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Music Reviews

Vitu joins forces with deft beat-maker & producer, SkinnieZ, to create vibes for (U)

Image via Instagram

Armed with determination and a vision, Cape Town based artist, Vitu has had quite a busy 2017. After releasing This Time Next Week in May, things have progressed rather quickly in his career and he has pushed his artistry to another level. The accolades keep on coming, from being named as one of OkayAfrica‘s 25 under 25 South African rappers people should look out for to being featured on major South African youth culture platforms like Slikour On Life, Zkhiphani.com and Kool Out. Vitu is laying his foundation to greatness, each step or move he makes seems to be calculated.

READ: Vitu releases This Time Next Week and it’s amazing!

He continues to find himself in his artistry as he challenges himself by tackling different sub-genres of Hip Hop, be it Trap, Boom-Bap or Jazz Hop. Most of the work he does with his group, Arcade Music, falls into the edgier side of things with more modern soundscapes that draw from Hip Hop sound that is prominent currently. There are many sides to Vitu – unique and rare trait which only a few possess.

He has joined forces with talented South African producer, SkinnieZ  ,who happens to be the son of the late Hotep Idris Galeta – a legendary South African jazz pianist and educator. Vitu and SkinnieZ’s association comes at a time where experimental music is gaining more traction in South Africa. (U) promises to deliver something that will be breath of fresh air for people that are well-versed in the type of music that Vitu and SkinnieZ make. The dope thing about their collaboration is that, with them, their relation has grown far beyond music and a genuine friendship has formed

READ: Vitu is fearless in his expression and carving a new path in film & music.

Everything Vitu does has some form of significant meaning. When describing the work he is doing with SkinnieZ, he says the following: “Tapedecks & Vinyls is a mini series of songs that take an in depth look into my mind state.. using music as a outlet to express my views on issues I may be facing at the present moment. I am rerunning past memories/ conversing with myself: dealing with different vices while trying to balance everyday life on the come up”. Vitu invests in his music and uses music to document the daily happenings in his life, which is freaking amazing, if you ask me.

Stream Tapedecks [Side B] below:

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Music Premiere Reviews

PREMIERE: KaeB releases a Mr.Carmack-inspired track for his #CozyFridays campaign

Image via KaeB

Can one even stop KaeB? The consistency he has upheld for his #CozyFridays campaign is admirable. He has not only pushed himself but he has pushed boundaries in the small, but growing, South African beats scene.

This time around he draws inspiration from San Fransisco raised, Los Angeles based super-producer, Mr. Carmack. The title of the song says it all. History is being made with this campaign and I don’t think people aware of how amazing KaeB’s campaign is. Oh well, the ones that are sleeping will catch on later.

Stream the track below:

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Music Premiere Reviews

PREMIERE: MelV comes back from a short hiatus to drop a mellow trap joint

Image via MelV

MelV has come back from a short hiatus to give us more music for his #FayaFriday campaign. He comes back better and swinging harder than ever before with a smooth, mellow trap jam to remind us why we should take note of his talent.

The Johannesburg music scene is teeming with talent and the music that is being released is world-class and absolutely breathtaking. Artists like MelV are putting the gatekeepers, if there are any, of the South African music industry on their toes with these quality releases.

Stream KIDS below:

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Featured Music Reviews

A deep dive into the world of murky, emotion-driven & atmospheric beats crafted by Buli

The South African electronic beats scene is growing rapidly. With every passing year, more money is being thrown into the scene, particularly in the events space. A scene which is showing signs of healthy growth, with an audience that consists of mostly born-frees who are part of the new South Africa – a South Africa which is driven by young people finding themselves on the web. It is without doubt that the local beats scene would not be where it is right now without the internet. Friendships and progressive collaborations have been created through platforms like Soundcloud, and social media channels like Twitter, Instagram and the biggest of them all, Facebook.

Movements like Weheartbeat in Johannesburg and Uppercut in Cape Town have helped build the scene to where it is now. An ecosystem is currently being built where young local artists and beats-focused labels can thrive. One young artist that deserves a notable mention is Pretoria-based producer, Buli. Buli appears to hold his artistry up to the highest standard as he one of the very few South African independent artists that understand that in this day and age, one has to create an audio-visual experience for the listener. Many artists fail to grasp the importance of having a dope aesthetic, one that people can attribute to their brands and their music. Buli gets it! Calling on the services of talented, Johannesburg-based illustrator Seth Pimentel indicates to us that Buli is serious about this music thing. This is also seen in how many releases he has with local and international music collectives and record labels. Bigger local, more influential platforms like Superbalist and The Fuss Blog were left no other choice but to take notice of the young beat-maker’s creative output.

The music Buli makes is spacey, murky and atmospheric. It is as if he is painting a picture with sounds, with each track he releases having a distinct personality. You deep dive into the untapped side of music, the side of music that has the power to prompt the listener to bask in the sonic rays emitted from Buli’s sounds. Powerful music. As much as the crowds that enjoy the type of music that Buli makes are still small, the work that local beats producer has the power to connect the kids that mainstream media does not cater for – the neglected youth.

Forward-thinking DJ and tastemaker, Kid Fonque, has managed to kick down some of the doors in mainstream media to open up opportunities for artists like Buli through his show – Selective Styles on 5FM. Now people can get an opportunity to get education on this type of music as it is not a popular sound in South Africa. A legend in the making, Buli will always be respected and remembered as the guy that took the South African beats scene to another level.

Buli recently released a new EP titled Lost In The Void through I Suppose Ja, an up and coming music collective from South Africa. Listen to the EP below.

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Music Reviews

Teddy Pleasure: Confidently carrying the South African flair with Mzansi Mnandi

Mzansi Mnandi, a sub-genre created by a group of young change-makers in Johannesburg, is increasingly becoming a staple genre in certain circles. With influencers like Okay Wasabi, faithfully supporting the sub-genre by using the music in his Youtube series, Kota Past 9 and Sushi With Wasabi. An entire scene is being built off leverage the respective talents that exist in the movement: they have digital media and entertainment. What else could you need when building scenes and movements are built.

Now with all of these young creatives who are relentlessly pushing the sub-genre, it is important to shine a light on some of the musicians that are instrumental in creating the soundtrack for the movement. This is where proponents of the Mzansi Mnandi culture such as Teddy Pleasure come in to cultivate and curate a musical experience. With only a few singles, Teddy has managed to showcase his intent of becoming a household name in the South African entertainment. The work he has done with multi-talented Durban-raised, Johannesburg-based producer/rapper B1 is innovative as it adds a different side to South African urban music. Star-power, attitude and an enterprising nature is what you can expect from Teddy Pleasure.

Image via Teddy Pleasure

The content in the music gives you an interesting glimpse into the daily happenings of a young black South African figuring things out as he moves further and further in front of people’s eyes. The music is filled with original slang, created by the Mzansi Mnandi pioneers and Teddy can be tagged as one of the people driving the language and the attitude to the forefront.

Teddy Pleasure has released about six tracks this year and it is quite evident that he is gearing up to strengthen his efforts in getting more reach for his music in 2018. We’re definitely looking forward to what Teddy Pleasure has to offer.

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Music Premiere Reviews

PREMIERE: KaeB follows his REWORK EP up with SKURR, a tune to kickstart your weekend

Image via KaeB

The Johannesburg-based producer who doubles as an animator is undoubtedly one of the hardest-working creatives in the Southern Africa. Having to balance his personal life, his music and working a demanding 9 to 5 must be a challenge that may often seem insurmountable. KaeB has impeccable time management skills and maintains consistency in an impressive manner.

Over ten tracks have been released for his #CozyFridays campaign and it seems as if he is not slowing down. This week, he comes back hitting hard with a track called SKURR – an energy-filled track that is sure to get you moving and shaking. Perfect start to the long-weekend!

KaeB has tasked himself with heightening the standard of the local beats scene and we should rally behind him in support of his vision. Stream the track below:

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Music Reviews

tronpyre: A Pretoria-based singer you never knew you needed in your playlist

Hailing from South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria, tronpyre is creating sizeable waves in the city’s music scene. Coming from a city so rich in postmodern South African history – most notably Apartheid as Pretoria was the chosen headquarters of the nasty regime – is definitely telling.

The city also boasts an incredible musical history and culture, which often has an evident impact on how South African pop sounds and also informs the direction the South African music industry takes. Culture and language are two of the most important things in Pretoria – you are confronted with the beauty of culture and language as soon as you start engaging with the locals. S’pitori is not just a language, it’s an attitude – one that is definitely distinguishable and can easily be deemed a national treasure. Unbeknownst to most, creatives in Pretoria significantly inform and inspire local popular culture.

Now, when an artist is equipped with cultural currency, magic happens. But how does the history of tronpyre’s place of residence and the culture therein influence his artistry? The answer to that is simple – historical context. When listening to tronpyre’s music, you cannot immediately tie him down to where he is from but what happens is that you are inundated by the atmosphere his music creates. You light up instantly as his voice is powerful – you are left moved and amazed by the talent. A voice that can fit easily fit in the traditional Rhythm ‘n Blues sphere, but what sets him apart is his content. The lyrics in his songs are youthful, modern and relevant to the times, and that’s something that allows his fans (most of which are his peers) to connect with the music more.

He is not your typical singer, he represents and embodies so much more. Burgundy, a project which seems to be his first move to introduce himself to the world is a world-class body of work – one that could fare well if exported to other markets in the RnB and Soul categories. As much as Pretoria, may be more known for commercial and deep house, tronpyre has commissioned himself to show people a different side of the city. And he’s young, so so young, which is even more impressive because the music is incredibly mature but not too mature to defer his young audience from listening.

A legend in the making, tronpyre is destined for greatness. Do not sleep, I repeat DO NOT SLEEP!

Stream his latest project below:

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Music Reviews

PREMIERE: KaeB reworks three South African classics for his REWORK EP

Three words: passion, determination and perseverance. KaeB is a personification of those three words and over a period of a few weeks, he has proven time and time again that he wants your attention and not only that, he wants to be great. We were expecting another track today for his brilliant campaign called #CozyFridays but he over-delivered this time around with the release of an EP called REWORK.

The EP is special because he samples three tracks from South African artists who are now late, namely: Mandoza, Lebo Mathosa and Brown Dash. The first track on the EP is titled HOPE rwrk where he reworked Mandoza’s inspirational track, Hope. The second track he samples and reworks Brown Dash’s smash Kwaito hit Vum Vum, giving it a fresh modern spin and bounce. The third and final track is an incredible rework of Lebo Mathosa’s most memorable song, Ntozabantu.

The work that KaeB is doing is important because he is reminding us of all our fallen musical heroes. He is highlighting the significance of our own history and heritage, while delivering work that could fare well on an international stage. We all need to familiarise ourselves with the Mzansi Mnandi sound.

Stream the EP below:

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Music Premiere Reviews

HOAX drops his debut project & introduces us to MOSH-bounce, a new Hip Hop sub-genre

Image via Arcade Music

Arcade Music member, HOAX, has released his debut project titled MOSH EP. The EP serves as an introduction to the Pietermaritzburg-raised, Johannesburg-based creative who has confidently embarked on a solo journey – giving us a glimpse into his life. We mention a ‘solo journey’ because HOAX is a member of the rising Hip Hop outfit, Arcade Music .

Arcade Music has something that many artists or groups nowadays lack – a sound. Crafting a unique and memorable sound, which can leave an impression on people’s minds is a difficult task which HOAX and his compadres have successfully done. One of the most interesting elements of the Arcade Music story is that one of their members, Vitu, currently resides in Cape Town whereas HOAX and their producer, Subs, live in the city of gold. They use messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger to work on music, where they share files and song ideas – which is undoubtedly impressive because the music that results is mind-blowing and innovative.

Despite being in different cities, the group has not only created a sound but a whole new Hip Hop sub-genre called Mosh-bounce which is a combination of House, Kwaito and Hip Hop. The MOSH EP is an important project for introducing the world to the new sub-genre. HOAX raps in Zulu and English on the project and the content ranges from stories of the come-up in Jozi, the music game, youthful fun and all the dreams that HOAX plans to achieve.

The EP has eight tracks which all have a different bounce and feel that still falls under the Mosh-bounce sub-genre. Speaking on the content of the project, HOAX says ‘ The lyrical content, conveys a message of self-fixing or self-helping to become a more social and responsible individual all together’. As experimental and left-field as the EP is, the project still has a huge personal feel to it which allows the listener to get into HOAX’s mind. The EP features Sicks KRK, Khalil Masia and Vitu with production handled by Subs.

Stream the project here:

To find out more about HOAX, catch him on Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud.

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Culture Featured Music Reviews

Shaka Shoelu: Challenging the status quo & ushering in a new school of thought

Boundary-pushing creatives push culture forward. Think groups like BROCKHAMPTON, Odd Future and local groups like FAKA – who are challenging the status quo. When we first come across these artists, we are reminded of icons like Prince and Rick James who changed how people thought of gender, identity and alternative lifestyles. Conservative ideals of existence are thrown out the window, ideologies are stretched using the most powerful tool known to mankind – music. Globally, young people are realizing how toxic and problematic the powers that be are and that doesn’t leave them complacent – it prompts them to act.

Beautiful times, we live in. Globalization, though having certain some destructive and negative elements, has connected the world in blurs cultural lines forcing you to become part of a bigger one-world culture. Nowadays, there is little to no difference between a kid in South Africa with access to the internet and a kid from South Korea. We’re connecting more than ever, which is why our roots are increasingly important. Artists that make us uncomfortable, challenge us and show us new avenues of art should be heralded. South Africa is no stranger to those types of artists as the internet is strengthening their voices and improving their visibility. The same can be said about enterprising South African artist, Shaka Shoelu, who confidently champions his trans-identity. A growing, vital voice in gender politics especially in Africa where the LGBQT community is often confronted with violence for living out their truth. What better way than to use music to challenge society’s archaic, primitive moral compass.

Though only having 4 songs on Soundcloud, Shaka Shoelu has covered a lot of ground in getting people to pay attention to his avant-garde style of electronic music. Korobela, being the most successful release boasts over four thousand streams on Soundcloud – a feat which is impressive for an independent South African creative. Shaka’s personality comes through, rather, strongly in his music and we get traces of his personality through his Twitter account. The music is not directly political, packed with content that challenges societal norms but Shaka’s comfort in his own skin is revolutionary in itself. The world ruthlessly forces people to project a watered-down and diluted of themselves, so when someone confidently steps into their being that is seen as a revolutionary act.

Artist development and purposeful art movement, Woke Arts has provided Shaka Shoelu a life-changing platform to communicate his art. Shaka is pro-black, proud and comfortable and that’s what we need from the leaders of tomorrow. We need people like Shaka Shoelu to provide the masses with a different lens to view the world and its complexities. In short, Shaka Shoelu is an important figure which South Africa is yet to meet and be blown away by.