Highly Frustrated Mixtape – Phaze, a story of survival as a youth (Review)

Highly Frustrated Mixtape

Highly Frustrated Mixtape  comes at a time when almost everyone is frustrated especially the youth. Phaze and his Secta III affiliates (Zenji, C.U.P) are not far from the aforementioned age group. When you are broke, hungry, desperate and yet talented what do you do? That is what this tape is about.

Phaze; whose lean, treble like vocals make him piercingly unavoidable just like his influences especially the Compton Native Kendrick Lamar and for the rest of the featured artists North Carolina native J Cole.

Attention spans lately are so small but this tape won’t let you skip a track until you are sure what you are hearing exactly what it is. In the first half of the tape you notice an inclination to grooves of frustration from G Funk inspired Battle Cry, Another One Bites The Dust and the half of K.S.L. Merit, Diamond, and Money up to Nothing; you get the obstruction that is excessive.

One Love which features Romeo (R.I.P) marks a notion of hope to the tape. In away the solution to the causes of Frustration tends to pop up. Track 11 which is Zenji’s Interlude (it is a spoken word piece by Zenji). If not anything, he rants on what it means to be alone whether you are talented. To paraphrase he says; if you are nobody no one will pay you attention. People will support you only after you have made it. You don’t need anybody’s acceptance.

A lot of young talent goes to waste ‘cause nobody gives them attention… I tell you this if you work hard and nobody gives you attention you are bound to fail. Nowadays people pay for attention, you gotta learn that! – Zenji speaks on Zenji’s Interlude

Right after Zenji’s Interlude the tape goes into a resolution state in that tracks like Fuck The Devil (FTD) seal the deal. Rap About it is a sentiment that invite conversation inform of talking about it.  There is an album mentality on this tape which reminds you of Kambajulire almost being an album. Unity is preached on Majje on which Zenji also makes a debut as a rapping figure.

Phaze hadn’t released music at all and dropping a 17 track mixtape that took about three years to arrive at, you realise the patience of a highly frustrated kid making frustrated music just to offer leadership. Lead You On offers a Phaze in need of intercourse with a lady literally and literary. The lady is more like the society, nation that offers opportunities and takes them away immediately.

She opened her cookie wide….. Hey girl I can’t handle this pain. – raps Phaze on Lead You On

The tape is wrapped up by FTD and Outro. Outro solidifies Secta III’s influences and Phaze’s fascination with American Hip Hop artists especially Kendrick J Cole to Snoop Dog for those G Funk inspirations and reggae vibes more like an honour of Snoop Lion.

Unemployment, peer pressure, broken hearts and dreams, aspiration, and all the problems of youth consume this tape. Phaze worked closely with Nase Avatar, his childhood and school friends who make up Secta III to make this tape. This pays off with the shared mentality and stories like K.S.L, Diamond all tracks that important for the tape.

Two of Kendrick’s albums inspired Highly Frustrated; that is, To Pimp A Butterfly and Untitiled Unmastered. Kendrick as an artist Kanye, Jay Z and J. Cole are in one way or another alluded to on tracks like Black Soul, Diamond and the Outro respectively. This doesn’t render the tape original in fact how Nase manages to play around different samples and beats for the tape makes it unique to itself.

Men! F**K this sh*t, I am tired of running/ C.U.P aka Cushion boy, Imma tell you somethin’,  I am gon’ eat – chants C.U.P on FTD

Boom bop, Trap, G funk, a lill drill and all is on this tape; everybody is catered for in the most articulate and raw design. The stream of consciousness dates as early as 2012 and numerous events come before 2017. Besides the processes of making it then, the issues in the country today especially the youth problems are given first place to render this tape a highly conscious one.

Despite the attempt to uplift youth and all, the project isn’t so inclusive at moments where some allusions to things not in Uganda are made. Mentions of Glocks make the project a little distanced but an understanding of Phaze’s influence enables you to ignore such moments. The lingo is top front urban. CUP’s vocals (badly handled) disappoint but Zenji saves the day with his David Obua lines on Majje.

Highly Frustrated Mixtape  is one to highly listen too, crafted with Phaze’s role models in mind to create a familiar and yet unique sound. One Love calls to mind J. Cole’s No Role Models.

Phaze’s debut Highly Frustrated Mixtape is unapologetic, humbling and so diverse. You take the devastation route till you lose it with him, an exploration of his consciousness and storytelling of tales from the come up, is  quite a journey for a newbie rapper to make a concept mixtape.

If you listened to J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive you will get a part two of its Outro the Secta III way – mad hilarious is the word indicating youth need to have fun at the end of the day what away to end a tape!

Not many mixtapes have a storyline and even if some mixtapes are gimmicks this one is worth the bother.

Download  Highly Frustrated Mixtape Below:

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