News Brief

Listen to Flame’s Highly Anticipated Debut Album ‘CandyMan’

Flame finally releases 'CandyMan.'

Flame released his debut album this morning. CandyMan has been long promised and teased. The South African hip-hop artist's cult following has been impatiently waiting for the release.


Flame has established himself as a force nature among the country's new wave of artists in the last few years. From the countless appearances on songs by member of The Wrecking Crew, which was part of until recently, to releasing three solid projects, Clouds, Germander and Do Not Disturb. The latter was a collaboration with TWC ally Zoocci Coke Dope.

All three projects were solid. It's, however, still too early to determine if CandyMan matches up to the previous releases. And at 19 tracks, it's a lot of music to get through and make sense of in one listen.

A lot has happened since Flame last released a full-length project. Most notably, him and other members Ecco and Mellow left The Wrecking Crew to form The Lean Team. The speculations have been many and the story has been getting told in bits and pieces. A-Reece shared his side on the song "Carele$$," while The Lean Team gave theirs in an interview with Zkhiphani.

CandyMan features the likes of Frank Casino, Ecco, The Big Hash and Ayanda Jiya among others. On first listen, it's a solid project that sees Flame maintain his style and attempt to build on it (for instance on the song "Up and Lost," in which he rides an uptempo pop beat).

Listen to CandyMan below:


Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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