Culture Featured Music Reviews

New Age Tariyana: Bhubhesiii’s brilliant attempt at giving Kwaito a much needed lifeline & reminding the culture not to forget its roots

With “Kobayashi uphethe inumba numba, baby labafana amangamanga” as the track’s opening line, you are confronted by unadulterated, uncensored and proudly kasi content. Unapologetic in his creative might, Kobayashi (better known in the South African entertainment streets as Bhubhesii) elegantly carries his Kwaito influences on his back as he resurrects a fallen South African sound. Bhari is the title of the song, heavily reminiscent of a time in the South African entertainment industry where acts like Mandla Spikiri, TKZee, Brown Dash and Mdu were the talks of the town.

I sat with this song for eight months, absorbing and unpacking its genius. Eight months, I sat in my room marveling, or rather listening to this mind-blowing piece of art. At times, I would go on for weeks on end without listening to this song. But somehow, I would find myself searching frantically for this song – the groove and originality – I certainly caught a vibe. It reminded me of someone I once knew, a long lost friend or of somewhere I have been. The song was familiar. Maybe it is because I grew up on Kwaito, a genre that was created by Baby Bloomer youth at the fall of the Apartheid regime, which makes sense because I am a millennial and these Baby Bloomer youths were my heroes. They represent post-apartheid creative expression. To me, they were and will always be the grootmans, the pioneers who wrote their names in our hearts in hopes to be celebrated in future by generations to come.

Bhari is more than a song to me, it is a reminder. A reminder to never ever forget who I am and where I am from. I am reminded of ikasi, abantu bami and my upbringing. As much as I went to white schools, often called Model C schools in South Africa, all my life this was always the type of music I most connected with. Unlike in Hip Hop, RnB and any other popular genre from the West, black music or not, the people who made Kwaito music looked like me, spoke like me and were from the same neighbourhoods as me. That is why the music is that special to me. What Kobayashi created was something I did not know that I really needed, a great relief from the music I had been consuming – electronic beats, trap, house and boom bap.

Bhari listens like a late 90s Kwaito song with a modern, 2016/17 feel to it. The slang used in the song is representative and reflective of the time we’re in, the pulse of the culture and oddly enough the socio-economic landscape of South Africa. References of the finer things in life are embedded in the song. In the song, Bhubhesii speaks in first-person and addresses the listener directly in his delivery. His Soweto upbringing comes out in full-force as he lives out the character of itop shayela yase kasi.

The instrumental carries a House groove with a BPM that is commonly found in a traditional Kwaito joint. Bhubhesii confidently unleashes his alter ego, Kobayashi, reminding us not to forget sounds and cultures that are original to us as South Africans. With this style of music, Bhubhesii gives Kwaito a much needed lifeline by pushing it before the eyes of today’s youth who may have forgotten or unaware of where we come from as a culture. Bhubhesii is in a great position to do this as he is one of the founding members of BoyZnBucks, a collective that informs most of what we see in music, street fashion and youth culture.

Stream Bhari below and bask in all its glory:

Culture Featured Music Reviews

Introducing theleastimportant: Born in Pietermaritzburg, young and living his truth by being comfortable in his own skin and trusting his creativity

The South African creative landscape is exciting and blessed with talent. It is a crime to limit the South African creative landscape to only the big cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. There’s movement and progression in smaller cities and towns all over the country that needs to be documented. Creatives in these smaller spaces are not sitting down and watching what’s happening in the bigger metros, they are bravely taking initiative and sharing their art with world. The art, when shared, often far exceeds the confines of their towns and in most cases ahead of its time.

The kids that move in between these small creative spaces are misunderstood, weird and filled with purpose. They see the world as a big canvas afforded to them to live out their truth. Theleastimportant is one of these kids. With a quirky and fun personality, he navigates the world equipped with his various talents and vision to bring something fresh to the South African creative industry. Being a 20-year-old and part of generation Z is undoubtedly a unique selling point. For someone as young as he is, he is very aware of his surroundings and well-versed in what came before and this allows him to create and curate with a solid reference point. In his music, he challenges themes that many local artists wouldn’t dare challenge. The vocabulary is there, the slang is there and the innovation is there. What else could you ask for?

Watch theleastimportant film.

In a weird way, theleastimportant, reminds one of the legendary Hymphatic Thabs in how unique he is and how he carries himself. The music is not something that you’ll likely hear on traditional mainstream platforms, and that’s okay because as a true gen Z kid, the internet is where he plays and finds himself. Aesthetics are also important to this young artist, from the artwork used for their projects, to his illustration work and how he chooses to dress. Cut from the same cloth as Tyler The Creator, Ian Connor and Joey Bada$$ – kids that took to the internet to share parts of themselves and ended up garnering huge cult followings. With what theleastimportant does and the energy that he carries, there is no doubt that he can build something similar and probably even bigger. In the context of South Africa, his creative work fits well in the alternative realm and caters to youths just like him – the weird, talented and bright youth that lives on the fringes of popular culture.

Thrill, organized chaos and creativity is what you can expect from theleastimportant’s music. He lives in his head and through his music, he invites us into his world bestowing with the gift of empathy and a pair of eyes which we can use to see the world the way that he does. He manages to showcase his talent in his ‘THE SUSPECT’ EP, a project that draws you in with its uniqueness and the content. With the production handled by the talented Subs from Arcade Music, the project was set to be phenomenal from the get go. Traces of Mosh Bounce can be heard in the EP, within the modern trap-influenced soundscapes. The stand out track in this EP is Lane Switch, where HOAX is featured. The song is catchy and the production is spacey and dream-like, with enough power to hook the listener and have the listener singing and rapping along.

All in all, this kid is really really talented with a bright future ahead of him. If he can release a solid body of work like the EP he dropped, we can’t even fathom what he has in store for us in 2018. Massive props to him for carrying Pietermaritzburg so eloquently.

Stream THE SUSPECT below:

Featured Music Reviews

Diasporic connections: West African artist, HF, links up with Swaziland’s MotherLand X to fuse traditional Hip Hop with electronica

It is always wonderful when the African diaspora connects, be it within art, business or politics. Pushing in unity, with the understanding of where Africa is and the work that is required to lift the continent up to its much deserved glory, is necessary. Africa is rich in potential and so much to offer to the world, and Africans are not waiting, they’re not complacent waiting for a savior from the West or East. It is almost of as if the ancestors of Africans, who suffered painfully under 400 years of brutal oppression and colonialism, are blessing the current generation of Africans and gifting them with tools to bring innovation to the world.

Take African millennials as an example, smart, connected, filled with purpose and oddly enough very distracted. Besides of all that, African millennials are driven and they know what they want, and that with that being said they seek to live out their lives in a way that is not limited to any boundary. They run to the internet to share moments. They run to the internet to speak their minds. They run to the internet to build. And lastly, they run to the internet to connect with other like-minded people and through these connections – history is made.

To make history, effort is required. Something beautiful happened recently when HF, a Ghanaian artist, connected with the good people from MotherLand X. After hearing Rendition’s Becoming EP, HF was prompted to make contact with the MLX camp. Talks of a collab project began and the men kept their heads down proceeded to plot and work. The project was to be named HFX. Now take a moment to take this in: a creative connection involving Ghana and Swaziland. Countries were not the only thing that was connecting in this situation, genres were also being fused. The fusion of Hip Hop and electronica is not new, but it is something that is not particularly popular in Africa, so what HF and MotherLand X is borderline groundbreaking. Experimentation is prioritised as HF showcases his artistry with him staying true to the traditional way of doing Hip Hop as an MC – lyricism coupled with storytelling and conceptual themes.

HF takes ownership of the vibes created by Rendition as he eloquently cruises over the beats produced by Swaziland’s best kept secret. It’s as if HF was instructed by a higher power to spread his message far beyond Ghana, inspire African kids to self-starters and he did all of this by using the internet. To some, this project may be seen as another project that will live on the internet, but to the people that were involved in the making of this project – boundaries where pushed. The people that this project will reach will be surprised and delighted, as what HF and Motherland X attempted with this project is new and genre-bending. All in all, the project is a great effort and vital stepping stone in connecting African creatives, a move that is part of MotherLand X’s plan. We needed this project. We needed to see how limits were going to be tested and pushed. We needed Swaziland to connect with Ghana and we needed this to happen towards the end of 2017, so we could set ourselves up for what’s to come in 2018.

Stream the project below:

Music Premiere Reviews

PREMIERE: Joburg-based producer, MelV, partners up with Oti5 for a collab EP

Johannesburg-based producer, MelV, is back. Having impressed us a few months ago with his unique approach to trap, MelV has proven that he is not stopping for anything. This time around he calls up Oti5, a young South African producer who is being groomed and mentored by MelV, to drop an interesting three-track EP.

The title of the EP is 00:00 which could be a reference to the time where the two producers are most creative. The title could also be a reference to the soundscapes that the EP carries – dark and heavy.

Stream the 00:00 EP here:

Featured Music Reviews

KaeB drops the last joint of his #CozyFridays campaign

After releasing music every Friday for almost six months, KaeB drops the last track for his #CozyFridays campaign. A massive achievement of not only bettering his production skills, but also getting people to rally behind him and support his vision. What’s the vision? You may ask – raising the standard of production in the South African beats scene. We all know that a lot of producers fought and demanded their own lane within the global entertainment industry, particularly in the urban space, but KaeB is a South African producer that truly embodied the #ProducersMustRise movement.

He ends the campaign with a wonderfully produced track titled, Stay Cozy, that merges three genres together: future beats, trap and house. KaeB also weaves in 21 Savage’s vocals which adds a rather interesting layer to the song.

Stream Stay Cozy here:

Culture Featured Music Premiere Reviews

PREMIERE: OFS collective founder, Cephas, fuses Durban Kwaito & Future Beats on his latest release

2017 has been a rather interesting year for the beats scene in South Africa. A lot of producers bravely took to the internet streets to share their creativity. The amazing thing about the rise of producers was that with everything they worked on and shared, they included a part of themselves in it. From sampling authentically South African music to create modern soundscapes fit to entertain young audiences to being unapologetically South African in how they carry themselves and how they interact with the world.

Joburg-native, Cephas, forms part of the new crop of talented producers that are taking South African sounds to the word. Cephas’ Sukwe Series, a series where he released future beats tracks with South African influences, kicked off a few months ago and he has not stopped since. In this series, he has tested his creativity and experimented with different types of sounds to create something unique for beats lovers.

Stream Abafana below:

Featured Music Reviews

Arcade Music’s Subs closes off 2017 by dropping ‘Future Quantum Music, a beat tape for the culture

Arcade Music has had an incredibly busy 2017. The talented group spent most of 2017 laying the foundation for their entry into the game, where we saw each member release solo bodies of work. A mixture of pure hard work and working with the right people through strategic collaborations with other musicians, the Arcade Music camp has sent out a strong message to the South African youth, urban entertainment industry: we’re kicking the door down and forcing you to listen to us.

The latest offering from Arcade Music is Future Quantum Music, a beat tape by Subs, the group’s in-house producer and sound engineer. It is amazing how Subs managed to release this beat tape while having a hectic schedule as he has been consistently producing and engineering for artists such as Maglera Doe Boy, Morafe’s Kaygizm and the ever-so-cool Joburg trap kids, Champagne69. Future Quantum Music drops at time where Subs is experiencing his creative peak.

The beat tape only contains 4 tracks which fall under Mosh Bounce sub-genre, a sound that can be credit to Subs and his crew. Genres that are prominent in South Africa such as House, Kwaito and Hip Hop are mashed up to create something fresh and new. The dope this about this beat tape is that Subs is offering these joints up to any artist to hop on and create something groundbreaking. Future Quantum Music is for the culture! A dope holiday season gift for the culture from Subs, so you cannot afford to sleep on this.

Stream Future Quantum Music below:

Culture Featured Music Reviews

Connecting two worlds: London meets Johannesburg in an effort to make music lovers #FeelAWay

Music connects people. Music breaks down cultural boundaries and shatters any divide separating humans. A vital social glue that humans need to keep life and it’s craziness at bay. Let’s admit it, humankind is mad. It is ironic how art often humanises man, music being the one form of art that is undoubtedly leading in that regard.

READ: Elliot Boles is a London based producer who doubles as a DJ focused on capturing vibes

Through these connections that are formed by music, lives are changed and the world progresses. One of these special connections happened recently for us when we connected London-based movement -Dégoûtant Collective. A connection born out of genuine respect, similar interests and passion for music. We linked up with Elliot Boles, who is the founder and leader of the collective. We initially hit him up to take part in our campaign called #FeelAWay which has been strategically floating around the internet. We started the campaign off with Johannesburg-based DJ, photographer and videographer IRV BLAMES JAKE, and we thought that Elliot would be a great addition to the campaign because of the immense amount of respect our team has for him. The whole mission soon grew into a collaboration of two rising movements in different music market that far surpassed a temporary campaign.

We look forward to working more with Dégoûtant Collective in future and connecting Africa to Europe.

Stream our collaboration with the Dégoûtant Collective here:

Culture Music Premiere Reviews

PREMIERE: KaeB joins forces with 808 Junky to drop RIDDIM ROULETTE

KaeB is a workaholic. Focused, passionate and creative, he embarks on changing the landscape in the South African beats scene. The work he has done in the last four months cannot be overlooked. Most of the #CozyFridays release were focused on showcasing his skill and what he has to offer, but things have shifted slightly as he opens up his campaign to accommodate other producers.

The latest release, RIDDIM ROULETTE, is a collaboration with another Joburg-based producer who goes by the name of 808 Junky. KaeB and 808 Junky have a lot of history as they went to the same college and they went for each other heads in a beat battle. They join forces to unleash a banger that has nuances of trap and Afrobeats, a track that can easily fit into the urban entertainment mould.

Featured Music Reviews

Hungarian artist, bENNY wOODS, collabs with Vitu to drop a funky tune

Cool, funky and eclectic are some of the words that you can use to describe the latest offering from Hungarian artist, bENNY wOODS. The song is called mUNCHIES oozes swagger and extravagance. From the production to the singing to Vitu’s rapping, a vibe is captured. Traces of funk, rock and jazz can be heard on the track. It is important to note that bENNY wOODS is Hungarian producer, Glott’s alter ego. An alter ego that manifests as a badass musician that draws inspiration from the blues, soul and jazz when it comes to singing.

The title of the song carries a double meaning, with one being a reference to the hunger that they have as artists on the come-up and the second being the post-high hunger one experiences after sparking one up. One can tell that the two collaborators had a lot of fun while making this jam. mUNCHIES is a song that is perfect to rock to this festive season. 

Stream the track below: