Born in Tanzania, and based in Copenhagen, Denmark, Ronald Mkiza is a gifted rapper and songwriter who set out to perfect a balanced musical vision, influenced by genres as diverse as Hip-Hop and Afrobeat. His latest two-track EP, “Chapter 1: Romance Begins,” gives us a clear insight into the levels Mkiza has reached in his endeavors. Unlike his contemporaries, he never rushes things. He’s meticulous in his work. Thanks to a bevy of thoughtfulness and remarkable craftsmanship, Ronald Mkiza’s releases are always ready to captivate listeners. What he displays as a lyricist and conceptual EP constructor across “Chapter 1: Romance Begins” places the Danish-based wordsmith in the company of his continent’s brightest rising stars.
To watch Ronald Mkiza is to view an artist who doesn’t move at the industry’s pace. He dances to his own tune, and rather than deliver a handful of throwaways wrapped in fake gloss, Mkiza serves up a taste of soulful and emotional hip-hop tinged with R&B and Alternative flavors. “Chapter 1: Romance Begins”, at its heart and true to its name, is an EP about the intricacies of love. The journey here goes straight into the mind and soul of Ronald Mkiza.
Lyrically, the wordsmith has elevated, and has completely mastered the art of the memorable hook, with Tien delivering some acute and ear-warming vocals on the opening track “Pay Me”. There isn’t a verse rapped or sung on this cut that isn’t filled with enthralling lyricism and soul-stirring vibes. Honesty, the unapologetic kind, drives the project and creates a sense of eavesdropping on an authentic confession and confrontation filled with vivid imagery.
The production on the EP is thick and rhythmic, on par with Ronald Mkiza’s excellent previous offerings. He leans into layers of percussion and background harmonies, giving his musings a groovy, smooth, and heavy gravity.
“Down” rides almost exclusively on the drums, skittering hi-hats, and deep, intermittent bass rumblings. The rest of the soundscape is covered by the array of voices placed in the arrangement, and on which Mkiza does an excellent job of rhyming over.
Setting a strong mood and creating a universe where wordy, layered lyricism can cut through this unusually dynamic percussion and vocal backdrop is a gift few have. But almost as if he was driven by second nature, Ronald Mkiza keeps a consistent groove in his rhyme schemes.
He delivers his verses with an eloquent resonance that have a piercing effect, and switches up his flow and his wordplay constantly to remain versatile, really showing off his awareness of the sounds underscoring his voice.
“Chapter 1: Romance Begins” is another ambitious leap forward for Ronald Mkiza, one that encourages listeners to lose themselves within the artist’s mindset and feelings. Mkiza’s masterful use of voice and meticulous choice of words is a skill the new wave of rap artists are constantly leaving behind.
Mkiza fills verse after verse with equal parts sentiment and confidence, giving each track a life and message of its own without ever sounding forced or unapproachable. Hence the two-track EP, “Chapter 1: Romance Begins” keeps Ronald Mkiza near the top of the lyrical totem pole.