We rank The Wrecking Crew's releases from good to best.
The Wrecking Crew aka The Government is one of the most solid crews to ever come out of South Africa.
Even though, they have never released a project as a crew, as solo artists, they have been prolific. They managed to create a movement while playing in the fringes of the mainstream. While they may not have singles on high rotation on Metro FM, they fork in millions of streams for their videos and tracks on YouTube, SoundCloud, Apple Music and Spotify.
With rumors of The Wrecking Crew breaking up or rather some members departing, The Government as we know it is highly likely to never be the same again. At least while still intact, they gifted their fans with gems upon gems.
Below, two of our contributors, Sabelo Mkhabela and Mayuyuka Kaunda, who have covered South African hip-hop for OkayAfrica for a few years, rank 10 of The Wrecking Crew's albums and EPs from just okay to best.
It's still not clear who is and who isn't a member anymore. The list below is based on the following TWC members: A-Reece, Wordz, Ecco, B3nchMarQ, Flame, MashBeatz, 1000 Degrees, Tyga Bankz, Mellow and Ex Global.
*Only albums and EPs that were released when the artists were still part of The Wrecking Crew are considered.
10. Ex Global 'I Get Better With Time'
Singer and rapper Ex Global makes his introduction in an introspective way on his opening track "Hope You Notice Me". He whispers "I hope I get better with time" as piano keys pirouette in the background. "Shine On My Ex" comes in next, further revealing Ex's introspective side. His ability to explore sounds is evident as he croons over guitars strings on "A Winner Bae". I Get Better With Time is a great listen mainly due to the different melodic directions it takes. It's also refreshing that the title isn't an unnecessary flex: it gives some backstory into who Ex Global is, for instance his admission that he "lost his daughter over rumors" on "Ain't Even True". I Get Better With Time is a smoothly constructed listening experience and Ex Global's ear for melodies is matched by his knack for lyricism. Both substantive and easy on the ear, this is a really solid effort. — Mayuyuka Kaunda
9. Ecco 'More of Me'
Ecco's More of Me is diverse. The artist raps and sings, and features vocalist Ayanda Jiya on the song "Love So Blind." Sonically, More of Me meanders, going from slow tempo songs to unconventional drum patterns such as on "Slide." The MC covers a range of subjects, ranging from relationships to aspirations. More of Me plays the role of giving us more of Ecco, by him showing us sides of him we haven't been exposed to. — Mayuyuka Kaunda
8. MashBeatz 'Thanks For Nothing'
MashBeatz is responsible for The Wrecking Crew's signature sound; sometimes sample based, employing punchy beats, key and bass-heavy and never predictable. Those same strengths the producer possesses shine through on Thanks For Nothing. It's a classic posse project with appearances from the entire crew and sees him join in on what turns into a melodic rap-fest. This album is a great advert for MashBeatz's style as a musician; bassy, airy and crisp. The basslines are a treat all across the project but "Just 10 Minutes of Your Time" is worthy of repeated indulgence with its numerous beat switches in a show of Mash's versatility. This release is a gem; a great introduction to TWC's sound and a tutorial for young producers. For the prolific releases this crew makes, it's amazing how their in-house producer keeps delivering for them. We're glad this project is in his name, so we can put some respect on it! — Mayuyuka Kaunda
7. Wordz 'Death B4 Dishonor'
Dedicated to the memory of his late brother VSK, Death B4 Dishonour is a mellow debut from Wordz. Rapped over a rigid beat and in foreboding tone, standout joint "DOA (Dead On Arrival)" is a posse cut exploring the themes present throughout the EP such as faith, loyalty, ambition and of course staying lit. In that sense DB4H has all the makings of a TWC project and appearances by Ghoust, A-Reece, Krish, Ex-Global and IMP make this a sonically diverse listen, with a range of bars crammed into the EP's 12 minutes. The appeal of this album is the sinewy production and the overall delivery employed across it. — Mayuyuka Kaunda
6. B3nchMarQ 'Aspen' EP
B3nchMarQ isn't the most lyrically superior duo there is in South African hip-hop. What they achieved on their debut EP is making the best of their abilities, and creating the best possible project. ASPEN is great when you consider song structures, how the duo gel together to create accessible songs that stick to your mind without being corny. It also helped that they worked with a producer whose beats knock so hard you might need to get your eardrum checked when the project is over. ASPEN creates a vibe and an environment you want to stay longer than eight songs. This should have been the duo's debut album. — Sabelo Mkhabela
5. A-Reece 'From Me To You & Only You'
A year after leaving Ambitiouz Entertainment, A-Reece proved that he could do this thing on his own. From Me To You and Only You maylack depth lyrically, as Reece raps about his happy life, and indicates he's fine amidst all the drama he had gone through earlier that year, but it exhibits the chemistry between Reece and his producer Mash Beatz, as they conjured songs that were easy to fall in love with. FMTYAOY was made with the Internet in mind—the album came with no lead single, or any song that were made with the single model in mind. Even though some videos were shot for FMTYAOY, none of those songs outshone the project—it was made to be consumed wholesomely. — Sabelo Mkhabela
4. Flame 'Clouds'
Clouds is one of the greatest modern South African hip-hop projects. Flame showed an understanding of his traits and abilities and dropped an album with no wasted moments. Everything on Clouds is on point—production, melodies, rapping and the most important thing, the vibe. Clouds contains songs that have high replay value because of its well-constructed minimal songs that cast the spotlight on Flame's writing and vocal skills. Guests such as A-Reece, Zoocci Coke Dope, Rowlene and Da L.E.S among others ensure Clouds is not monotonous. — Sabelo Mkhabela
3. A-Reece 'And I’m Only 21'
A-Reece being meta about this release made this more conceptual than gimmicky. And I'm Only 21 was released on the 21st of October on the same date as his releases in the preceding two years. At 16 minutes, it's a short, but punchy listen that hints at his prolific output for his age and also warns of what's to come. On "To The Top Please" he spits, "Been dropping annually for five years/ My idols know that and every time I drop I make a comeback". As usual, Reece centers his rapping over solid production in a show of well earned self-assurance: "Five classics in the bag, now that's a literal slap," is typical of the attitude The Wrecking Crew espouses. Reece is so comfortable on here and his ability to effortlessly fuse hard-hitting raps and amorous rhymes is a great trait. — Mayuyuka Kaunda
2. Zoocci Coke Dope & Flame 'Do Not Disturb'
Flame and Zoocci Coke Dope teamed up for a collection of eight speaker-blaring, catchy tracks. The production and lyrical delivery complement each other in their melodic nature. Zoocci and Flame's styles are perfectly moulded around the crevices of these arresting beats. DND sees Flame coming into his own, finding his voice and proving his hit making abilities. "No Phone Calls," "Company" and "Reaching" are certified bangers and greatly increase the project's replay value. This pair works so well because both artists combine their rapping and producing talents to great effect. It's also some great use of auto-tune, in a way that isn't overbearing. This partnership shares the weight equally each artist have individual moments to shine. Do Not Disturb, out of all The Wrecking Crew's projects, has the cross-over appeal that eludes most crews. Every posse needs balance, and Flame provides it alongside the mercurial Zoocci Coke Dope. — Mayuyuka Kaunda
1. A-Reece, Wordz, Ecco 'L3 (Long Lost Letters)'
L3 is the The Wrecking Crew's magnum opus. L3 is a modern classic that sonically lives in the present, but pays respect to the past, and has its eyes cast on the future. The roots of the project are trap and boom bap, and A-Reece, Wordz and Ecco prove their adeptness in interpreting beats, using varied flows, expressing themselves in interesting ways and exhibiting a natural chemistry. Maybe the stories being told on here aren't new, but that can never take away from the craftsmanship the trio and their producer Mash Beatz (A-Reece also produces) show on L3. Long Lost Letters doesn't try to be radio-friendly, neither does it try to be subversive, it's just a project in which artists who are comfortable in their skin make the music they feel like making, and it works. If a bitter old head tells you the new school has no skill, don't argue, just play them L3. — Sabelo MKhabela