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CACO - Single Review: Lights Off

19 Jun 2023 // A review by Steve Shyu
Raneem Caco, aka. CACO has continued to make waves in the hip-hop scenes of Aotearoa over the past six years. Releasing nearly three dozen recordings in that time, as well as countless live shows, the Iraq-born musician/producer is only doubling down on his craft.

His latest comes in the form of a single, entitled Lights Off, and has been receiving acclaim since its release on 16th June. Let’s shed some light on this new offering.

The backbone of the tune consists of a few bold yet simple guitar notes (I assume it’s guitar!) and a very urban and slow bounce in the drum rhythm. Interestingly, unlike a lot of present-day rap and hip-hop, the sub is used sparingly, only booming when needed at endings of passages and in bursts during the chorus. Or is that just a coincidence my speakers are heavier on subs?

Regardless, the instrumentation backs the vocal content well. The lyrics ebb and flow with the beat beautifully, much more in the style of early 2000’s hip-hop than a lot of post-2010 rap. Well, based on what I’ve listened to anyway.

Cut the lights off,

You should get used to the darkness,

That way you can see when I spark,

Lights off,

Maybe I’m ruthless not heartless,

For that I need a heart

A lot of rap and hip-hop that I enjoy most play with samples during and at the end of lines, as well as pre-recorded interjections. Not just in a gimmicky way, but to accentuate the verses, and add a playful dimension to the presentation. CACO seems to do this well; there’s a Street Fighter nod as he announces “Hadouken!”, and a cheeky “Wait, what??” to cap off a twisty sentence.

CACO projects through his coyness and subdued edginess, bouncing slickly through line and verse. There’s no spitting and shouting here, and no need for exuberance, because why should he? Hip-hop of the bygone decade was full of that; CACO is doing things his way.

Go hear Lights Off live on Saturday 8th July, 2023 at Wine Cellar in Tamaki Makaurau; tickets available HERE. Get in quick, as the release event for his Chisme EP was sold out!

Also check out CACO on Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, and Apple Music.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About CACO

CACO is a 23-year-old South Auckland raised Iraqi. Over the last 6 years, CACO has become an all encompassing musical artist; producing, mixing, mastering, writing and recording the near extent of his 30+ track catalog.

A current 3rd year AUT Mechanical Engineering student, CACO still puts extreme effort into his creative pursuit while still keeping on top of his undergraduate studies. This dichotomous double take on life is also prevalent in the music CACO puts out. From old-school boom-bap tracks with hard, heavy bars, to sultry RnB vocals over melancholic, melodic beats, and everything in between.

To date CACO has performed over 100+ live shows, including as an opener in a national tour, released almost 40 tracks and has found himself rubbing shoulders with some of NZ’s most promising up-and-comers.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for CACO


Year: 2022
Type: EP

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