Riku Lätti - foto: Anton Hammerl
Riku Lätti - foto: Anton Hammerl

SA ROCK DIGEST   2/18/2001 
Paul Drosdzol

Afrikaans music. Yeeeeuuuuugggh, huh? 

Safari suits ... koeksusters ... tannies ... 'Forces' Favourites' ... Sonja... Bles - that's what it's all about.... 

Not SO. Riku Latti has delivered a double-barrelled message of intent to Afrikaans music and it's called 'n Pleister Vir My Nerwe, an album destined to change the boundaries and perceptions of the genre. 

But Riku is no revolutionary, he does not wantonly destroy to completely re-build; he takes tradition and bends it to his purpose, making it more modern, forward-looking and infinitely more cool. 

On this double CD Riku has laid a lot of colourful cards on the table - a veritable running flush of introspective ballads, rockers and (the joker?) a funky hip-hop manifesto - a slice of local thuglife that reveals his gangsta of a heart. One suspects, even with such a strong hand, that Riku still has a couple of aces up his sleeve in reserve. 

Variety and versatility sprawl across this double album, a bright cavalcade of styles and attitudes that keep the listener entranced. 

"Ek voel die woorde in jou longe le tussen asem and nikotien" ... a lyrical line full of longing and regret that glistens from the rocking, melodic and atmospheric 'Pakpoort', one of 'n Pleister Vir My Nerwe's standout tracks and a clear candidate for radio play. 

The songwriting is strong throughout, but what illuminates and animates the words and instrumental playing is the crisp and modern production, crafted by Riku and Peter Auret. The use of studio techniques and technology gives the album a clean, cutting-edge feel that distances it from most of the music in the Afrikaans genre. 

I can't help putting 'Valley' on the CD player's repeat function: after a "beef" with the cops Riku dons "nike cap ... sneakers ... en goud op my nek" and completely wiggas out with a riotous hip-hip romp that sees him hooking up with homies erbal T (a play on Ice-T) to rap about bitches and the thuglife. What makes the track smack with some authenticity is the sharp, dancing beat and Riku's gruff bark. 

'n Pleister Vir My Nerwe is an important album, one which sets standards and shifts parameters. It's a work that most of Riku's peers will have great difficulty in surpassing, or even, I suspect, in matching.