Cassper Nyovest has dropped his seventh full length project, Solomon. Arriving without much hype or fanfare, the title references the biblical character King Solomon, who is renowned for his wisdom. Accordingly, he shot the album cover art in front of St. Johns Apostolic Church in Potchefstroom, wearing the sash that makes up part of the pentecostal church’s uniform.
In the listening session prior to the album’s release, he said of the album’s cover and inspiration, “I went back to connect with the Christ in me.” In the two years since he’s released a full-length project a few artists and friends of Cassper’s have died, including Riky Rick, DJ Dimplez, and DJ Sumbody. The sheer volume of grief experienced in this period would act as a catalyst for soul-searching and moving closer to religious doctrine for anybody, Cassper’s explanation for the album inspiration piqued curiosity as to the kind of output we’d be seeing in line with this.
The project’s opening track, however, is a braggadocio laden sonning of anybody who dares question him, exclaiming “le bashi, bashimane baka”. He introspects for a bit at the beginning of “Who Jah Bless” before continuing in the same vein of “Bashimane” with lyrics like “all of y’are hating, lost all of my patience/ Tell me, how many more should I delay to be honoured as a David?” It’s more of the same on “Balmain” and “Ever Changing Times” before he gets poignant on “Candlelight.”
The most divisive track of the album, Cassper looks inward while he contemplates the death of long-time rival AKA. The Megacy took exception to the fact that he did not record any tributes for friends that he had closer relationships with, but instead chose to do so for AKA. In a twist of irony, one of the lyrics on the song says, “And all these comments from people who were never involved/ This aint the time to be stupid and settle the score.”
It’s not hard to imagine that he was as deeply affected by AKA’s death as the rest of the country was. Their rivalry was one of the focal points of Cassper’s career and seemed almost woven into catapulting him into success. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” In the story of Cassper’s career, he’s lost a sparring partner, someone whose talent he respected immensely, “a very important feature in my life”. Unable to express these feelings publicly in the days/weeks/months following AKA’s death, considering the feud, he chose to convey his grief on a song.
He told Nandi Madida, “It’s definitely a personal album. It’s really not about how well it’s going to do, you know I think I’ve done the commercial thing for a long time and I feel like I’m at a point now in my career where I just genuinely want to make a solid project that I’m proud of. This is my attempt at making a classic hip-hop album that will play 10 years from now, and it will stand the test of time. It’s very simple, I really just did whatever came to mind and whatever felt natural at that point. That’s what it’s about for me.”
Seeking out the wisdom of Solomon, this project begins with self-aggrandisement before heading into vulnerability and finally settling on assured confidence. He seems to pass the baton to Maglera Doe Boy on the drill-heavy “018” (one of only two tracks with features) as OGs do when settling in to a different role. It mirrors the process of maturation in that regard, something Cassper has undoubtedly accomplished. In the story of his life and career, Solomon will be looked at as one of the high points.
Listen to Cassper Nyovest on Solomon below.