Review: Sketchy Bongo - Unmasked
3.5Overall Score

Over the past two years, Sketchy Bongo cemented himself as one of the most creative and successful producers in South Africa. His futuristic approach and ability to think outside the box has helped him take the work of artists he has worked with and lift it up to a new level. He has worked with the biggest names in the country and, unsurprisingly, the demand for an album from the producer was at an all-time high. So, Sketchy Bongo released ‘Unmasked’ – a 14-track record which really shows off his skills.

The record features the smash hit singles ‘Back To The Beach’, ‘Let You Know’ and ‘Love Me In The Dark’ – songs that have already proven successful with audiences around the country. For the record, Sketchy joined forces with the likes of Tresor, Cara Frew, Locnville, Wolfpack members Shekhinah, Kyle Deutsch, Deemo and many more. The star-power is there and each artist adds their own flair to the record.

Unsurprisingly, the production is electrifying. Local music has never sounded better and it’s thanks to visionaries such as the producer and it’s so evident on collections of work such as ‘Unmasked’. That, paired with some excellent writing and catchy hooks, makes for an exciting album to listen to.

Sonically, Sketchy proves he is able to take on every genre. The album is a mix of Pop, EDM, hip-hop, R&B and dance music. This shows just how versatile Sketchy is as a producer, however, if I’m honest, makes for a rather confusing listen. While I understand that the producer opted for a “something for everyone” approach, the album becomes messy and confusing and shows a lack of direction. Honestly, I think it’ll hamper the commercial success of the record. However, if you take a look at each song individually, Sketchy proves he is ahead of the game. Each track has something special to it and could easily become a radio hit – something not many artists are able to do, especially on their debut record.

Sketchy is paving the path for producers around the country. Much like Timabland did with ‘Shock Value’, the producer proves that producers are able to be the stars. ‘Unmasked’ is an important album. It shows producers that they are able to showcase their work on their own projects and not just piggyback on the records of the musicians. There are many gems on the album and I have a feeling Sketchy will dominate the local airwaves throughout the entire year with singles off this record. ‘Unmasked’ is a solid debut from the producer.

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