The Long Game EP by Shabzi Madallion, Africa’s top tier lyricist and hip hop artist, ShabZi Madallion, finally releases his long-awaited sophomore album, The Long Game The album comes after his strong singles, “You Know It’s Me” and “Soul Cry” (featuring longtime collaborator, Jimmy Wiz) which set the bar for what to expect in his latest offering.
ShabZi explains the title as the acceptance of his long term love for rap and making music, “For a long time I always thought my career would determine when the best time to put the mic down would be but after 19 years of writing, almost 10 years of being in the rap game I realized that even if the career comes to an “end” at some point, making music and writing will always be something that stays with me because it is one of my ways of dealing and processing what I go through on a daily basis, call it a personal diary. The Long Game is me telling myself that I’m in this for the long haul, playing forever especially after seeing the impact the music has on the people that consume it for personal reasons.”
The album explores themes of independence, betrayal, depression, disappointment, love, healing, forgiveness, accountability, and mastership; Topics we know the Lion to address with lyrical prowess and artistic intelligence. An offering that’ll be a treat for his core fans and a refreshing discovery for newer listeners.
The album features artists ShabZi has worked with before who enhance the messaging and present a different dynamic to the current sound;
He enlists Kimosabe on the record “Closer”, a hip-hop love song mixed with RnB kind of record, a theme we haven’t heard ShabZi explore in years. “Love is an extraordinary feeling and when I feel that for someone I’m always likely to protect that feeling more than I want to share it. But some feelings inspire a song and that’s usually the best place to share as an artist.”
He also enlists Jimmy Wiz on the record “Soul Cry” which sonically represents the rap duo as we’ve always known them. The song touches on loyalty and heartbreak as the stand-out themes where both emcees re-visit a disconnecting part in their lives and bring everything full circle in terms of where they’re at now. The kind of olive branch that inspires artists to work it out on wax.
ShabZi also features long-time collaborator and friend, One Shaman on the record “Blessed”, another classic-sounding rap song. The emcees introspect on their journey, accept what was as history, and count their blessings for what the past has inspired them to become. “Any long journey will have its ups and downs but after leaving our souls in the verses, the chorus is there to serve as a reminder that after all is said and done there’s a lot to be grateful for”.
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We also see Mad Lion making an appearance on the album, a character created by ShabZi who adds a different flavor to the music with his wittiness, vocal tone, and fun energy that is needed in this layered offering. “Body” is one of the songs that features another one of ShabZi’s alter egos, Trap Dalli and Madallion. A potential club banger with strong delivered lyrics and stand-out characters.
The album will definitely be a pleasant and refreshing experience sonically as ShabZi enlists several producers to carry the sound. We don’t normally see this many producers on a ShabZi project; Nicki Walker, Buck Roll, Casanova, Daniel Cruz, and Boger, to name but a few, have elevated the sound without compromising what we know the Lion for.
The Long Game will definitely be one for the books in the long run, records like “I’m Ready”, “Blame Yourself” and “Legends in the Sky”, album cuts where ShabZi goes even more personal, will have an emotional impact on people in general and may even help those struggling internally to face and heal their demons and pain respectively. This is more than just music to enjoy but a healing experience, an emotional journey, and the soundtrack to people’s new memories. “It’s the long game, you gotta give me some time” – ShabZi Madallion