In the year 2003 we saw Beyoncé release her debut solo album Dangerously In Love, Madonna kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on stage, and the Bee Gees disbanded. On our South African shores a storm brewed when a seven-man crew inked with Gallo Music Group and released their sophomore project, Mkhukhu Funkshen. In celebration of the 10-year-old game-changing album in SA hip-hop history, CHEKA Digital looks back and reviews the album.
The group had come to be known for being raw, rugged, and street. Their no-holds-barred attitude resulted in two of their songs being banned on radio. December 12, 2003, we witnessed the birth of Skwatta Kamp’s Mkhukhu Funkshen.
10 years later, it can be argued that the album put them on the map and may just be their most successful and acclaimed to date. The crew still had the street cats lyrics they have been known for via their independent release of Khut n Joyn which had the unforgettable anthem “Rau Rau”. Nemesis aka Nemza, Slikour formerly known as Fantum Slikour, Bozza the Champ, Infa, Shugasmackx, Nish formerly known as Initial M and Flabba make up the Skwatta Kamp crew.
Lets take a walk back in history.
First track off the gate, SK shows what they have become famous for. Sharp lyrics and the intro mimic the sound of a cassette signaling the start.
This may be thee most raw and uncensored song on the album. Expletives are in vernac. SK is aiming at the naysayers and their battle emcee-persona take over in this track. Flabba sends a warning to all the rappers in the Intro stating they been taken for granted and they have a bone to pick with a lot of rappers.
Another warning shot to rappers, but this time it’s more about their lyrical dexterity over anger. The strings by Stethoscope are majestic! Each emcee in the crew get on the mic in this joint and exhibit why peers and fans have so much respect for them.
Each emcee assumes the life of a king; the luxury life, the concubines, the extravagant life known to be led by kings. In the same breath, they are saying they are the kings of hip-hop. Chorus handled by Slikour: “The kings are back, tell the messenger the kings are back”.
If Skwatta Kamp threw a party, this song is the imagery of what it would look like, and you salivated at the vivid picture the gents painted. This was also the first song on the album where they featured the soulful vocals of Relo, who went on to become the First Lady of the crew.
Tap Dat Ass
The gents get to appreciate the posterior of a female and this joint serves as a warning to all the males to appreciate their woman’s assets or you will be bricked. This later became a full song on Flabba’s debut solo album.
The crew details their courting skills and how they can break up a happy family where the gent is dumb about his sinking relationship. A brick squad anthem. Bozza raps: “You spend the cash, with me she spends the night”.
SK collabos with Lira on this one, and together they produce a banger of note. People who have been to street bashes will relate.
This is the first single of the album, also featuring Relo. The video had a couple of cameos from respected South African hip-hop icons. Amu kitted out in Jordan gear was also part of the action. The wind blowing during the video symbolizes the ushering of new breath into hip-hop, as the album was the first major label cosign of hip-hop in the country.
An ode to people behind bars; this title means ‘jail’ in slang terms. SK show that they sympathise with the people in rehabilitation centers. They also state that the gangster life and people wishing to be in jail just for their rep, is just not worth it.
“Sunshine” is a song that tackles women abuse. SK members explain the pain of domestic abuse and how society needs to get rid of it. It also comes across as a story of a woman who passed away as a result of domestic violence. Even after all this time, this track still tugs at heart strings cause the story was THAT real.
Story To Tell
Each one of the rappers in the crew gets on the mic and represents their home grounds. This song includes voice clips of fans showing them love and also representing where they from. A song that shows regardless of where you from, each person has a story to narrate.
This is a song about brotherhood. SK members show appreciation of their friendship amongst each other in the group and how they are support like brothers.
Another exhibition of appreciation, this time for the blessings of life, rapping, and everything they love in the world like the love of family and love from the fans. A heart warming track that shows that SK is not only street cats but human beings.
A banger with Skwatta Kamp flexing their lyrical talents. This joint is a loud statement that they are about to spark fire in hip-hop. The verses are proper, the flows are fitting and the beat compliments it all.
One of the best-conceptualised songs in the history of SA hip-hop. Each member assumes the character of an animal (Bozza – cat, Nemza – lion, Nish – monkey, Slikour – snake, Flabba – dog, Infa – hyena and Smackx – elephant). The beat is wild, bass driven and bangs hard!
SK talk about working hard and building your future. They talk about even in hard times, and how you need to keep your head up in the prospect of following your destiny; something each of them have actively pursued since releasing this classic album.
Get On Da Mic
This ‘rock’ beat, a little different from the vibe of the rest of the album, had the seven emcees going wild at it.Other than that, the song may be forgettable but memorable at the same time as it was genre-crossing for this group.
Skwatta Kamp’s Mkhukhu Funkshen was the first of many of their offerings to claim this classic type of recognition. It was the first SA hip-hop album by a group to reach Gold status, and they were the first hip-hop group to be signed to a major label. Needless to say, this award-winning album was a game changer, and for that, we thank you Skwatta Kamp.
Written By: Siphiwe Zwane (@SDotJR_)