Suffix speaks before he sleeps: Album review

An album is a body of work which must marry all aspects from the title, song concepts, production, tracklist and features.

Suffix: Before I sleep cover

In this regard, it doesn’t need rocket science to spot the artistic creativity in Suffix’s “Before I Sleep” album in which, according to the rapper, is a dedication to the ones who are confused about life’s trials, struggles and tribulations.

“There is hope in every chaos. Seek God whilst he is found,” he says.

Listening to “Before I Sleep”, Suffix has proved to be another force to reckon with in the music arena. The album has matured concepts, institutionalized on Malawian setting.

The production is top notch, proving that the artist exhausted everything in this album. Over and above, “Before I Sleep” is not a typical Hip Hop album, it is mellow, musical with an African touch.

At the onset, Q Malewezi opens up with a poetic intro “That one dream” which corresponds well with the album title “Before I Sleep”. The intro takes you to dreamland before reality strikes in “Ghetto ndi Nyatwa” featuring Sho Baraka.

Sho Baraka comes in after Suffix. He is no ordinary rapper as every word that comes from his rap carries with it versatility and conviction. He preaches love and models it on Jesus Christ; reaching out to those in the ghetto, showing that there is an opportunity for everyone.

A great song is relatable. Either the beat or lyrics should somehow speak to you. One song which captured me is “Kutali” featuring Pompi. It reminded me of Marcus(of Dare Devilz) Made on Monday interview in which he called me out as a kid who used to dance Kwaito before venturing in rap, although this isn’t true but it reminded me of how far we have come as a Hip Hop community.

In the song, Suffix recounts his rookie days, the trials and tribulations faced in the industry. The same message which also reverberates in “Chilobwe” as he pays tribute to fallen childhood friends.

“Unspoken feelings” is another powerful song which explores life of prostitution. Suffix puts himself in the shoes of prostitutes plying their trade at Bwandilo and Stereo in Lilongwe and Blantyre respectively. He also tackles divorce in which a husband abandons struggling wife and kids only to get married to gold diggers to squander his wealth with.

Sampling through the album, one can’t help but notice the flow of diverse concepts from one song to the next. The arrangement was well thought through making is easier for flow of ideas.

Suffix goes romantic in “No Formula”, emotional in “Tough Love” and “Amamva”, confessional in “Save Me” and patriotic in “Kwanu Nkwanu” and “Kwathu”.

In “Hip Hop”, “Nyasa Bars” and “12 Hours”, Suffix exercises his lyrical skills as he raps about being a Christian rapper, depicts life of a Malawian artist and the struggle of celebrities dependant on parents and guardians.

In a typical millennial fashion, Suffix seals the deal with a trap beat “Creator” as an outro.

With a carefully selected list of features ranging from USA rapper Sho Baraka, South Africa’s Lilly Million and Zambia’s Pompi, Suffix represented Malawi well.

Other features include Tamarah, Kelvin Sings, Tio, Saint, Esther Chungu, Mista Gray, Dahlie and Zyuga.

“Before I Sleep” is predominantly Chichewa quite befitting for a Malawian audience. However, despite the album being nostalgic and Suffix’s predictable delivery, “Before I Sleep” is a fairly balanced album. It deserves four MICs/Disks in The Source or XXL.

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