For a decade-strong, K.O has arguably been one of the most consistent lyricists in South Africa.
From his time with Teargas through to his solo years at the helm of Cash Time, the Skhanda Gawd has given us quotable bars, catchy hooks and king-like bravado on features each time he stepped to the mic.
His work in the game was consolidated when his debut solo album, 2014’s Skhanda Republic, hit the earth like a comet and sold enough records to earn him a gold plaque from RiSA. SR’s lead single, the mega-hit Cara Cara, even bagged the 2015 Record of the Year and Best Hip-Hip Album SAMAs while the album itself got silverware for Best Rap Album.
But can he follow the success of SR with its sequel, Skhanda Republic 2, which drops tomorrow. Taking a leaf from his idol Jay-Z’s 4:44 album, SR2 will give listeners a glimpse into Ntokozo Mdhluli.
“With this album, people are going to appreciate that they’re getting to know me. They are going to know about my personal story, for the first time I’m putting out a biographical album,” K.O told True Love back in August.
In 2017, the stakes are even higher for K.O. His sophomore is not only a follow-up to a well-received debut; it also serves as the sequel to an arguable classic. Not many rappers have been able to pull that off successfully. Even Jay-Z’s Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse was essentially wack compared to the first Blueprint. His second album The Life and Times of Sean Carter Vol.1 was a terrible follow-up to Reasonable Doubt. The Game’s Documentary 2 and 2.5 were disappointing attempts at recreating his 2005 classic debut, whose follow-up, The Doctor’s Advocate really needed Dr Dre. Even Nas couldn’t (and still can’t) live up to the hype and prestige of Illmatic (he might have come close on Stilmatic, though).
And the so-called sophomore jinx isn’t limited to hip-hop, musicians across all genres have for years struggled to live up to the hype created of their strong debuts with their second offerings. Musicians from Whitney Houston all the way through to The Beatles are said to have second albums significantly weaker than their firsts. However, more artists have followed up strong debuts with even strong sophomore albums.
Diverting from the raw, rap-heavy original, K.O also promises to return to the sing-songy rap style that made Teargas mainstays of SA mainstream pop culture and seamlessly carried him through to his SR apex. Only problem, though, is that unlike SR’s hits Cara Cara, Mission Statement and One Time, singles from SR2, No Feelings and Call Me, haven’t yet connected with the masses in a major way.
But what K.O does have on his side is the vast subject matter he can pick from. A lot has happened since SR: him succeeding in this rape game as a solo artist, tours in America and the UK, the Cash Time mass exodus and a bunch of other stuff we probably haven’t heard about. Yet.
So will Skhanda Republic 2 be as good, if not better, than its predecessor? Or will it fail to impress like many second attempts have in the past? We will only find out when SR2, described by K.O as the ‘most anticipated album of the year’ drops tomorrow.
— K.O (@MrCashtime) October 2, 2017