uSanele Returns With Trap-Heavy uMvelase EP

It’s been a year since Boyz ‘N Bucks co-founder and Spova Gang member uSanele returned to music with the release of the EP Gangular, and he is back once again with his uMvelase EP. In contrast to his previous release which saw the rapper show his versatility by merging different genres, uMvelase is a record with an unapologetically trap affinity.

Photograph by Art Villain

Opening with a poem written and performed by Manelisi and produced by Tsukudu, the 7-track EP features productions by Rendition, Roy August, Hipnaughtic Sean, Gee-Funk and MV. As with Gangular, uMvelase sees uSanele bring in a number of features that include ASAP Shembe, Ayemaprobllem, Ojaydash and Windows 2000.

EP back cover design by Zamani Xolo

With plenty of references to both Boyz ‘N Bucks and Spova Gang, the EP sees uSanele rapping in Zulu and English over 808-heavy beats and progresses from the laidback to more turned up bangers. The EP’s title track “uMvelase” sees uSanele get melodic, combining a rapped verse with a sung chorus over low-slung pads and a stripped-back hi-hat driven beat. “Mvelase noShembe”, is more brooding with a dark atmospheric, and at times distorted bassline, a theme that is continued on “Phumaphi”. “iCoupe” is the earworm of the EP and is a pure trap banger, complete with skrr skrr ad-libs. The melodic track “Buyela ekhaya” closes off the EP punctuated by plucked strings and a sliding drill-like 808 bassline.

Photograph by Jamal Nxedlana

With solid production work and thought out features the EP feels cohesive and like a body of work rather than a collection of tracks. In the tradition of “Gangular, uMvelase is entertaining, and while not groundbreaking, ticks all the right boxes for a summer trap release. While memories of Boyz ‘N Bucks still linger, it would make little sense to compare uSanele’s sonic output to that of the mega collective however this release does see him emerge further out of the shadows of the crew.

Photograph by Art Villain

Be on the look out for Usanele’s EP uMvelase available on all streaming platforms and listen to it here.

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