Music Review: Chai Mata By John Black

Mr. Blaq has spent most of his career proving his doubters wrong. They said he wouldn’t last, and he did. They said he was simply a trend that would fizzle out, and he went on to become something of a mainstream artiste.

Heck, I said he would need to add to his arsenal of weapons if he was to survive because his singing comprised of an impressive baritone and saying “Aya bas” every turn.

In his defence, he seems to have tried to reinvent himself – broaden the weapons in his arsenal. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Chai Mata sounds like a caricature of himself.

This reinvention fails because John is trying to take his vocals a little too seriously, unlike songs like Obubadi, where he is at his most organic, and simply dropping lines for fun.

It’s painful – where’s the playfulness, the devil-may-care delivery that made his vocals such a compelling thing to listen to?

The production process doesn’t help that the song is built on a plain dancehall groove that is sleep-inducing in its blandness. And it opens with such promise, with an excellent brass section that somehow gets misplaced somewhere down the song’s road.

But mostly, while listening to the song, you are forced to ask yourself, “What on earth was John going for on this one?”

Chai Mata is a step in the wrong direction for Blaq. The lyrics try had to save the song, but it is a losing battle.

Chai Mata is a bold attempt at reinvention that falls woefully short. It simply sounds ordinary, and that is something you could never say about his music, three years ago.

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