EP REVIEW: Jack Parow – From Parow With Love

Jack Parow’s music is hardly ever renowned for being inherently intelligent. The general impression of Parow is that his music mainly revolves around getting drunk and partying. That is probably because people only remember him for songs like “Cooler As Ekke” and “Dans Dans Dans”. He is hardly ever remembered for his songs that revolve around complex emotional themes such as “Tussen Stasies” or his anthem for the working class “Ode To You”. Drinking and partying may be an inherent part of Parow’s nature, but it is not the defining characteristic of his music – it is merely one of many aspects. His latest EP, From Parow With Love, quite accurately reflects this.

The EP may reduce him, and his collaborators, to fewer songs than usual but it does allow for the listener to become fully aware of the multifaceted nature of Parow’s music. The majority of the EP, with the exception of two songs, was done in collaboration with Dutch artists that Parow encountered through his touring of the Netherlands. The EP reflects a sense of cultural and linguistic amalgamation as each artist spits bars in their own mother tongue. Dutch finds itself flowing into Afrikaans and the similarities between the two languages quickly become apparent. A new generation of Afrikaans liberalism finds itself jostling for attention with the much more low-key and liberal nature of the Dutch mindset. Parow sees fit to state in the opening song “Kattenkwaad” that “Jan Van Riebeeck rap nou saam met Khoisan” – a statement that would curl the toes of the conservative Afrikaans, but clearly shows that Parow is past trying to appease his conservative critics. He rather delivers a stunning statement that reinforces the idea that Cape Town and the Netherlands has come together for this EP.

“Party To Much” featuring Ertebrekers and reflects the emotional side of Parow’s music and ironically confronts the statement of “you party to much”. It does seem like Parow has become moderately jaded with the idea of consistently partying. His music may contain high-tempo electro beats and the thundering backbone of electro rock, but it seems like he is becoming tired with the notion that he is only interested in getting drunk and partying. It is an understandable issue to rap about seeing as Parow is now in his 30s and has a daughter, thus getting drunk every night is no longer something he can really do. Either way, it is tremendous to see Parow engaging with this topic in such an emotional fashion especially since his fanbase mainly consists of students.

The final two songs of his EP are the only two not done with Dutch collaborators. The first is “Rebel Till He’s Dead” – a heart-warming tribute to Pieter Dirk Uys, and yet another aspect that reflects that he is continuing his war against conservative Afrikaans ideals. Yes, the Apartheid government may have tolerated Uys’s presence, but he did openly oppose the government and his policies. It is an interesting tribute because in today’s age – Afrikaans is under attack as being the language of the oppressor yet Uys did so much openly critical work in Afrikaans. This is something that many people seem to forget.

The final song is Parow’s mashlab collaboration with Freshlyground:“Army of One” – a ridiculous and satirical take on James Bond that also subtly criticises society’s focus on hypermasculinity. It is evident that From Parow With Love is an intellectual affair fuelled by a hybrid of hard electro, electro rock and the eclectic world of alternative hip hop.




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