Following the impressive releases from Inferno Williams, Tony Dangler(formerly known as Fudge Da Fugitive), Tommy Ills, Impropoe and Illy Amin from 2014 to 2016, the Revivolution camp further displays their intention of shifting the narrative within the South African Hip Hop and general youth culture scenes, respectively. With a team that carries skill sets that extend far beyond just music, they consistently release impressive projects which are conceptualized and brought to fruition in-house by the members of Revivolution.
The creative collective intentionally released Downtime by the charismatic MC, FuSion, on Valentine’s day. The video for Downtime serves to paint a different picture of Valentine’s day and what is expected on the day and alternatively showcases some of the mishaps that may happen on the day. The theme of the video lends reference to some of the gory stories associated with the day and we can mention Oscar Pistorius’ case where he murdered his girlfriend on Valentine’s day. The video dives deeper into all things could go wrong in the human experience, particularly in love. The lyrics of the song give the visuals a stronger punch in furthering the story of video. Despite it being blunt and alternative to generic notions of the day, the song’s video is in line with lyrics of the song. It is a bold move to go the route taken in this video, especially when people are expecting particular depictions of Valentine’s day.
The visuals for Downtime is eloquently anti-Valentine’s Day and it’s great and well-timed.Cinematic storytelling has been missing in South African music and to be honest, in music in general. The songs release serves as worthy showcase of South Africa’s talent. The video was shot at the Bannister Hotel which is located in Johannesburg’s buzzing youth hub, Braamfontein.
As talks of the Grammy’s die down, something incredible happened. A video, which is the result of a creative exchange between South Africa and Switzerland, was released a day after Valentine’s Day. What a treat it is. The song, Arabian Gang$ter, which got some visual treatment is one of the stand out tracks from the collaborative album between YoungstaCPT, a well-respected South African MC, and a producer from Switzerland who is a landmark in his own right, called Maloon TheBoom. The two artists came together to release a project called Y?Fi Mixtape. The title of the album stands to reference Y?GEN which is Youngsta’s own record label with which he releases all his creative work and also runs his own events. The album is also available on vinyl.
The visuals of Arabian Gang$ter come at time where the world is experience the worst Islamophobia. In the song, Youngsta speaks of how marginalized the coloured community is in South Africa. He tells a story of the evident opposites that exist in the coloured community in Cape Town, where religion, the struggle to be identified as worthy group that deserves as share of the fruits of the new South Africa and gangsterism. The song gives you a cinematic view of how life is in the Cape flats. In the song, Youngsta uses different linguistic influences and styles with are authentically South African and to be more specific, Cape coloured. If you ever wanted an honest assessment of South Africa and the Islam faith in South Africa, Arabian Gang$ter is the song to listen to.
The video was shot in Zurich, Switzerland. Youngsta is currently prepping for a tour of Australia which starts next week. Maloon TheBoom and his collective Boyoom Connective are poised to release stellar releases in 2017.
Dusty, raw and gritty can be some of the words that are used to explain lo-fi beats. We can juxtapose those descriptive words with alternatives like smooth, layered and inherently progressive. However a person chooses to describe what lo-fi beats feel and sound like to them is purely personal. However, what is impressive is how the beats are created, the length of the beats and how they are played. One cannot speak of the lo-fi beat movement without hinting at the cassette tape culture. Many may assume that the cassette tape has died and is a lost part of the history of how humans consume music. It could be that people are going through a phase of nostalgia or it could be a trend as to how they are switching back to old mediums of playing music.
The process of making lo-fi beats has shifted from solely being produced on drum machines to going to creating the beats by using software. Despite the beats sounding raw and somewhat unfinished, the process of making them is an intricate one and one that should be held in high regard. Call it a hidden form of Hip Hop art that borders along the dark crevices of the Hip Hop culture. One could even picture a reclusive scientist that chooses to spend his/her days in a basement working on various groundbreaking experiments. Experiments that could easily be tagged as forbidden according to the laws of the universe. In simple terms, lo-fi beats have an inadvertent way of giving you a cinematic experience.
The sub-genre of Hip Hop had to evolve with the times and find a new digital home which would then be Youtube. Youtube has been instrumental in the growth of the sub-genre as it offers an easy alternative distribution method for independent artists which allows the people that love the music to access it with ease. There are Youtube channels that are dedicated to the lo-fi beats movement and these channels have the sole purpose of empowering the producers of this sub-genre. Towards the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, more lo-fi beats producer stepped up and put their music online and have a sparked a trend that the sub-genre needs to survive – the consistent release of music.
Photo credit: GodsConnect via Twitter
One of the biggest Youtube channels that became the home of some of the most impressive beat makers of this era is GodsConnect. The channel soon became the home of beat makers like Knxwledge, MNDSGN, Ahwlee, J. Robb, TUAMIE, malik abdul rahmaan and NAMELESS. Knxwledge and MNDSGN have gone on to become some of the most respected beatmakers in the beats scene and being part of the legendary Stonesthrow records in enough to label them as notable innovators. The unique selling point of GodsConnect has to be how clips of classic movies were used to add to the feel of the beats. By combining these clips and the beats, a cinematic experience was created.
In essence, the lo-fi beats movement is about defiance and staying true to what most may call a lost art form. The defiance is rooted in resisting the direction that the Hip Hop culture is heading into. The movement is about keeping a certain sound of Hip Hop alive and to make sure that it progresses into the times that we find ourselves in. The movement exists in the shadows of the internet and it is something that people can truly own without it being exploited for monetary gain. It is low-key a sacred form of Hip Hop that can have a listener getting lost in the soundscape.
It’s 2017 and we now have Youtube channels that live stream lo-fi beats 24/7. More than anything, the lo-fi beats movement is more about community and being unified under the love for this sub-genre of Hip Hop. We now have Soundcloud channels that are dedicated to sharing and spreading lo-fi beats across the internet. Judging by how many beats are on Youtube and Soundcloud right now, the sub-genre is here to stay and flourish. The cassette and beat machines may soon be obsolete, but since the majority of the beats are produced using computers, the lo-fi beats movement cements itself as a genre that has longevity in music.
The Burlington, United States, producer has released a stellar song which carries an inherent groove and on this one he features Stephanie and Max Bronstein. Letters is a song that has a succinct way of leaving you at ease as you focus on the lyrics, which are beautifully sung by Stephanie. You may be familiar with Loupo through his remixes of classic R&B and Hip Hop songs from artists like Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and The Roots, just to name a few.
The release of Letters is a follow-up from the December 2016 release of a 7-track project by Loupo called Moods and the track also serves the purpose of a teaser for a project that is dropping on the 25th of February called Good Company. Loupo is clearly in his element right as he is consistently releasing gems of note. The project is going to be Loupo’s third album and it will be released through MelodySoul, a record label that has an impressive roster and a community of global producers. With a release like Letters, there is no doubt that Loupo in partnership with MelodySoul have clear intentions of shifting the beats scene as we draw near to the end of Dilla month.
MelodySoul has had great back to back releases as Loupo’s release follows a track released by the Copenhangen based producer, Moo Latte. The label is extending its footprint in not only the electonic beats scene, but music in general. With the release of Letters, music lovers are adequately prepped for a treat on the 25th of February.
Conformity is easy and it is what most default to when it comes to creating and creativity. Conformity can be a threat to individuality and authentic personal expression. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but it is safe to beg to differ especially in the times that we live in when we there are only a few artists that innovate. Fortunately though, the ones that do innovate do a great job and in the same breath what is unfortunate is that those types of artists tend to be find in underground scenes. Some prefer to create for small crowds and some would not mind to be heard by more people.
Radio Ahlee is a potential creative phenomenon that has the power to shift the Hip Hop culture. His creativity can be seen in how he chooses to cloth himself, how he raps and the beats that he chooses to rap or sing on. The Minneapolis, United States, based artist is the personification of being carefree, creative and authentic. He has an interesting way of using some of the mediums of expression that exist in the Hip Hop culture to speak on things that are dear to him. Radio Ahlee is a great example of a carefree black boy as he is known to incorporate pop-locking and other quirky dance moves in his live performances while he simultaneously captivates the audience with his raps.
In 2016, he released an EP called The Universal C.O.D.A Experience. The C.O.D.A abbreviation stands for Children of Da Atom, which lays reference to the beginning of mankind or the first man. Radio Ahlee is definitely an artist to look out for and one that is poised for longevity in the creative realm.
MelodySoul describes itself as a publishing and distribution platform that has its sights on releasing music digitally and in physical form, having formed a global network of beats and electronic musicians from different corners of the world, the record label has its sights on shaking the world up. The record label is only 2 years old but it has already left a lengthy digital footprint on the internet which makes it difficult to ignore they presence and the work that they have put in. The record label easily masks itself as a music collective that came together to innovate within the electronic beats scene with members from America, France, Germany, Canada, the UK, Japan and Switzerland, it’s quite clear that their vision is in line with taking over the global beats scene.
The record label is essentially a result of creative collaborations between like-minded people that share a love for music, connecting people and creative innovations. The way the collective is set up is a representation of good vibes and energy. The record label includes impressive acts like the 20 year old, Coubo, who has a unique style of crafting beats and has taken the electronic beats scene by storm. The label has notable names like ChromataData, Miles Bonny and Ian Ewing who are strong names in the North American beats scene. Another talent that has been impressive and having started making beats not so long ago is CYGN, a french producer who has taken the beats scene by storm with his release of his innovative and genre-bending digital drum kits.As the record label approaches a full 2 years of existence, it has 63 original songs on Soundcloud and six releases on Bandcamp which are available for purchase. The most recent releases from the label are Savour by Coubo and X ESSENTIAL by The Xtraordinair$, a production duo which has a name that holds weight in its own right.
With a solid team and the amount of releases that the label is pushing out, MelodySoul is poised to create a long-lasting legacy.
Art, in all its various forms, moves the world. It has the power to offer its admirers an alternative view of the world as we know it or even the imagined world that is without flaws, pain and tragedy. Art can be ugly and beautiful, but no one can doubt its importance. One of the most fascinating things about art is how it travels around the globe and how it manages to touch people. In the digital age, art can be distributed through different digital mediums and one form of art that can be packaged and consumed in a digital way is-music. With music there is no such thing as a border, there is no such thing as a wall that can separate the people that consume it. Music connects people and we need these connections amidst the times that we are in now as we watch what is happening in America.
In celebrating the power of music and being mind-boggled by its power to transcend borders, we managed to connect with a trio of producers in Melbourne, Australia. The trio is called TimeOut Productions and we connected with them last year when they submitted one of their songs on Nusoulhub Radio. After spinning the submitted track a few times, we were compelled to find out more about the trio. We caught up with the trio in December and interviewed the dynamic trio. Peep our conversation below.
To kick things off, we would like to thank you for giving us your time for the interview. We connected with you guys online, Soundcloud to be specific, the Nusoulhub Radio team may know a little more about you guys. Tell us more about TimeOut Productions, who is the team composed of.
TimeOut Productions:TimeOut Productions is comprised of three producers all from Melbourne, Australia – VictoriousVIC, EarlJam & Late to the Party. We also work very closely with two emcees – Smook Deville (Colorado, USA) and AQ (Melbourne, Australia).
Can you guys recall what the defining moment was that pushed you guys to start TimeOut productions?
TimeOut Productions: The original manifestation of TimeOut Productions was an idea for a website that would feature both hip-hop and basketball related content. The website never really eventuated so Timeout became a YouTube channel. When we started to get more serious about music production it sort of developed into our outlet for music.
What were some of the challenges that you guys faced when you started TimeOut productions?
TimeOut Productions: Being that we have no backing or no team behind us, building up connects from the ground up by ourselves has been a big challenge. The other major challenge is finding ways to actually get your music heard, making the music is the fun part but getting it heard in the currently saturated music scene is very difficult.
Mind letting us in on what is the music scene is like in Melbourne. Australia is known to be a strong producer of quality music and this may be due to the creative scene in the country.
TimeOut Productions: Melbourne is quite well known in Australia for having a strong culture of music. Melbourne is probably on par with Sydney is terms of being the biggest market for music in the country as well. The culture of live music and the diversity in musical styles makes Melbourne very interesting musically, both as artists ourselves and also fans of it as well.
Photo credit: TimeOut Productions courtesy of Facebook
You guys have a distinct sound. What is your creative process? If one were to be in a TimeOut studio session, what could one expect?
TimeOut Productions: At the fundamental level, our music is based on the use of samples and sampling. It all begins with finding the right samples, ones with strong melodies and arrangement. We then take that sample or multiple samples in one and twist it, re-arrange it and mold them into a full song. Many times the end result can turn out quite different to the original sample, depending on the beat. From there we send our tracks to the artists we work with around the world as well as locally, the final product gets completed from there.
We currently live in age where we overwhelmed by the amount of music being released and due to the increased pace at which music is used we often find a lot of monotony in music. How do you guys stay true to the ideals that made you start creating music and in the same breath progress with the times?
TimeOut Productions: For us, music is all about the melody and the feeling connected to that. We also never seek to gout and consciously copy another style of production. In a sense we just like to create the kind of music that we ourselves enjoy listening to. If it is not something we personally enjoy we probably won’t either release it or complete it in the first place. Copying another sound can definitely take the fun away from the process.
Do you guys live by a particular philosophy or a motto when it comes to creating music?
TimeOut Productions: For the most part our philosophy on making music revolves around creating music that we enjoy, music that is melodic and interesting to listen to. We are not really about trying to be something that we are not, I think we just want to continue to improve our production and create the best music possible.
Who are some of your musical influences?
TimeOut Productions:A lot of our musical influences come from hip-hop and hip-hop producers, producers like 9th Wonder, Just Blaze, Kanye and many more, too many to mention haha. We are also big fans of R&B and Soul music, which is a lot of what we listen to these days, artists like Plan B, Amy Winehouse and Mayer Hawthorne.
Are you guys working on any new music? Can we expect a project from you guys soon?
TimeOut Productions: We have quite a few projects currently in the making, they include a follow up album from Smook Deville & VictoriousVIC, a new EP from AQ & VictoriousVIC, collaboration EP’s from EarlJam and a TimeOut Productions compilation album, so we have quite a lot happening so far in 2017.
What do you guys want to achieve ultimately with your creations? Like, is there a grand destination that you guys are working towards?
TimeOut Productions: I wouldn’t say one goal in particular. Seeing the music reach a high level of popularity and see it succeed is definitely a goal though, not even so much for ourselves, but for the artists we work with, they deserve any success that comes to them. Working with established artists that we are fans of is also a goal, as well as to collaborate with film makers.
How are you guys leveraging the internet’s power to push your music?
TimeOut Productions: We would be nowhere up to this point without it. The Internet has enabled us to link up with artists from across the globe, allowing us to make music with them and also get our music heard on online outlets all around the world. It has definitely been a great tool for us.
Which place is the one place that you guys would love to perform at? What can people expect from a TimeOut production show or your shows as solo acts?
TimeOut Productions: As we are not and don’t have the ambitions to be solo performers a TimeOut productions live show would be more of a showcase. We would provide the backdrops and bring up a series of artists on stage to perform, similar to an act like Mark Ronson. We do however perform live as part of the duo AQ & VictoriousVIC as both DJ’s and hype men.
Where can people find your music online and where can people who will be introduced to you follow you online?