In preparation for his 3 projects dropping in the last quarter of 2022, we revisit Neo’s last compilation; The Neo Pitso EP. The cover of the EP is a portrait in mosaic form. Neo is fitted in a military jacket, Cuban Links chain and a pair of Alexander McQueen sunglasses. Sometimes, keeping it simple is the winning strategy and on this occasion there’s sophistication in the simplicity. The mosaic would suggest that listeners, will be presented with various puzzle pieces that ultimately reveal the story of Neo Pitso.
Track 1: City of Welkom
“I was born in the ghetto// they said I’m nothing special/ I moved outta the hood, turned me into a rebel
From his demeanour to how he presents himself people often conclude that Neo was born with a silver spoon, but the sobering reality is to the contrary. This hard hitting anthem was definitely a crowd favourite with its sweet melodic harmonies nestled into the powerful hook that proclaims:
I’m thinking of ways to honour all the promises I made when I was a youth
This ode to his city of birth is a well pieced number that begins the project on a high note.
He continues to wax lyrical on the next track titled “Ape Sh_t”. The intricate rhyme scheme and usage of alliteration and assonance make playing this jam, a real treat for the ears. The cadence and overall feel is thoughtfully composed. One can be forgiven for head nodding enthusiastically and completely overlooking the serious subject matter of gangsterism and crime, in post-apartheid South Africa.
Neo puts his gift of storytelling on display with this masterful track. Each element on the track is carefully chosen to produce a harmonious end product worthy of adoration. Showing his vulnerability he takes us on a trip down memory lane touching on subjects like his family’s hardships in the townships of South Africa. The song ends on a cliff hanger when Neo finds out that his childhood friend, Katez, was almost decapitated during an armed robbery at the same venue they frequented as kids almost 20 years ago.
I almost lost my friend that’s what I should say
Pain gone we starting to see some good days
What’s a Neo Pitso compilation without a track about suicide? Honestly, I think he has covered the topic in every compilation which isn’t to take anything away from the seriousness of the topic, but simply to say fans would be aware of the inner battle Neo’s been having for some time. His struggles with depression are laid bare on My G.O.D as he finally declares to start putting his Goals Over Death. His adept storytelling comes to the fore yet again as he masterfully explains how his demise would be his final work of art on the pavement. Dark!
The project descends further into dark territory as Neo tells a story of his brush with gangsterism at a young age.
Real thugs in my section/
I just did it for protection/
Not one for the weapons/
Rather 1 on 1 like Eleven/
It all started when I got robbed/
Felt I needed back up/
The adlibs make this track a stand out as Neo uses his voice like an instrument in the second half of the song. This is a certified head banger regardless of the subject material.
The lead single of the compilation, stand out track and sleeper hit has to be Money First. For the first time we get a glimpse into how Neo puts together an actually hit song and he did not disappoint. From adlibs, to harmonies to the actual lyrics Money First is a winning recipe for Neo Pitso. If this is the future of his tracks we are in for a real treat. The true test will be using the same formula to create more hits. Can he do it? That remains to be seen.
Thankfully the project continues to take a lighthearted turn into more positive topics and vibes. We see Neo team up with frequent collaborator AB Crazy for their third hit. Something appears to be missing from this one. It’s not as catchy as “We On” but fans will still find themselves bopping to the tune. The song sounds very rushed and not well thought out. Neo could have handled this one solo and made it work.
After controversially being advised by a record label to remove the name of the featured artist. Neo obliged but still released the song as per their original arrangement. The politics behind the song sully what should’ve been a great collaboration and the start of a great working relationship. Sharp eared listeners will be able to tell who the featured artist is without hesitation. Savage is a playful and catchy tune that completes a thorough body of work from Neo Pitso.
The Neo Pitso EP is available on Apple Music. Be sure to follow him on Instagram, link below:
The Neo Pitso EP https://apple.co/3LREXKV