The third studio album from Pretoria-born rapper A-Reece is delivered as a musical sequel to “Paradise,” his 2016 debut album. This album synthesizes his long and eventful journey from a gifted teen entering the game to the lyrical cult hero he has since become.
The rapper has remained sharp between albums by releasing acclaimed mixtapes, solo and collaborative EPs, as well as making show-stealing and smash features.
Being a sequel to “Paradise,” its contents have to be of more artistic relevance than the former, yet we would not stampede into a conclusion until we are done with this review.
- Artiste’s Name: A-Reece
- Project Type: Album
- Project Title: P2: The Big-Hearted Bad Guy
- Writer(s): A-Reece and the featured artistes
- Genre: Hip-Hop
- Release Date: 20th October 2023
- Number of Tracks: 19
- Runtime: 46 minutes
- Record Label: Revenge Club Records
Tracks in P2: The Big-Hearted Bad Guy
The 19 tracks in the album are carefully selected and arranged to reflect the overall thematic bearing and its sub-concerns.
Each track can be enjoyed as a single expressing an independent thought and can also be viewed as a part of a whole. The tracks in the album are:
- Intro featuring (Jay Jody)
- The Run
- West Africa Time feat (M.anifest)
- El Dorado featuring (Fly Anakin)
- One Time featuring (Blxckie)
- Ving Rhames
- Changes Interlude
- Angelz and Demonz
- White Noise featuring (Jay Jody)
- Set in Stone featuring (Joey Fatts)
- Ronnie’s Interlude
- God laughs featuring (Sjava and Shekhina)
- Bruce Wayne
- Too Much
- Champion featuring (M.anifest)
- Better Now Interlude
- Better Now
- Want it All
Features and Collaborations
The album has a restrained and calculated energy, apparent in handling A-list features (M.anifest, Sjava, Shekhinah) and regular collaborators (Jay Jody and Joey Fatts).
The calm manner in which he addresses sore topics shows that A-Reece’s maturity has recalibrated his notion of what paradise means.
A-Reece’s P2: The Big-Hearted Bad Guy’s Art Cover
As simple as the nursery rhymes are the art design of A-Reece’s “P2: The Big-Hearted Bad Guy.” At the album cover is A-Reece fully kitted in a gentleman-style blazer, sitting quietly but focused: a posture peculiar to a deadly mafia in a gentleman’s disguise.
This simple-looking picture represents the “big-hearted” feature of the rapper, while its mafia aesthetics account for his “bad guy” status, whether lyrically or characteristically.
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As earlier mentioned, the tracks are independent contents weaved into one project. A detailed exploration of the tracks as independent entities will give rise to a full understanding of the album.
First on the project is “Intro.” Acting as the first song off the much-anticipated album, the introduction depicts the encore vision and major theme of the album.
Being delivered by A-Reece’s blood brother, the “Intro” has a theatrical setting with Jay Jody soliloquizing before an imaginary audience, giving them a preview into the “doings of a bad guy” with the line “And if I am the one that they should fear, then so be it.”
Being the one they should fear reflects the position he has attained in the SA Hip-Hop scene, and he is currently on “The Run” to take over the continent as indicated in the second track.
On the third track “West Africa Time,” A-Reece employs the services of Ghanaian rapper M.anifest to deliver a piece full of elevated bars and hard-hitting flows.
Prior to the release of this album, A-Reece has eulogized M.anifest multiple times for his outstanding penmanship, citing that they are the champions in Africa; the real “big-hearted bad guys” whose exploits form the bearing of the “Champion,” another track delivered by the duo.
On “One Time” featuring Blxckie, A-Reece condemns rappers’ random switching to other genres of music and abandoning rap to die. The track shares a similar thematic construct with MI Abaga’s “Fix Up Your Lives.”
On the 8th track “Angelz and Demonz,” the rapper takes the listeners into his past as he reveals that he has indeed made some negative choices in life, just like everyone else.
Midway into the song, the rapper speaks about the bold steps and the positive energy he has exerted to earn the position attributed to him now. On “White Noise,” A-Reece and Jay Jody throw light on the political occurrences in South Africa.
The topical issues raised in the song are leadership failure, social resistance, and “Fees Must Fall” (a student-sponsored protest movement that started in October 2015 to restrain the government from increasing school fees in the universities).
On the 10th song, “Set in Stone” featuring American rapper Joey Fatts, A-Reece gives thanks to Allah, celebrates the excellence of the black man, and finally immortalizes the veteran rapper Nas.
This track shares a similar message with “God Laughs,” a collaborative effort of A-Reece, Sjava, and Shekhinah, showing gratitude and giving application to God.
“Ronnie’s Interlude” is a hard flow of bars where the rapper hints at the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent loss of his father during the period, and the effect the loss has on his career.
In “Better Now Interlude,” A-Reece reflects on the occurrences and situations that led to the disbandment of his former group (The Wrecking Crew).
The song reminds listeners that A-Reece was a member of a group known as TWC (The Wrecking Crew) before the split which made all the members pursue solo careers.
Former members of the crew were A-Reece, FLVME, Ecco, Wordz, and MashBestz. The track is significant in diverse ways as the rapper tells stories of the old good days of the defunct group, and his usage of his local language in delivering the song.
This track will definitely attract a plethora of criticisms, appraisals, and commentaries as the rapper hardly raps in his language. The track might be the first-ever.
Rapping in his language on this track shows his attempt to take his fans to the spiritual root that housed the defunct group and his love for the discontinued brotherhood.
“Outro” is the last offering on the album. On this track, the rapper shows gratitude, appreciation, and acknowledgment of the love he gets from people around him.
Seemingly, he pays tribute to the legend and Super Mega AKA, whose life and career have influenced SA Hip-Hop.
Album Summary and Rating
The album has a total number of 19 tracks with a 46-minute runtime. A-Reece and the featured artistes wrote the songs in the album, with production credits to Corgan, Michael Tuohy, Nathan Wemba, and Kennedy Sabin.
Thematically, the major standpoint of the album is the protection of A-Reece’s lyrical heroism: a concern he has fashioned as “bad.” The “Bad Guy” in this context means “a highly endowed person,” “a guy of great artistic potential,” etc.
Album Overall Rating: 9.5/10
- Track Order: 9/10
- Song Placement: 9/10
- Flow of Songs: 9.5/10
- Arrangement: 9/10
- Song Progression: 9/10
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery:
- Lyrics and Storytelling: 9.5/10
- Message and Articulation: 9/10
- Concept and Artistic Expression: 9/10
- Narrative and Presentation: 9/10
- Vocal Interpretation: 8.5/10
- Instrumentation: 9/10
- Soundscaping: 9/10
- Musical Arrangement: 9/10
- Sonic Craftsmanship: 9/10
- Sound Production: 9/10
Enjoyability and Satisfaction:
- Pleasure Factor: 9.5/10
- Entertainment Value: 9/10
- Listener’s Delight: 9/10
- Overall Enjoyment: 9.5/10
- Fulfillment: 9/10
- Performance: 9/10
- Realization: 9/10
- Implementation: 9/10
- Delivery: 9/10
- Artistic Rendering: 9/10
- Wordcraft: 9.5/10
- Poetic Expression: 9/10
- Lyrical Prowess: 9/10
- Penmanship: 9/10
- Verbal Artistry: 9/10
- Song List: 9/10
- Album Order: 9/10
- Sequence of Tracks: 9/10
- Track Order: 9/10
- Song Arrangement: 9/10
- Audio Engineering: 9/10
- Sonic Craftsmanship: 9/10
- Audio Production: 9/10
- Sound Manipulation: 9/10
- Acoustic Mastery: 9/10
- Singing: 8/10
- Vocal Performance: 9/10
- Voice Artistry: 9/10
- Singing Style: 8.5/10
- Vocal Delivery: 9/10
- Auditory Journey: 9/10
- Music Appreciation: 9/10
- Sonic Voyage: 9/10
- Acoustic Adventure: 9/10
- Hearing Engagement: 9/10