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WPGM Recommends: Choplife SoundSystem – Chop Life Vol. 1: Mzansi Chronicles (Album Review)

Mr. Eazi is not your typical Afrobeats artist. With his distinctive blend of infectious melodies, rhythmic prowess, and cultural storytelling, the Nigerian singer-songwriter has risen to prominence as a trailblazer in the global music landscape.

UK-based selector and tastemaker, the ‘afroboss’ DJ Edu is no newcomer to the scene as well. Not only is he an in-demand DJ at the top of his game worldwide, he also holds the feat of creating the now longest running show on BBC Radio 1Xtra with his ‘Destination Africa’ radio show.

With the efforts of these two titans combined, we have been blessed with a blockbuster project sure to tear up clubs around the world and lead the wave of summer hits. Together, the duo has taken on the moniker CHOPLIFE SOUNDSYSTEM and have released an impressive collection of rhythmic anthems entitled Chop Life Vol. 1: Mzansi Chronicles.

The album keeps you moving constantly with a mix of vibey amapiano beats and soulful afro-house cuts. Each of the fourteen tracks is carefully and masterfully produced to create a sonic atmosphere of either a chill vibe or an energetic one, but a vibe nonetheless.

Tracks such as the party life banger “Werser” feel anthemic with an almost hypnotic hook. Conversely, “Indaba” featuring Nkosazana Daughter offers a more subdued energy, combining relaxing vocals with captivating rhythms that have become a signature of Mr. Eazi’s work.

Meanwhile, “Wena” featuring Eastern Cape songstress Ami Faku presents a soulful house sound that effortlessly bridges the gap between the club and casual listening. The album’s strength lies in its ability to deliver energy, emotion, and versatility in equal measure.

Another standout track is the gentle tropical house hit “Die For You” featuring Nkosazana Daughter adding an ethereal backing that perfectly matches the mood of the piece. Meanwhile, South African rappers 2woshort and Stompiiey bring their famous quickfire flow to “Big Boy” for an energetic amapiano club shaker.

Chop Life Vol. 1 explores a wide spectrum of South African music, unearthing hidden gems of inspiration as the album progresses. While the amapiano style takes center stage, the project delves into deep house, tribal house, and even big room, showcasing the vast musical landscape of South Africa.

Featuring production from some of South Africa’s most renowned beatmakers such as Mellow & Sleazy, Ghetto Boy, Milan Rendall, LuuDaDeejay, Soul Jam, and Mathondos as well as Nigerian producer Type A, the album proudly represents a spirit of collaboration and unity. Further to that point, the wealth of featured artists on the album bring their A-game for each track and elevate the music in their own ways.

From start to finish, Chop Life Vol. 1 is an exhilarating musical journey. Mr. Eazi and DJ Edu’s dedication to breaking down barriers and creating a melting pot of South African dance music results in an enjoyable and immersive experience.

The album seamlessly weaves rich melodies and lyrical themes over the infectious amapiano sounds, showcasing the prowess of both artists. With Chop Life Vol. 1: Mzansi Chronicles, Mr. Eazi and DJ Edu have crafted a groundbreaking work that embraces cultural diversity and unites listeners in a celebration of rhythm and sound.

Listen to Choplife Soundsystem’s Chop Life Vol. 1: Mzansi Chronicles below and stream it everywhere else here.

Words by Mark-Anthony Pierre

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