Published Monday, 10 January 2022 07:44
Some artists try to reinvent the wheel when making new music and some take wheel and keep rolling with it. Cape Town native Sani Lockeheart’s 2020 EP Solar Avenue arrived in the middle of the two aforementioned modes of operation. Solar Avenue is an amalgamation of what hip hop and R&B is today, and not a stark departure from Lockeheart’s core sound, but adds a little something unique.
Solar Avenue was an EP characterised by the heart-on-sleeve lyrics that were accompanied by the familiar punch of pseudo-trap styling found in popular hip hop around the world. When the lyrics are as potent and the production is as dynamic and earthy as they are on this record, there is no need for the flashy trappings of typical commercial music.
The sad-guy image is one that has gained steam in mainstream hip hop thanks to the likes of artists like Post Malone and normalised the formerly taboo prospect of emotion in hip hop. Newer artists have taken to the new dynamic with forced inauthentic performances in an effort to cash in quick. Lockheart, however, goes from contemplative in opener ‘Solar Avenue’, and invoking the air of confidence in ‘Sauce Back’ and ‘Mine’ to bare-all bops like ‘In My Room’ with an authenticity, uncanny pop-savvy and balance that’s rarely found from underground artists.
Sani Lockeheart’s balance and versatility win the day with this EP, which is in itself a well-rounded offering. For a release that heavily features saucy guitar leads, lush reverberated samples, and the ever-reliable lofi 808 aesthetic, there is no one track that overwhelms; that’s not a bug, but a well-welcomed feature. Solar Avenue is the sort of short of a musical journey that does well to accompany listeners through times like these and, due to the surprising cohesiveness of the EP as a whole, will prove to be timeless.