Mclyne Beats Drops New Album ‘Highs & Lows’ Narrating Personal Stories, Escapades and Reflections


Mclyne Beats has released a new album titled ‘Highs & Lows’, which is a journey of personal stories and reflections of sorrows and joys in equal measure.

mclyne beats releases new 2023 zimhiphop album highs and lows

It is a project with sombre moments of sheer melancholy — in which the listener has no option but to feel empathetic towards him — as well as light-hearted moments of sensual pleasure in which the listener truly feels the humane elements shared by Mclyne in this project.

With the prevalence of Zim Hip Hop as one of the mainstream sounds in Zimbabwean music, it is surprising that Mclyne Beats’ name is not mentioned as regular as it ought to be.

Here is a hardworking, diligent, intelligent, highly creative, and innovative producer-rapper whose ambidextrous abilities in sound production/engineering and songwriting/lyricism are of supreme relevance in the Zim Hip Hop sphere.

What is often glossed over as far as the discourses around Zimbabwean hip-hop are concerned is how Mclyne Beats is one of the pioneer artists who ushered in new waves of contemporary sounds in the genre. Much of the sounds that new-age Zim Hip Hop artists lean on can [arguably] be attributed to producers like Mclyne Beats. It is as moot a point as it is also a concrete point. A material fact of Zim Hip Hop history.

He has always strove for rap sounds that infuse new elements in a genre that can be susceptible to a dearth of originality. Yet he does this with an ingenious, contextual flair that enables realistic representations of the lives of young urban dwellers in our contemporary post-settler society. His is a clever sound that entertains and resonates with a multiplicity of daily lived realities for Zimbabwean urban youth. 

And his discography vindicates this assertion — the albums TIME and Vision, as well as Luv Remedy EP, Luv Remedy II EP, and the Formula EP

Even the hit song Ibanga Iroro with the awesome Probeatz is a true testament to this. And Ibanga Iroro had that cross-generational feel and appeal; it was a universal sound blind to age, class, gender, or any other societal fault line.

He has not bothered himself with the niceties of giving his distinct sound a subgenre name, like what we see with, say, TrapSungura (TrapSu) or Shebeen Rap or JechaTrap. Yet, even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t struggle giving his distinct sound a unique name of its own. It would be some dope etymology.

And in this he has never been afraid to lay bare his heart and soul for all and sundry to have a glimpse. Mclyne Beats can sound overly-emotional at times, a fact that shows how true artistry must never shy away from vulnerabilities. His emotional outbursts can be soft or ragged, and it can either be for cathartic purposes or a means to garner more [mental] fortitude. It is what we see in the new offering Highs and Lows.

His emotional proclivities are mostly palpable in the thorny aspect of romantic relationships, but in Highs and Lows he starts off with a polemical introduction in which he tells us of his strained relationship with his father. It is a story his listeners were not privy to. It is a sad story — Mclyne openly raps that he loathes his father. That his father has never cared for once. It is sad.

The second track Bee naMore featuring long-time collaborator R.Peels is a lamentation of how we all wished to be adults, naive to the harsh realities and responsibilities of adulthood. It thus becomes a cathartic artistic piece with a nostalgic longing for the innocence of childhood.

With the album Highs and Lows, Mclyne Beats delved into somewhat uncharted territory — his personal life stories. The third track, Makuseni, continues with the childhood trauma of a broken, impoverished family, alluding to the fact that his consumption of substances is partly meant to offset the stinging bite of these horrendous memories.

The fourth track, 4 am, sees Mclyne telling us of an unfortunate tale — how the father of Mclyne's next-door neighbour romantic lover caught the lovebirds in the act. He narrates his turbulent escape afterwards, and how he harbours bitter feelings towards this woman; that the woman never cared about Mclyne at all by exposing him to such risk. 

The title Highs and Lows then becomes a befitting one: the highs of all the personal victories achieved and obstacles surmounted while growing up from a troubled childhood; and the highs of euphoric substance consumption in the contemporary as he enjoys his artistic craft as well as offsetting the memories of his troubled childhood — and the lows of a depressed post-settler economy both in Zimbabwe and South Africa (where he is now based), as well as the lows of broken romantic ties and childhood trauma.

The rest of the project rolls off into romantic complaints and pursuits (Track 5, PaDen ft Kgaldrogo); and spirited quests to conquer the concrete jungles of urban centres in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

This is manifest in Track 6, Let’s Get To The Money; Track 7, B x 4; and Track 8, CBD, which features Dough Major. Track 7 implies four Bs — Bag (money), beans (sex), beers, and blunts. Yep, that’s pretty much unhinged. But it is not a rare thing to expect from Mclyne. Track 8, CBD, comes with some clever wordplays from Dough Major and Mclyne, and they are enjoyable without becoming banal.

The last part of the project is a conflation of romantic highs and lows. And we love the collaborations on these tracks. Best fit. Track 10, Satisfaction, talks about a yearning for sexual satisfaction and it features some wavy raps from Just Jabba. This is not the first time that Just Jabba has been featured on Mclyne Beats’ tracks. The chemistry cannot be denied.

Track 11, Ndiite Sei, features another long-time collaborator, Probeatz. It is by all accounts a lovely track — a tug-of-war battle of monies in a relationship between man and woman. Relatable story that one.

The concluding track, Tisangane, features Toblo, and it is a wonderful sonic journey of perceived romantic ecstasy. Live fast. Life is tough, but we survive through the highs and lows, me and you, baby. That’s what Mclyne and Toblo say in this mellow conclusion that is dashed with RnB inclinations.

  •  Album Rating -  7.9

You can download/listen to Highs & Lows by Mclyne Beats via the Audiomack link below:

Or via this Spotify link.

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