There are many ways to be free. One of them is to transcend reality by imagination. Put differently, imagination is the only place we are really free, emancipated from mundane worries and fleeting pleasures.
Don Gotti has a permanent address in this great good place of imagination, where The Immaculate Conception was penned. The album is, well, immaculate. You only need read its name and know. It’s a little cocky to declare at the outset that your music is immaculate, unless of course, you can back it up. Don Gotti does that and more.
The Immaculate Conception Ep is a powerful and confident set of conscious, beautifully rhymed and cross-cutting opinions and exhortations on society, culture, religion and living and love. Loosely speaking, it is lyrical treatise, comprising 19 songs performed to beautiful and often exuberant soundtracks. And speaking of numbers, it is still puzzling why an album with twenty tracks is labeled an Ep. Ep’s comprise a few songs, and there’s nothing few about nineteen.
More objectively, the Immaculate Conception evinces the numerous tensions and opposing forces that exist in a young man’s life; the desire to be virtuous in a tempting and voluptuary world; trying to take off while being pulled down by cynics and not-so-friends. One song glorifies the dissipation and sensuous pleasures of youth, while another is a petition to God acknowledging His supremacy and the inherent incompetency of man.
Don Gotti is a pseudonym. Roy Mwamba is the name behind the name. He’s a big man by any measure. A happy fellow with a medium voice put in service of hip hop songs, songs spun from an experiential reality of the haps and mishaps of life. It’s all there in the Immaculate Conception, his take on government, girls, his first tongue and even his favorite movie: A Bullet in the Head.
On ‘Walenisi’, which is a concertinaed name that means ‘Wale Ni Sisi’, Roy typifies the downtrodden that are relegated to second-rate life by the machinations of those in power and business. This is no small fete, and he on board the services of GKV, who personifies the man pushed to crime by grim circumstances: ‘Am from the darker side of the large economy, living life under a dollar’.
‘Ushindi’ is a brazen, slow-paced critique against pretentiousness and hypocrisy. It starts off on a low and builds up to a ferocious intensity. At its apogee, you can almost touch the bitterness in the voice.’Koinange Street is a meal ticket, ukishiba unapass judgment.’
It is difficult to free fools (and ignoramuses and the proud) from the chains they revere, you’re better off satirizing them. Roy calls them, rather blisteringly, ‘Devil’. Even the holier-than-thou are not beyond reach. The song delivers a bitter overdose of harsh truth. Perhaps finally this will emancipate the fools and kin from their chains.
Anyone who knows Roy will attest to his coyness and reticence. Yet he transcends his visceral nature and cleverly manages to shine the light on himself in multiple songs: ’Dreaming’, ‘Talk About Me’, Blocka Zenith’ So much you’d think he’s out to prove a point.
The inevitable motif of love and relationships features in the Immaculate. ‘Mpenzi’ is a lovely and heady admission that true love does exist. And can subsist for eternity. It’s the kind of music you want played on your wedding. And yes, it’s got aphorisms too, like ‘There are feelings in the air that I must address’. This song is a must-listen and a must-replay.
There’s a lot to take home from the Immaculate Conception, you’re a fool if you don’t. Here goes mine: From ‘Blocka Zenith’- ‘’It aint really a party if you party on a budget’’
My gut tells me that we haven’t seen the last of Don Gotti, and the best too. The Immaculate Conception is an otherwise lovely installment, a sneak peek into the latent potential of a young artist.
© Charles Gitonga,
[To master the pen is to master oneself. I have just begun to learn how to hold it right. And with it, to write the stories of my life]
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