Pretoria rap-trio Bittereinder – with a bunch of talented friends – released their newest album Skerm in November 2014.  The “adapt or die” culture of the SA music scene requires nifty tricks, some gimmicks and a futuristic sound. Their third album delivers sufficiently.

Sturdy influences from their travels to Europe are prominent throughout the album. Peach van Pletzen’s  (production/backing vocals) hooks are infectious and Jaco van der Merwe’s lyrics are better than ever. Judging by the lead and title single off the album’s music video, Louis Minnaar’s talents knows no bounds.

Here’s the tracklist with our favourite lyrics:

  • Ampersand

“She (this beat) makes me sarmies with marmite and weetbix”

  • Vagevuur

“Moerse leeg hier binne – skadu’s teen die muur” (slick reference to Van Coke Kartel’s Skadu teen die muur perhaps?)

  • The Ones (featuring Tumi Molekane & Tim Beumers)

“No way to know for sure how Oslo her heart go” (Tumi Molekane’s guest verse sounds like an after thought to a bad Tinder date.)

  • Klankanatomie

“Ek snack nou aan triplets / Vat my lunch met die brudge/ Die naweek is die chorus / Met ‘n possible repeat” (Poetry. Not the shop. The literal meaning.)

  • Taalmeng

“En dis juis my strydgrond, dis ink en papier, ‘n eindelose sinkende gevoel in die tydsrivier” (A rad reference to Lark – a group who blessed the world way before their time.)

  • Jou Tyd Sal Kom (featuring Hemelbesem)

“Skryf dit op jou voorkop / My eerste taal is hip-hop” (Peach’s chorus summarises the feel of this prophetic song)

  • Doodsberig

“Ek’s nie band vir die dood nie, net bewus van my mortality, ok wag, ek’s doodbang, flikkers soos ‘n sterretjie” (References to #geldwolf, Talib Kweli, and Twitter abound in this introspective track)

  • Altyd Genoeg

“By elke verkeerslig glo ek dis die einde” (What do you know about existentialism?)

  • Tribute

This whole damn song. It’s a summary of South African music.

  • Rymtevaarder

“Dis mos jakkals op ‘n reis met ‘n leeu en ‘n perske” (Reference to their first album’s opening track: Jakkals, Leeu, Perske)

  • Skerm

“Ek weet wie ek moet lek en op wie moet ek spoeg” (The punchiest line Jaco has ever concocted.)

Bittereinder is, admittedly, a live band. Skerm is great to listen to, but it’s heavy as hell. They balance this perfectly live, by covering Pretoria buddies Desmond & the TutusPretoria Girls. Speaking of, you can download their cheeky PTA GIRLZ remix here.

This is one of the best acts South Africa has seen. It’s a privilege to see them live, and the fact that their progression from their first album to Skerm is evident, proves that these fellows have adapted, and won’t die soon.

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