This weekend the Springboks did the thing I predicted, but in the most incredible way possible, and Kanye West managed to completely blow my mind on an album that I was initially apprehensive about. I’ll get to the triumphant Springboks later, but let’s digest Jesus is King first.
Kanye’s breakout single Through the Wire recounts the car accident that nearly ended his life. Telling then that his “come to Jesus” project calls back to the genesis of his personal Damascus journey in a single sample that swells to a smooth Kenny G saxophone crescendo.
The story goes that Kanye was in his car and heard the door ajar/seatbelt beep, sampled that and built the entire song around it. As an unabashed Kanye stan this renewed my faith in West’s unmatched genius. First there’s the ability to recognize the melody in a largely annoying sound. Then there’s the connection to the incident that sparked his meteoric rise.
You can say many things about hip hop and Kanye West, but he deserves credit for making it the dominant genre of music right now. West elevated the role of the music producer to the general public consciousness to the extent that it changed how we perceive and evaluate music now. Every Kanye album has offered different ideas of what can be considered to be hip hop to a point where, and this may sound a bit extreme, he is incapable of producing a bad album.
While I don’t really care for his message on Jesus is King because I’m not on his journey, hearing such a quintessentially Kanye moment almost entirely swayed my opinion. The key change on Ghost Town off of the Ye album was all I needed to excuse a lacklustre project, and this beep on Use this Gospel will carry me through to anticipate the next Kanye West outing.
Hier kom die Bokke
Wales was always going to be the most stern test of the competition. We’ve beaten the All Blacks and matched them on many occasions over the past 18 months, so the possibility of meeting them in the final was never a concern. But Wales is one of those teams that force you to play poorly because they’re out to spoil and torment.
South Africa are known for physicality and inexhaustible ferocious defense. Wales do the same. Smash you up front and try keep you pinned back and apply pressure until you make mistakes that they can claim penalty points off of. The Welsh try, for instance, was a statement of intent.
Having already conceded two scrum penalties with a retreating set-piece, Wales chose to attack the Springboks’ biggest strength on the day. I watched the game with my sister and told her that the ball would come out quickly into an 8-9-12 strike move. The entire stadium knew what was coming and they still executed the scoring move off a scrum that was moving backwards. That’s equal to your professional rival coming for a braai at your house the day after losing a big contract to you and stepping mud all over your couch while pouring you a congratulatory glass of expensive champagne.
Rassie countered Gatland’s introduction of the silky smooth marksman Rhys Patchell by bringing on our howitzer Frans Steyn. The last 10 minutes were clearly going to be an air raid of note to gain territory and then get into position for the match-winning drop goal. Steyn was of course there for the longer range assault. It was riveting stuff.
In the end a magnificent touchfinder from the ever erratic Faf de Klerk got us in position to then seal the deal with a penalty. The Springboks crept over the line in dramatic fashion and I did some permanent damage to my vocal chords.
Again, this was a game where Rassie applied a little touch of brilliance to remind me why I rate him so highly. Both teams knew exactly what to expect of each other and delivered exactly that. The outcome was a product of efficient game management and Rassie’s dogged persistence with Damian de Allende’s more direct talents.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 28, 2019
De Allende’s try showed all the nuance of these tight encounters. The dragons swarmed around the Springbok centre to cut off the passing options and stop his run. I was on my feet, screaming for him to offload to a teammate, but DDA saw the threat to an errant pass and believed he could make the yards to the line.
South Africa had opportunities to try and stretch the Welsh wall on turnover ball, but the game plan was to pin them back and capitalize on opportunities in their half, so Faf and company duly punted the ball into red territory. That idea resulted in the final points that carried us over the line.
Armchair pundits like me make a lot of noise about Faf’s incessant kicking and De Allende’s lack of distribution. I’m just glad Rassie doesn’t listen. Now on to England.