; rap lyrics riddled with pun, easy flowing and poetic; instrumental display; not to mention the chorus which sticks to the mind.
To the one who is knowledgeable about Rootwords' artistic style, the album, 'Warning Signs', will come as an endorsement of Rootwords' commitment to his craft. To the one coming into first contact with Rootwords, the album will rightfully be said to come as a remarkable discovery, a musical experience to last a life time. In every respect, listening to this album was worth the musical experience.