Mixtape review: Social Introvert II by Kavali King

July 08, 2020

Kavali King has released a 24 track tape entitled Social Introvert II. If one were to sum it up in one word, they would describe the project as “mature”. 

One would expect that on a tape with two dozen songs there would be many misses but Kavali proves that quantity can be quality. Instead he uses the opportunity to showcase his wide range and versatility.

The feeling one gets after listening to the entire project a few times is that Kavali envisages himself as a soldier. This tape, to him, is a break from battle, and he uses it to tell his stories of war. 

The song that portrays this mood most accurately is “Day Moon”, in which he bares his soul and shares his innermost thoughts. He proceeds to also rap about social issues and his confusing position as a middle class youth. “I got friends in the ghetto, I got friends in the gated community/ Somebody show me Utopia’s embassy/ I’m out seeking my mental immunity/ Coz what do you do, when the rich think you broke, and the broke think you rich/ Story of my life, where’s the [expletive] happy ending? / but I won’t [expletive] end it,” he raps.

On “Milekaka’s”, he attacks the unreal ones. “You were sleeping on me, blue ticking on me/ Now I see my goals, you wanna kick it with me.” At the end of the song, he reveals what Milekaka means, and it isn’t a flowery term. 

However, it is not a conscious album. Far from it. On “Hey [expletive]”, he speaks to a lady about her lifestyle, in what seems to be a jab at “slay queens”. He utilises his creative license (the one that gives artists a right to say things that someone else wouldn’t ordinarily get away with) to taunt the subject, masking the attack in a tone of encouragement and counsel. “I’m a [expletive] hero but I can never save a [expletive],” he concludes.

One of Kavali’s strengths, from listening to the project, is his ability to craft a hook. He delivers all manner of choruses throughout the project. He also seems to have a knack for bringing the best out of collaborators. Two of the stand out guest verses are Phil the Pressure’s grime-esque verse in “Bravaz”, a song that pays tribute (this time) to the real ones. The combination of said verse and the infectious chorus, make the song one of the most memorable ones on the tape. Another stand out verse is the one by Mark Mick in “Relay” in which he (Mark Mick) demonstrates that he can rap as well as he can craft a hit.

Another song that will stand out is “Let me in”, a collaboration with the budding rapper, Omani Reign, of the “Tujoge” fame, and Jesse Khingi.

The album isn’t a conscious album but it is deep. You’ll feel a certain way at different points during the 24 track journey. 

There are many other songs that stand out, “LYL (Live Your Life)”, “All on me”, Jeroboam”, “Captive (a song about dynamics in relationships)”, “Mad king” and “Esther”. The last is about a lady that he likes. It’s the kind of song that people will replay at parties. 

There are many other songs that will strike the listener, but neither time nor space can allow for each to be described individually.

However, after listening to the tape, here’s what we know. Kavali King is versatile. Also, he is a storyteller. He is a collaborator. He writes mean hooks. Wordplay is one of his strengths. He also has multiple flows. I later learnt that he produces, mixes and masters as well. The production on the tape is top notch. 

Social Introvert II is an engine through which Kavali flexes his strengths, and proves that he is a rapper to reckon with, while sneaking in some of his ideologies and darkest thoughts. Definitely one of the best projects of the year, in my books.

By Wanjala