Music Reviews

Digital Digger’s Choice: Burgeoning & relentlessly creating a new creative territory with Thiaps.

With “Too kasi for the burbs and too bougie for the kasi” as a description on his Soundcloud profile, you are sure to expect a lot of character from the Johannesburg based wordsmith, Thiaps. Innovative sounds, expression with no compromise and an attitude that is unashamedly South African is what sets Thiaps apart and ahead of the pack. The originality that he boasts can be found in his raps, which is packed with original South African township slang-or one could use the term tsotsi-taal to describe the language used in his music. When listening to his music you are taken aback to an era which entailed Alaska bucket hats, jam-alley with Nimrod Nkosi and Vinolia ‘V-Mash’ Mashego as hosts and Kwaito dominating the South African radio airwaves- and when the Kwaito still shaped South African youth culture. Take those memories of old and mix them with a new youthful flare in 2016. We may have two days left of 2016, but 2016 marked the year where Thiaps released his ground-breaking EP called SUPERFISHAAL.

How often do you get an artist in South Africa or anywhere in the world which can switch between three languages on one song? Multi-lingual artists are rare in the entertainment industry, but Thiaps holds this feat elegantly as he can easily shift from Sotho, Zulu, English and surprisingly a little bit of Afrikaans. The uniqueness that he carries has allowed him to achieve international recognition from Channel ALT from the independent London based radio station, Radar Radio. Thiaps’ creative efforts act as a worthy export to other international markets. The world is clearly hungry for authentically South African music which can give them a sense of what South Africa is like presented through the eyes and voice of a young, black artist that is detailing the daily happenings in the country.

Photo credit: Thiaps Bra courtesy of Facebook

Thiaps is one of the proponents of a new genre in South Africa called Mzansi Mnandi which is a musical personification of some of the experiences that a group of young creatives have gone through and how they choose to live their lives and view the world. Some of the proponents of the Mzansi Mnandi are B1 and XMPL. 2016 seems to have been an interesting year for Thiaps as he also released a collaborative three-track project called 325am which can be interpreted as a play of the word 325is, which is a popular BMW model in South Africa, and AM which may refer to time. As short as project may be, but it has solid theme which is carried through the songs-the songs touch on hustling, being carefree, visions of a life with money in parallel with a life where for one to get the pleasures of having money one has to hustle hence staying up until 3:25 am.

With strong releases in 2016, we would not be too surprised by Thiaps taking 2017 by storm with more quality releases. Thiaps is set out to be a major youth culture landmark like OKMALUMKOOLKAT, who is yet to get the recognition he deserves for giving birth to a lot of the styles that currently exist in South African Hip Hop. Mzansi Mnandi, as a genre and culture, stands a chance to be etched in South African arts and culture history as what Thiaps and his team are working on is inherently original, a worthy export and quality.

Listen to the outstanding EP, SUPERFISHAAL below:

Follow Thiaps on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud to get more updates on new releases and get to know him more.

Music Reviews

JaH Monte drops ‘Toyi-Toyi Hotep’ – a song about the struggles of being black in America, colourism & self-love.

Jah Monte has been bubbling under for a while in the North Carolina Hip Hop scene, but 2016 marks a year where he has made quite an effort to be heard. With a few releases this year which have gained a number of listens on Soundcloud.

Jah Monte has released a powerful song called Toyi-Toyi Hotep which touches on how colorism within the black community in America has affected him, being wrongfully arrested when he was a teen and battling with self-love. The song starts off detailing some of the struggles that he has faced and then ends with King Callis shaking off all the things that were holding him down as he begins to assume a position of confidence. The song acts as a teaser to a project that he intends to release in 2017.

Stream the song below:

Follow King Callis on Bandcamp, Soundcloud & Twitter.


Music Reviews

Brother portrait releases his long awaited EP – navigate:in limbo

The Nusoulhub Radio team got an opportunity to speak to Brother portrait in early November and we chopped it up about his then upcoming project navigate: in limbo. He assured us that the project would be released before the year ends and he stuck by his promise as the project was released a few days ago.

The eleven-track EP is exactly what we expected it to be and perhaps even more, as it serves as a passage or an entrance to black British life. Imagine the all the experiences, emotions, frustrations and joys of being cut between your African identity and a new found European identity, conveyed in music. The project does exactly that, it gives you an opportunity to see the world the way Brother portraits sees the world and invites the diaspora to look into the many nuances of struggle and existence within the global black community. One is taken on a journey of different sounds and emotions when listening to the project and one receives a front-row seat into Brother portrait’s life.

The EP is a perfect layer of foundation for Brother portrait as this project will serve as an introduction to him as artist to many people. Listeners should expect to be educated on the Black British experience, the importance of holding onto your identity despite where you are on the planet and the value of expression.

We look forward to what he will be releasing in 2017 as a solo act and as part of the Black/Other outfit. He did mention that there might be some new visuals dropping soon. So while you wait for the visuals to drop, listen to the EP below.

Follow brother portrait on Facebook, Soundcloud & Instagram.

Business Music Industry Insights

How technological advancements have changed the way we dig for music.

The process of finding music can be chaotic, planned or organized. We all are constantly on a journey to finding new music and the times that we find ourselves in dictate how we will be able to access music. With the recent rise in digital platforms which have significantly decreased physical album sales, we have also witnessed to how differently people behave online when finding music. The shift into the digital age has altered many aspects of our lives, connected the world beyond borders and has also ushered culture into a new realm. Record labels are caught having to play catch because of the technological advances. We are then pulled back to a particular defining moment in history, which is when the first iPod was released on the 23rd of October in 2001. The release of the iPod would soon change the way we listen to music.

As the population of the world continues to grow, we are confronted by an issue of space which calls for a drastic change in how we live and forms part of the reason why we should or are rather forced to let some of our lifestyle choices go. Gone are the days where the people who worked at music stores were the tastemakers and the guides in a journey of discovering music. Nowadays those music store tastemakers have been replaced by complex algorithms and machine learning systems which curate play lists for you on platforms like Spotify, iTunes and Google Play, just to name a few. People are increasingly becoming replaced by machine learning and artificial intelligence systems, or robots if you will.

Baby bloomers may still have vivid memories of how they used to find music, millennials are caught up in the unforgiving and fast digital age and generation Z probably doesn’t even know what a vinyl record is or have been in a physical music store. Generation Z is the first generation to fully have access to what baby bloomers and millennials had to have physical access to at their finger tips. The digital age comes with a lot of convenience-the thought one can 2000 songs on their phone is enough to prove the convenience. The physical equivalent of 2000 digital songs is possibly a room full of records or CDs. One is compelled to look at things from a cost perspective, digital albums are significantly cheaper than physical albums for obvious reasons. When speaking of physical copies of music, you are often forced to talk of the manufacturing that goes behind the production of physical copies of albums. For vinyl, this is possibly even more trickier because of the small numbers of pressing plants in the world. Physical distribution of music comes with a lot of costs because after the production of the copies they have to be transported to stores which creates the need for a logistical partner.

With the digital albums, you cut out many of the processes leading up to the music being consumed by the listener. There are obviously costs to getting your music sold on online stores, but those costs are significantly lower than those one would incur in physical distribution. Due to the rise in digital, we have seen an increase in digital music distribution companies and music aggregators which assist labels and independent artists plug their music on online stores.

Power has been given directly to the artist from a digital distribution point of view and if the artist understands the power of social media and uses social media as tool-the artist has the ability to push their music themselves. The digital age has seen the rise of online music tastemakers and these are normally DJs or people that curate their play lists online. Think of tastemaker Youtube platforms like Majestic, Nostalgic and Trap Nation who have grown to have fairly huge teams which consist of A&Rs and public relations teams which liaise with artists and labels so that they can take advantage of the possibility of gaining good online reach if the music is featured on such platforms. This also pushes one to think of how Universal Music Group opened a case against Google because of how their music was illegally being uploaded by users on the Google-owned platform Youtube.Google was forced to come up with a plan and strike a deal with Universal Music Group and this lead to the creation of Youtube platform, Vevo. Universal Music Group could now directly benefit financially from music being uploaded on their Youtube platform/channel.

Photo credit: Rolling Stone courtesy of

Souncloud boasts huge numbers of daily users and the platform has its own community of tastemakers who are now taking advantage of their follower numbers and making money off the exposure they can give artists. The listener ends up being caught up in all the limbo that the digital age comes with. Questions of which streaming platform, for instance, will make the process of finding music much simpler and less confusing.

Recently vinyl has surpassed digital sales in UK which was something that hasn’t happened since 2007, but if one really assesses the situation, the fact the vinyl sales surpassed digital sales is not that special. It makes sense why in 2016, vinyl sales beat out digital sales and this can be attributed to the increased usage of streaming platforms and the fact that when one person buys a digital album then that person can easily distribute that album to friends or family without the artist or label directly benefiting from that in-circle distribution method. Streaming platforms offer slightly more protection to the artist in terms of cutting out the ‘in-circle distribution‘ and the only thing users can distribute is links.

Digital platforms have given the user the power to dig for music, but we cannot disregard the major influence of technology and how huge of a hand it gives us to selecting and finding music that fits within our interests. We live in exciting times and we have no choice but to adapt and if we find the process of having to go through thousands of songs to find what we like, we have access to online music tastemakers. There is obviously a market for tastemakers and this is seen in the rise of a lot of internet radio stations from all corners of the world. The listener cannot complain about not finding music because there are a lot of online platforms where the listener can access what matches their taste.

Technology is powerful and acts as much needed springboard which aids, in some cases simplifies, our discovery of music.


Digital Digger's Choice Music Reviews

Digital Digger’s Choice: Nerija, an all-female jazz septet breaking down stereotypes in the male dominated jazz industry.

London is known for having an incredible jazz scene which attracts jazz enthusiasts from all over the world. The city has over the years had a habit of producing young and exciting talent which eventually breaks into the jazz limelight. In more recent times, particularly from 2014 to 2016, we have witnessed a rise in acts like Yussef Kamaal, Ashley Henry, EZRA Collective, Blue Lab Beats, Shabaka Hutchings, just to name a few. The London youth are carving their own way and expressing how they understand jazz and what it means to them and that obviously comes with a little bit of resistance from the jazz elders. This new generation of jazz artists is powered by a spirit of defiance which one can interpret as a youthful liberation and expression. One band that is not only defying general norms in jazz but also inadvertently breaking down stereotypes about women in jazz is Nerija. In many cases, women that are in jazz are quickly tagged as singers because that has been a common role that many women in jazz have played throughout the history of the genre. Women like Alice Coltrane, Terri Lyne Carrington, Carla Bley, just to name a few who are pioneers in their own right have laid the foundation for all-female bands like Nerija.


The band consists of Sheila Maurice-Grey(Trumpet/Flugelhorn), Cassie Kinoshi(Alto Saxophone), Nubya Garcia(Tenor Saxophone), Shirley Tetteh(Guitar), Inga Eichler(Bass) and Lizzy Exell(Drums). Each band member is an incredible artist and this is seen in the way they compose and blend their respective musical skill sets.

Nerija released a self-titled 5-track EP on the 30th of September which acts as an interesting introduction into their sound. The project consists of lovely soundscapes which allow for a transcendence of different types moods and emotions-one can be start with head-nodding and dancing carelessly to being caught deep in thought in solitude or even vibing with friends or family. Yes, it’s that type of project, it can be enjoyed anywhere and everywhere.

You can stream and buy the digital album or purchase a physical copy(CD) below.

You do not need to break the bank with this musical treat.

You can keep up with the band here.
Tweet them here.
Catch them on the gram here.

Interviews Music

Kaleem: On creativity, maturing with his art and how he stays true to his passion.

We recently got a chance to speak to the Miami-based creative, Kaleem, who was previously known as Phresh James. We came across Kaleem’s music through digging for music online and we discovered some work by Mr.Manuvers who happens to be Kaleem’s frequent collaborator. Through Mr. Manuvers we came to discover Kaleem’s musical work and the first song we found was the 2012 released single called ThinkingHat. The visuals and the lyrics of the song are a true personification of the song’s title and one could get a sense of the candid but hard-hitting nature of the song which is packed with incredible truths and stories. Our introduction to Kaleem on a music note, no pun intended, entails a story of a man hell-bent on creating work that will inspire, teach, motivate and build people. He boasts other incredible songs which have visuals such as Indigo, Chasingkarats and many more which you will get to find as you start to journey with the man’s music.

It would be a crime to tag Kaleem with the “up and coming” title because his work and time spent in music stands to speak volumes about his capability and what he has offered to the game and what he will offer to the game in the future. Speaking to him opened up a window into his life and how he creates. Our writer and editor, Nkululeko, connected with Kaleem online and the conversation can be peeped below:

We would like to thank you for giving us your time and we always make it our mission to extend our gratitude and appreciation. Let’s jump straight in. Who is Phresh James?

Kaleem: First and foremost I thank you all for the chance to speak with an untapped audience; it’s definitely a pleasure! Well, Phresh James is an artist/composer; father, brother, curator of just that classical yet original feel, and lover of all things awesome you could say. Lol

We’ve noticed that you have gone through a name change. Can you take us through what prompted the change?

Kaleem: Life in all honesty. As I got older it became harder to separate the persona as an artist from my everyday realities which began to take a toll on my creativity. As time moved on I couldn’t relate to the attributes associated with the persona so I decided to drop the name.

For someone that may not be familiar with your music and other creative efforts that you are involved, how would you describe what you do and why it’s important?

Kaleem: If I had to sum it up, I would say my music contains positive messages for the masses. Not trying to call it gospels or anything but I do feel like the lyrics throughout my works contain life lessons that I’ve gone through in which my audience can relate to.

How and where did your musical journey begin?

Kaleem: Well I fell in love with music at a very young age. I was really into sound when I was younger. Over the years I adopted harmonizing, got so engulfed with certain tunes- it felt like an escape. My mother whom was an English teacher got me into creative writing. Eventually it all just clicked after high school; the passion stuck.   

When it comes to music and creativity, who would you say has had the most impact on how you create?

Kaleem: That’s a tough one honestly.. Specifically not one person in particular but many artists in different genres that I was introduced to over the years. A lot of the underdogs coming up.

What does creativity and unbounded creative expression mean to you?

Kaleem: Everything! Especially in today’s industry. There’s so much accessibility at our fingertips, that getting our ideas out to the masses isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

When it comes to working with other artists, how important do you think it is to collaborate with other artists?

Kaleem: It depends. I’m all about building with the individual if/before collaborating with them…Just to establish a connection; otherwise certain joints wouldn’t have happened let alone sounded good. It creates a new opportunity for both artists to connect with there respectable audiences so I believe it’s important.

What keeps you creating and working on music and all the other creative endeavours that you’re involved with?

Kaleem: That passion I spoke on before. Life, my babies, friends. The love that I have for the art. People who tell me they want/need me to make more music for them. That keeps me inspired, that keeps me motivated.

Do you have a particular philosophy in how you choose to live your life?

Kaleem: I do actually! Keeping my faith strong. Taking things one day a time. Living and doing to the fullest extent. Staying true to my loved ones and being as honest as possible with the universe.

Do you have any recurring messages and themes that you always aim to include in your music?

Kaleem: Yes of course! Just stay true; keep progressing, and know that if I can get through it, so can you.

Given a chance, where would you like to perform in the world?

Kaleem: Awwwmann.. If given the opportunity I know I’d love to perform overseas. Ideally in the UK; London, France, Italy.. I hear it’s lovely and residents are more receptive to the music there.

How would you describe your music to someone who may be coming across it for the first time?

Kaleem: Let me see.. The best way to describe MY music.. Lol, Hmmm. I suppose in a sum up I’d categorize it as timeless, soulful, hip hop, experimental funk. Yeah! I like that.

Can we expect some new music or a new project any time soon?

Kaleem: Of course! I’m constantly building my catalog, writing references, experimenting. 2017 will be consistent- on kings! I’m really excited to for you all to hear what I’ve been brewing over the past year and a half!

In closing, where can people find you and your work online? Do you have any words for the people that have been supporting you and the ones that are going to get to know you?


To reach me, just mention me on twitter
Instagram: kaleem305

Or to get a hold of any of my previous works just check my soundcloud

To my listeners and supporters, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking around as long as you have. I look forward to the progress for us all and can’t wait to showcase the passion; as always two fingers to the believers.

Kaleem is set to impress in 2017 and the Nusoulhub Radio team will be following up on his movements for latest information about new releases and prospective dates for project drops. Be on the look out. Follow him on social media to support his music.

Interviews Music

Vitu: Fearless in his expression and carving a new path in film & music

Honest expression is something that is difficult to come by and expression that knows no boundaries can easily translate into a form of liberation. An unbiased observation of society and particularly its youth, since the youth is going to be carrying the torch and pushing society into the future, is important in trying to understand how important expression is to young people. One can even stretch the notion to a point where we can hold creativity up to a high-esteem and treat it as a commodity. With mind-blowing advancements in technology, it feels like time is moving faster and more people are starting to feel left behind in life and work. In these fast moving times, the burning question is: Who has the power to mold, move, lead, direct and create culture? The answers that may be derived from that question may vary from person to person, but one thing that goes without doubt is that a creative mind has the power to move mountains and often times, art is what shapes society and unfortunately it does not gain the acknowledgement that it deserves.

It is not easy to go out and carve your own path to do what you love, but one individual is fighting off the struggles that life brings and that individual is none other than the Pretoria-born, Cape Town based creative, Vitu. Vitu is an artist that takes up a stance of making people realize the power and value in art and this is reflected in how he chooses to live his life and his career choice.

His understanding of the influence the places you may or may not have a choice to live in shows in how he crafts his music. “I am originally from Pretoria and spent some time in Jo’burg for my studies and moved to Cape Town for work. When I was in Pretoria, I was making Pretoria-sounding music and when I was in Jo’burg I was making music with a Jo’burg feel. And now that I’m in Cape Town, the city reflects itself in my music”. What we gathered from that statement was that Vitu is an artist that has a deep understanding about how location has a huge impact on work that an artist creates. Here is an artist that is connected to his surroundings and an artist that knows how to connect how he feels, what inspires him, people he comes across and the spaces he inhabits, which is absolutely amazing.

“When I was in Pretoria, I was making Pretoria-sounding music and when I was in Jo’burg I was making music with a Jo’burg feel. And now that I’m in Cape Town, the city reflects itself in my music”

Vitu forms part of a musical outfit called Arcade Music, which covers feats like beat production and the creation of quality music. The fact that the members of Arcade music are friends allows for a genuine synergy when they jump in the studio to create music.

ArcadeMusicNusoulhub.jpgPhoto credit: Arcade Music. Courtesy of Arcade Music Facebook Page.

Creatives are often challenged by one thing – and that is balancing working and doing what they truly love. In Vitu’s case, that is not necessarily the case as he works in an industry where he gets to do work that he is passionate about. “At the end of the day, I need to eat. I can’t disregard the importance of having a job and making sure that I survive. I don’t necessarily struggle with balancing my work life and my creative life, because after work when I get home I get to work on my music. It gets crazy, sometimes I sleep late. “I love working in the industry that I’m in, being in the film industry in Cape Town is cool.  I get to build crucial connections that I can later on use in the future. Let’s say I want to shoot a music video, I would have access to people that can help me conceptualize and shoot it.”

“At the end of the day, I need to eat. I can’t disregard the importance of having a job and making sure that I survive.”

When asked about the differences in the respective creative scenes between Jo’burg and Cape Town, Vitu had the following to say: ” Cape Town is very small which makes it easier to connect with people as opposed to how big Jo’burg is. Jo’burg is more fast-paced and you can get things done quite quickly. Due to the size of scene in Cape Town, things are slightly slower but one can’t take away the amazing creative work that the city produces. It made sense for me to move to Cape Town after spending some time in Jo’burg.”

When it came to the topic of music, Vitu made it quite clear that he wants to make music and that he doesn’t want to be boxed in any category that will limit the lengths his creativity can take him when he creates the work that he puts out. “I think it’s unfortunate that when you make music that is not necessarily popular, you get tagged with the word underground. I really don’t like that word. I just want to make music. And just because I made a few jazz-influenced tracks with a boom bap feel doesn’t mean that I will never make trap. Don’t get me wrong, I love trap. But the reason behind why my music sounds the way that it does at the moment is because of what I have been listening to recently and the space that I was in.”


Photo credit: Vitu Maphenduka

“I think it’s unfortunate that when you make music that is not necessarily popular, you get tagged with the word underground. I really don’t like that word. I just want to make music.”

Artists often face struggles when it comes to creating the music that we enjoy so much and it is unfortunate that we hardly get to see the challenges that they go through to create. “Last year, I didn’t make a lot of music. I wasn’t in a space where I could make music. But this year, I was like let me go at it again and things started working out. People responded quite well to my first single, which is great.” Vitu released about 5 tracks this year and people responded quite well to ones that are particularly going to be in is new project which will drop in 2017.

“I recently got a new laptop after my other laptop got stolen. And unfortunately that laptop had a lot of music that I worked on that I had initially planned to be in my next project. I am making beats and trying to recreate what I had worked on, but it seems that I am taking a direction that differs from what I had initially planned and it is coming out quite well” he said. He is working with a lot artists that he has met in Cape Town, which includes his partners in Arcade music and DJ Skinniez. 2017 is looking quite great for Vitu and it seems as if it will act as a defining moment, so to speak.

When asked about when we can expect his next project, which is called This Time Next Week, he said the following: “I am still working on music and I plan to release it on Bandcamp for downloads for free and people can pay what they want if they want to and on Soundcloud for streaming. All the other platforms like iTunes, I will consider later on but for now I want people to be able to access the music” he said.

“If all goes well, I plan to release the project in March so that I can have February as a month for promo” he said.

Vitu is scheduled to impress in 2017 and we’re quite excited about that. We’re looking forward to what he will deliver in the next year.

Catch him on Soundcloud here .
Catch Arcade Music here .

Our movement, help us define it.

Featured Interviews

Meet XMPL: A duo that is pioneering an authentically South African sound called Mzansi Mnandi

South Africa is seeing a healthy rise in the innovation of authentic music, culture and the avenues used for expression. The country is experiencing a defining moment where young people are untangling themselves from societal holds as they begin understanding how important it is to own their identity and their representation. The current generation of youth, even with their own unique struggles and problems, is relentlessly finding new ways of expressing itself which invites onlookers, local and international,  to have a real view of South African youth culture through a lens that is owned by the brave and creative youth of South Africa.

We cannot deny the power that the west still has on how young people in Africa view themselves and this is due to the magnitude and influence of western entertainment. As time proceeds, more young people in Africa are paving their own way, creating and telling their own stories. One group in particular that is pioneering a new wave and is undoubtedly shifting youth culture to a good place, is none other than the Johannesburg based duo XMPL.

We recently connected with the duo online and found out more about them and how their musical and creative journey started. Through back and forth conversations via email, we managed to knock an interview with them which turned out to be very interesting.

First things first, we would like to thank you guys for giving us your time. Let’s jump straight in, tell us more about XMPL? From what we’ve gathered online, XMPL is a duo. Who forms part of the duo?
XMPL: Firstly XMPL would love to thank you guys for the support we really appreciate that.

XMPL comprises of two good friends namely Producer/Animator KaeB (Kabelo Tsoako) Songwriter/Vocalist and Animator Bringo (Sthembiso Brian Mpehle).

Where did your journey in music begin? How long has it been? We exist in a really beautiful time when it comes to how boundaries are being pushed in South Africa, musically that is, you guys must have an interesting journey on how it all started out for you.

Bringo:  We’ve both been highly influenced by music ever since we where kids, both local and international music. I used to perform way back in primary school, reciting Andre 3000, Skwatta Kamp and Pitch Black Afro lyrics to my classmates. I wrote my first official verse in grade 7 after watching the movie 8mile.

KaeB: For me music has always been a thing but I can say it officially began in grade 10.

What is the significance of the name XMPL ? Mind letting us in on how it came about?

Bringo: The concept behind XMPL came soon after KaeB and I officially met at an Animation company we both used to work for. We would have long conversations about the music industry in our country and more often than non we would complain about how a lot of emerging artists where literally just mimicking other artists and not really creating or adding value to the craft. This was when we decided that instead of always complaining about the game, lets rather be an ‘example’ of what we feel the game should be, from our sound, visuals to our overall brand. Hence the name XMPL which is pronounced example.

XMPL has a different sound which is definitely innovative. Your approach to Hip Hop is quite refreshing. Can you tell us more about your style of music and how it came about?

KaeB: Our style really comes from various genres of music, from Jazz, Neo Soul, Boom bap, Kwaito, House Music the list is endless, also us not trying to conform to the norm is what helps us find our style, and remain fresh and unique.

How are you guys planning to leverage the power of the internet? The internet has made it possible for artists to fully adopt a DIY approach to make sure that their ideas come into being.

KaeB: We exist mostly online, that’s where most of our reception comes from honestly. About a year ago, one of my beats was played by Soulection Radio, which just goes to show how much power we have online. Also we are known for the Kronikles of Hip Hop which is an online animated series created by Phaatoonz, which was founded by Bringo. In a nutshell the net has really helped us push our brand in many ways and we will continue to exploit it!!LOL.

What do you guys make of the South African music industry? Do you think that it is accommodating to drastic changes which have the potential to shift culture? Because in all honesty, you guys offer a creative release which is authentically South African which can easily be exported to other countries.

Bringo: I honestly feel like there’s much more that can be done to improve our industry, this is why we exist. The biggest problem is we’ve developed what I call an “Import behaviour” which means all we do is adopt styles, cultures from abroad and convince ourselves that they’re authentic and originally South African. This becomes a problem because all we now have are a bunch of cheap imitations, we are like the China of music. That time we have so much original and authentic cultures, styles, and sounds that the world has yet to experience, this is what we are trying to put out as XMPL.

Can you describe your creative process? What can one expect from a XMPL studio session?

Bringo: A lot of laughter, mumbling and freestyling. We usually vibe out as soon as KaeB creates a melody on fruity. The writing process usually comes way after, once I’ve come up with a few catchy flows.

Who are some of your influences, locally and internationally?

Bringo & KaeB: Mdu, Andre 3000, J Dilla, Madlib, Flying Lotus, Thebe, Hugh Masikela, The Internet, Joe Nina, Pitch Black Afro, Thandiswa Mazwai, Micheal Jackson, Bonobo, The Streets, Mike Snow, Mr Scruff, Twistyle, Mawilis, LOL the list is endless.

There are ongoing talks within Hip Hop circles globally about the disconnect between the new generation and the old generation, where the old generation is talking down on the new generation and the new generation is saying well F it, it’s our time and we’re going to do Hip Hop or music in our own way. What is XMPL’s view on that? Do you think it’s important to pay homage to those that laid the foundation for you to do what you do?

Bringo: I’d just like to clarify something, XMPL is not a “HipHop” Duo, our catalogue of music comprises of more than just Hip hop. We would like to think of ourselves as Mzansi Mnandi. However to answer your question, it’s always good to pay homage and understand where any and every genre began, this makes it easier for you as an artist to break the rules and come up with new ways of communicating ideas. I feel the problem comes when people become purists so much that they want to preserve the art in such a way that it doesn’t grow. Hip Hop is the fastest growing genre of music in my opinion, from the culture to the sound, everything about Hip Hop is always changing every day. So I think the disconnect comes when the old school doesn’t want to let the kids live!

What can someone who is not familiar with XMPL expect from a XMPL project?

KaeB: Well a lot of different sounds ranging from House, Kwaito, Jazz and Neo Soul all fused together, Alongside Bringo’s crazy unorthodox melodies, flows and harmonies.

Are you guys working on any project that we should look out for?

KaeB: Yeah we are currently working on a project titled Voicenotes and Breakfast, with our first single being Madala, which is currently out on Soundcloud, Itunes and local radio stations such as Yfm. We also shot a dope video you can check out on youtube; XMPL-Madala.

We’re nearing the end of 2016, what are some of your plans for 2017?

Bringo: Well we have a lot in store for the coming year, like dropping our first project, more music videos, crazy collabo’s, innovative live performances, merchandise, touring and TV shows.

In three words, describe what being a creative/artist in South Africa entails?

Bringo: Perseverence
Poverty LOL.

In closing, where can people follow you online? Any words for your existing fans and potential fans?

XMPL: You can find us on Instagram, twitter @XMPL_ZA and on YouTube XMPL- Madala also for bookings email us on or

Thank you very much.

 You can check out the Pha Toonz Youtube channel here.

Our movement, help us define it.