Priddy Ugly has been a mainstay in the South African hip hop landscape since he announced himself with his 2016 project You Don’t Know Me Yet. The success of his debut project built up warranted expectations within the South African hip hop scene. This record was littered with standout cuts like Hunnids, Come to My Kasi and Pray. Partnered with Wichi 1080, his sound was sonically progressive, refreshing and brand new.

Fast forward to 2017, Priddy Ugly dropped his sophomore album titled EGYPT. It was released through Ambitiouz Entertainment, which was a big statement for the then rising artist. EGYPT had some bright moments however it didn’t reach the heights that it was expected to reach. This was more evident when pitted against the likes of Shane Eagle’s Yellow, A-Reece’s From Me to You and Only You which were released earlier that year. He followed that up with G.O.A.T which also felt very lacklustre.

Now that we have gone through a brief history of his discography to establish a degree of context for his latest release SOIL. He teamed up with Shane Eagle’s former business partner Vaughn Thiel as executive producer on his latest record. The overall direction of SOIL is very rap orientated, it presents itself as a truly rap centric listening experience. SOIL sounds like it is aimed at a niche audience that appreciates suave lyrical delivery, wit and flows.

Priddy opens up with the album namesake single SOIL, the two verse song sets the overall mood of the project well and maps the journey of what to expect from this album. It’s neither bad nor good but it does leave you wanting to hear more from the rapper. Let Me Out follows up and we can already hear Priddy taking a political stance with reference to George Floyd and Black Lives Matter.

I just can’t help but feel there is already a disconnect on this album when it comes to the subject matter. Priddy decides to tackle topics that don’t hit close to home, it lacks authenticity and sounds like he is choosing to latch onto whatever topic that will make him sound conscious. The first half of the album is difficult to get through, it sounds uninspired and feels like a collection of ideas of what a rap centric album should sound like.

The album takes a turn for the better on the second half, which makes you think it would have faired better if it was just a five-song EP, to begin with. Loose Change presents the first saving grace of this project, it shifts from the dated approach that’s on the first five songs. When Priddy Ugly stops taking himself too seriously the music improves. The sequencing of the second half of the album is well done, Lose Change, Dead Jungle and Rap Legacy are really good songs. Every feature on this album brought their A-game, from Zulu Mecca on Let Me Out, Blxkie and H-D on Dead Jungle. The most impressive guest appearance has to go to Maglera Doe Boy on Rap Relay.

The most controversial bit of this album is on Handful of Dust where he seemingly takes shots at his peers A-Reece and Shane Eagle, the song ends with a sample of Sol Penduka from Podcast and Chill talking about how Priddy Ugly can rap. Overall, SOIL is underwhelming at best, half of it sounds boring, uninspired and dated. The production is off and completely ignores the schematics of music in 2021. Priddy Ugly sounds like he has a chip on his shoulder, he really wants to prove he is who he thinks he is, that gets in the way of him actually making good music. The honest truth is, no one cares who is the best rapper in 2021, it is all about making great music that moves people.

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