Metro FM award-winning local artist Vee Mampeezy has received a lot of criticism since he released his new single, Khubama Re Itshebe and now he is not judged according to his past success, but rather his recent failures. Mmegi Staffer MOMPATI TLHANKANE reviews the song and observes how the star’s hit pond has dried up
As recent critics suggest, it is not too late for Vee Mampeezy to reinvent himself as the people’s artist like he has always been since releasing Pompa Tswidi Tswidi more than a decade ago.
It might be risky to call time on Vee Mampeezy, but the release of his recent song Khubama Re Itshebe suggests otherwise. It may be sad for the most decorated musician in Botswana’s history, but people now cannot shake the feeling that they maybe witnessing the last stand of lepantsula la Jeso.
In his music videos, he uses bankable South African names like Khanyi Mbau and Somizi as means to remain a household name and climb the ladder as an African giant.
Many understand it is not exactly easy to release hit after hit but Khubama Re Itshebe is no excuse for a great artist like Vee Mampeezy.
People have now lost all faith in the iconic powers that defined the symbol of Vee Mampeezy.
Mind you, even though Vee has now signed with an international record label, Universal Music Group, change of record label has never been a problem for the Letlhale hitmaker.
His first and second album, Pompa Tswidi Tswidi and Lamalanga were a product of his own label, Black Money Makers (BMM).
In 2003 he released the successful Kasi Angels under Eric Ramco Records. Because Kasi Angels album was just too good, Vee released The Remixes in 2004. He later released Ntja Mme album in 2005 with hits like Kedi, but Vee still kept his cool even after a swift change from Ramco to Guffy Creations.
Ditshipi Tsame, Kasiology, Stimela, Everybady and Zaza albums were then recorded at BMM and produced hits like Monwana, Cheribo, It’s Alright, Ke Groova, Sanola, Go Swa Motho, Chube, Stagalash, Stimela and Mamacita.
With those previous hits in mind, people still want the then Vee Wa Mampela with the Eyoooo trademark. They want that Vee Wa Mampela who dictated to the music industry with each release and redefined every hit.
But there is something muddled up about Vee’s latest transformation, especially after signing to Universal Music Group. From switching to gospel lyrics and changing the Kwaito kwasa style, everything appears out of step for the house kwasa tactician.
Compared to the last hit album, Supernatural vol.1, which contained hit tunes like Baba and Eita Vee’s Khubama Re Itshebe no longer puts Vee ahead of the pack, but rather he is desperately trying to keep up in an industry where the likes of ATI, Charma Gal and Dramaboi are a marvel to watch and likely to leave him in the shade.
Perhaps Vee, whose real name is Odirile Sento, needs to go back to the crossroads to rediscover his groove styling. He was there before in 2012 when he released his ninth album called Crossroads and it included songs like Shapa Low that never reached stardom status besides that BOMU Song of the Year nod which was shockingly won ahead of ATI’s Ke Lekhete. Before that, Loketo album in 2011 showed signs of deterioration up until Supernatural Vol.1 made everyone forget.
though Vee himself admitted that Supernatural Vol.1 album sold like fat cakes, Supernatural Vol. 2 album that contained good songs like No Suffer was the start of Vee’s decline. In the same album, he featured South African music giant Cassper Nyovest in the song Charger and he began to forget his original audience. He later featured Uhuru and Trademark, but it
His best collabo with a foreign artist was that infectious yet harmonious tune Sumuka with Jah Prayzah. Another hit collabo is that disco/splash song he did with Dan Tshanda and it was perfectly executed for someone with little experience in the genre.
Vee emerged during a time when social media was nonexistent, but his popularity grew as he reigned on radio, made his name on print and ignited our TV screens.
Even with the advent of social media, he found a way to own it and he is the only verified locally-based Motswana artist on Facebook. Now social media is the only thing he has at his disposal that is keeping his relevance intact.
After his recent missing CD incident, his hardcore fans were hoping for the single to be leaked sooner because the hope of bringing back that Taku Taku flavour would not just die.
Of course some did not believe the CD was lost looking at the odd safekeeping breach for an artist of Vee Mampeezy’s stature.
Since the release of the song there have been more bad reviews than good ones, and Vee is no longer in control. Following the lyrically controversial Wabaatsile single that failed to reach national anthem status last year, Khubama Re Itshebe seems unlikely to perform any better.
The single’s production was done in London and it doesn’t appeal to the house dance-crazed youth of Botswana.
From the opening hook to the chorus, the song does not show musical progress. The beat at the beginning of the song sounds more like a cassette player that eats tapes.
Overall, there is no cohesion between the vocals and production because everything sounds horribly out of place.
Perhaps it is harsh to compare Vee now with Vee of then, but the song is lower by any standard of hits from his glory days.
Looking at the success of his I do album launch in 2016, the Batswana audience is willing to pay to see him perform his greatest hits like Sekukuni, but a song like Khubama Re Itshebe is unable to attract continued interest from Vee’s fans.
Back then, Vee Mampeezy would release a hit and he did not have to explain himself because the work silenced even his worst critics.
For the first time since he was subjected to criticism after turning prophet, Vee is now playing victim. He was on radio trying to explain why Khubama Re Itshebe is an instant hit.
He is busy sharing positive reviews on social media, but the criticism demonstrates that he still has the attention of a devoted audience.
Many of Vee’s fans that used to revel in the star’s ability to make hits are disappointed with his recent work. But an album is yet to come so, probably there are better songs than Khubama Re Itshebe.
These moments do not define his legacy. At least his old music is still good.
Vee is without doubt the most meaningful musical icon to emerge from the country but his imperfections are now noticeable as ever.
Maybe he should stick to his original authentic style and make music that comes naturally to him.