N’fa - Cause An Effect

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It’s always interesting when MC’s put out their own solo albums. When they breakaway from the creative stiflement of their more-renowned and well-established combo-acts to stake their own ravenous claims to the harshness of the media spotlight’s glare.

For mine, a hip hop alliance is generally able to maintain a far more consistent sense of interest on a full-length album than that which may be offered up by a soloist. Quite simply a duo or combo have far more options to throw on the metaphorical creative table (heterogony in full effect y’all!) A solo MC possesses a far more limited scope – each track necessarily bearing the mark of their own distinctive vocals, their vision and their creative brushstrokes. They therefore run the risk of a certain uniformity sneaking in to their efforts – each track perilously similar to the one preceding it.

Does N’fa (aka N’famas – former lead MC for Aussie hip-hoppers 1200 Techniques) manage to evade this potentially lethal quagmire? Can anyone? With only one artist on active duty within the studio confines, there can’t help but be an abundance of vast empty space around and about them. It would take a major throbbing talent to plug these gaps through solo-ability alone, and accordingly soloists will most frequently rely on a proliferation of guest artists to liven up their potentially monotonous proceedings.

Unfortunately, N’fa is not in possession of this burning pulsating talent, and as such N’fa’s debut does not attempt to buck the guest-artist-trend in any way – offering up the visiting services of Roots Manuva (on My Style), Yoshiaki (from the Black Eyed Peas), Peril and the Deceptikonz. As an individual MC, N’fa has yet to find his own unique and distinctive style (both vocally and lyrically), and his work at times is a touch derivative (check out his Manuva-styled-mimicry on the track Make Moves). Though, it’s fair to say he’s come a long way from his early work with 1200 Techniques.

All that being said, it’s an album saved from mediocrity by some interesting collaborations and guest-spots. It’s pleasant enough to provide some nice background ambience to an extended session of head-bobbing, but not exactly ground-breaking or genre defining, in either a local or international context.

*As an interesting aside (for me)*: I used to play soccer with N’fa. In his suburban Perth days – at Swan View Park. When we was both little tackers in our little shorts playing with our little balls. Oh yes – N’fa and me – we go way (way) back. To brag further – I also used to be best friends with the brother of Isla Fisher. The ex-Home and Away star about to tie the knot with Ali G. She was one of those annoying little horsey-girls back then. All pigtails and jodhpurs and bitter self-hatred. N’fa and Isla went on to fame-fortune, being doted on hand-and-foot. I went on to a suburban house in Maylands – and a semi-affectionate cat. There but for the grace of God… And the ownership of some form of discernible ability…


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Comment Added

Citizen said on the 20th Jul, 2006

nice review. It would've been easy to just simply slate an artist with such a low degree of credibility, but you've maintained a balanced approach. I particulalry like your comments regarding the nature of solo MC albums as a genre. All true - most solo