Review: Shekhinah Avoids The Sophomore Slump With ‘Trouble In Paradise’

Shekhinah's sophomore 'Trouble in Paradise' is a formidable album that affirms her as a thoughtful and proficient singer and songwriter.

With her newly released album Trouble in Paradise, South African singer, songwriter and producer Shekhinah has achieved the rare feat of avoiding the sophomore slump. Asked whether she actively planned to overshadow her debut while making her sophomore, she clarifies, "I didn't want to outdo Rose Gold per se, but I did want what I did next to feel like I'm on a new level. I didn't want it to feel like I hadn't grown or that I didn't put any effort into it. So, while I can't say I consciously wanted to do better than Rose Gold, I can say I certainly wanted to show growth."

Rose Gold was released in 2017 to resounding success. After enjoying moderate success with the 2015 Kyle Deutsch duet "Back To The Beach" and Sketchy Bongo's "Let You Know", on which she was featured, she surpassed all expectations as Rose Gold spawned hit after hit — propelling the album to platinum status in less than a year of release. It turned Shekhinah into a household name, earning her well-deserved plaques and awards. She walked away with Newcomer of the Year, Album of the Year and Female Artist of the year at the 2018 South African Music Awards (SAMAs). Since then, her legion of fans has waited eagerly for her sophomore album.

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Reverb360 & Otarel Make Music That Attempts To Leave No One Behind

On their new project 'R&O', South African producer-rapper duo Reverb360 and Otarel's diverse backgrounds help them in prioritising inclusivity.

R&O, the collaborative project between artist-cum-producer Reverb360 and lyricist Otarel is one of 2021's most compelling independent South African hip-hop releases.

One of the project's biggest drawcards is the duo's genuine attempt at being representative of not only themselves, but their diverse backgrounds too. On songs like "Ngwenyama", which boasts an isiZulu chorus and is an ode about upholding one's values and principles, while seeking to lead a virtuous life, Otarel raps in English:

"There are more things than whether you swell your ego, to be with one who sees you, in alignment with your people, fulfilling something peaceful, choosing one who feels unequal, reaching further than imagined with the ammo for a reload, more over than making money..."

Otarel considers Nqamakwe in the Eastern Cape home, though she was born in Sterkspruit and raised in Durban. For Reverb360, home is in GaManamela in Polokwane. His childhood was spent between Mpumalanga and Polokwane — he then moved to Pretoria after high school to further his studies. Both artists have built solid reputations in the country's alternative hip-hop scene. Most recently, Otarel appeared on Stogie T's Freestyle Friday on Channel O, while Reverb360 was featured on PDot O's "Like White Doves", off his latest album Cold Waters: Low Tides and Lost Tapes.

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