Published Feb 26, 2019The first 20 seconds of Angel-Ho's "debut proper," as she describes it, sound nothing like the hip-hop beats so pervasive in today's popular music. Were a producer to loop those distorted, industrial-tinged beats, you'd have the foundation of a genuinely interesting slice of audio art. Perhaps even a decent Portishead song.
Sadly, Death Becomes Her offers nothing of the sort. Angel-Ho launches into her first rap with news that "my bitch is up for sale," and then proceeds to rhyme money, honey and (obviously) funny.
By the time she purrs about the mouse "always looking for the cheeeeese," it's clear the celebrated South African DJ and electronic music producer has more conventional tastes than the myriad beatmakers she's surrounded herself with.
Asmara, Gaika, Bon, Baby Caramelle and Nunu all make contributions to the disc, as do rappers K-$ and K-Rizz. Too often, they're at cross-purposes. The album is so lacking in continuity that it fails to sustain either a groove or the listener's attention.
It would be unfair not to credit the ensemble for producing an album that sounds nothing like any other record on the market. But being different does not automatically qualify a project for praise. In the final analysis, the album is neither a compelling reimagination of hip-hop nor a pop-influenced avant-garde recording. It is somehow both difficult and unconvincing. (Hyperdub)