Truth be told, Khumo “K.Set” Sethoba is a profound word magician who writes soulfully and recites fluently, observes Ace Moloi.
#TheWorldIsBeautiful is Khumo “K.Set” Sethoba’s latest offering, which has a total of 10 tracks, including the hit single, Flavour. I must confess that when I began the review session of the album I vowed to listen to each song only once for a first impression, but Crown Stories (featuring PrimeEzy) humiliated my commitment.
I found myself replaying K.Set’s philosophically rich second verse. The beat of the song is melodically moving and KSet rides on it with the simplicity of a superstar who feels “almost there, but not really”. You cannot listen to it once, especially if you live on the cutting edge of possibility, ready to live your greatness.
Just as I was about to lose hope in ever moving on to other songs, @Tshire_Rakhs comforted me with her tweet saying, “I listened to the whole project, but I keep repeating Crown Stories.”
If Crown Stories makes me suspect KSet of having produced this body of work from a point of existential angst, God Bless the Children displays the symptoms lucidly. He laments: “If you asked me I’d say God is good, but you need proof, right? . . . ‘cause I am pretty desperate; I got a point to prove.”
Born-again Christians universally often feel pressured to pin-point the exact locations of their blessings to justify their faith. And the rap industry, like the new age church, is built on commercial ambitions. In church hyper-faith preachers are exploiting the vanity of youth to sell us increased favour for the newest BMW on the market.
So, everyone now runs to the nearest man of God who will prophesy that they will win the tender bid. The world they live in is spectacularly materialistic and as children of God they cannot be left behind, without signs and wonders.
In writing his music, KSet – both as an artist and a churchboy – seems to have felt forgotten and unappreciated. He tells me, “This project highlights the emotions I’ve gone through over the years—emotions that I sometimes go through, although I believe I’ve learnt how to deal with them [now]. I no longer really care for appreciation, especially in this city. But yes, I think I am unappreciated. It’s more than a feeling at this point; it’s more of a knowing.”
Cameras (featuring Sam Akach) is a self-love and validation composition. With it KSet reintroduces himself as the city’s rap flavour who should be on every station’s playlist like a jingle. His flow here is patient and his verses self-assuring, simmering as the beat sears them into our consciousness, so that we stop “tossing the crown around, disrespecting the king”. Sam Akach hooks the song up affirmatively, repeating: “I am in love with cameras . . . I told you that I am handsome.”
Stories Untold appeals to the curious mind that always goes beyond the Instagram smile and sees the story sparkling in your eyes. It urges us to think deeper about our human interactions and create a safe space for flaws to flourish. “The world is beautiful, depending on how you view it,” asserts K.Set.
If you’re into feel-good music and not this deep talk, worry not. You’re set, k? There’s Party and I Love It for you if o ipatlela monate feela. These two songs have a Kwaito influence to them, which is unsurprising, given the fact that Kwaito legend Kabelo Mabalane and TKZee as a whole are among K.Set’s industry heroes.
K.Set’s admiration of Kabelo, however, is deeper than music. It is a tale of a shared faith and a testimony of profanity to profundity. Kabelo’s story of repenting from drugs and crafting a new identity as a churchboy inspires KSet in his own path as an artist who is Christian and is proud about it. “My Christian faith influences my being. My being influences my lyrics,” he says, explaining that his faith doesn’t limit him but makes him “disciplined and responsible”.
Indeed, K.Set writes with responsibility, thereby becoming one of the few voices of reason when hip-hop to everyone else means to be rich beyond the reach of their means. He questions society’s material measurement of success and reaffirms the centrality of God as his anchor.
His music is as clean as his speech itself, and he’s cool with the reality that in the reigning hip-hop culture, his decision to resist writing with impurity might cost him a couple of downloads.
He thanks everyone who loves his sound for growing with him over the past decade, going on to beseech them to be evangelists of his music. “I’m hoping [#TheWorldIsBeautiful] catches the attention of the relevant big players in the industry. It needs to get my name mentioned in circles I’ve never been mentioned in before,” he declares his dream.
And his music’s foot soldiers haven’t stopped raving about his new work online and on earth. Tweets @Georg_inho: “In conversations about the best lyricist in the game, ke ba betsa ka link [to the album] ya mogolo @KSetOfficial.” The consensus is common. Says @Thobby07, “Let’s be honest, @KSetOfficial didn’t just release music, but daily anthems for 2019.”
Others, like @Mr_Snowblak_TSL and @Lehlohonolo_13 have simply described the bearded rapper’s tape as a “really dope body of work” and a “pure bliss” to listen to.
Truth be told, Khumo “K.Set” Sethoba is a profound word magician – a great storyteller in the words of @The_Mookzilla– who writes soulfully and recites fluently.
With his ink he paints the world beautifully, intercepting any evil communication to save his generation’s morals. He is an adherent of good music like his major influencers J.Cole and Kendrik Lamar.
He is a creative minister who loves his people and serves them as faithfully as he does his Lord on Sundays in church, capturing worship-filled moments with the front camera, which he moves around like the hand of a crane.
Ace Moloi is an award-winning author, freelance writer and writing consultant.