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Featured Music Reviews

Introducing THERON: Kaapstad massive producing gritty beats for African beat heads to rock to

Cape Town based creative, THERON, doubles as a DJ and producer and is someone you cannot afford to sleep on. In the Cape Town beat scene, he is a rising force that is contributing to the growth of the culture. As a DJ, you can find him rocking crowds in the mother city and seeing his name on Cape Town beat-focused event flyers is increasingly becoming a norm. If you champion, follow and support the local beat scene, you’d know that THERON’s name is slowly seeping into conversations held by Joburg and Durban natives who appreciate beat music.

A force to be reckoned with, you need to make sure that you take the time to familiarize yourself with this young beat maker making waves. Follow him on SoundCloud and on social media.

Peep his beats below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Five new progressive beat-based tracks by South African artists you need to hear right now

SKinniez – Think (Funk)

Cape town-born experimental, genre-defying and all-round creative producer, SKinniez, is important for South African beat culture. A consistent producer, who churns out beats that shift the local beat culture, who has experimentation embedded as a key feature in his craft. Moving like a crazy scientist, he manipulates frequencies and fuses genres that wouldn’t have expected to be fused together. I mean what can you expect from the son of one of South Africa’s best jazz legends, Hotep Galeta. He comes through with a song called Think (Funk), a massive tune that carries a hypnotic funk bop that captures your ear through this number. When you see the Joburg-based producer in the streets or at a show, show him love because is re-imagining South African music and taking it to great lengths – and we should be grateful and thankful for that.

Broken Transient – ItAintHard

Now if you’re like me, a self-proclaimed South African beat connoisseur, you have to know who Broken Transient is. The Cape Town based producer’s name holds weight in the South African beat culture and rightfully so – the man is incredibly talented. He is most popularly known and respected for his beat flips, his unique interpretations of music and his style. He comes through with a flip of It Ain’t Hard To Tell by the Queens, NY, legend – Nas. For this flip, he crafted a slow, hazy beat which has lo-fi and electronic textures with short Nas lyrics sprinkled all over the song. Dope joint, check it out.

MISSU – Colours Feat. Red Robyn & Tre Flips

When speaking of beat culture especially on the more electronic side of things, people never mention the role that Durban plays. Most often look to South Africa’s electronic music hub, Cape Town, or Johannesburg, which is unfortunate. Fortunately, that type of thinking is now seen as backward and outdated as artists like MISSU are releasing records that are advancing South African electronic music. He dropped a beautiful song called Colours where he featured some of Durban’s best up and coming talent, Red Robyn and Tre Flips. The song is more future bass with swing elements and Red Robyn floats elegantly on the dreamy production. You’re likely going to spin this tune more than once.

Sean Munnick – Minute Man

Joburg-based producer, Sean Munnick, is a beast. Known for excelling in different electronic genres, he never fails to impress the listener.  With a string of amazing releases on his SoundCloud, his track record as a producer improves with every release. As he DJ, his selections rock crowds from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and as a producer his releases are absolute bangers. A stand out song from his SoundCloud collection is a joint called MINUTE MAN, where mashes up the chorus of Missy Elliot’s hit ‘One Minute Man’ with some Drake lyrics. The beat knocks and calls the listener to vibe out.

KYMAC – big pimpin
South Africa is becoming a big contributor to the future beats genre popularized by Soulection. More and more producers are taking their shot at making this new, breakthrough sound, some miss the mark and some hit the nail right on the head. Cape Town-based producer, KYMAC, is a producer that has successfully mastered this sound. He comes through with a flip of Jay-Z’s Big Pimpin’, where he mellows the classic rap song out and makes it a dope dance jam. KYMAC is a talent to look out for, he is undoubtedly the next best thing in Mzansi.

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Featured Interviews Music

Introducing P-Man: We chat to talented Amapiano DJ/producer about how he started and the rise of the Amapiano sound

A new sound is taking over in South Africa. Authentically South African in composition, this new genre reflects a particular demographic of black youth in South Africa. Amapiano is what they call this sound and it is slowly taking off in Mzansi with young producers and DJs working tirelessly to spread this new sound.  The sound has its roots in Pretoria, where the pioneers of this new sound and movement reside. Like the Durban-produced sound, Gqom, this new sound is something that the youth of South Africa can own and export to the world. When listening to Amapiano, you are easily reminded of Kwaito as the music is somewhat stylistically similar in nature. Amapiano is a feeling, a mood, a sound but more importantly a movement that is powerful enough to empower the black youth creatively and financially.

We recently caught up with P-Man, a Joburg-based DJ/producer who is pushing Amapiano and taking the sound to newer and greater heights.The Mpumalanga-born creative is a force to be reckoned with in the growing Amapiano scene in South Africa. Peep the interview below.

You’re an up and coming DJ and producer who is slowly breaking into the music scene in Johannesburg. We see the progress and how you’re pushing. Tell us more about yourself?

I am P-MAN (real name Mpumelelo Mtetwa). All the way from Mpumalanga, Standerton. I am a full-time student, doing my final year in IT. I am huge fan of music and what I like is that I am versatile and could listen to almost anything that sounds good. I also run an entertainment company LEKELELA ENT. which offers sound hire and DJ Courses for beginners.

How did your journey in music start?
To be honest, I’ve always had this thing in me of wanting to be a DJ. I  cannnot give an exact date ’cause it has always been my dream. I started collecting music when I was 10 years old. Mainly kwaito and house music. From cassette tapes To CDs, I was there. I remember there was a time where local DJs would come collect music from me and at that time I was just collecting and appreciating good music. When I moved to Joburg in 2014, for my varsity studies I then started to take this dream seriously. In 2015, I joined a DJ Academy called Numark and did a two months course. I couldn’t be a full time DJ then cause I didn’t want my music career to affect my studies. I always kept the main thing the main thing. In 2017, I started building my music career. I started recording mixes.  With the aim to let people know who P-MAN was and what his about. Since then its been an amazing journey.

You push a very specific, authentically South African sound called ‘Amapiano’. Tell us more about the genre and how you have gone on to love it so much.

I got introduced to Amapiano genre 2015. I loved it so much because it was authentic. It was our own sound. As a proud South African, I then decided I was push this sound to greater heights.

The Joburg music scene is difficult to crack but you’re slowly breaking down some industry walls. You’re part of the UJ FM team now. How did the UJ FM move come about?

Since I started recording mixes and publishing them, I got a lot of exposure in Johannesburg. Students then got to know who P-MAN was and what he was about. One of UJ FM’s DJ Smurf Zinto asked for a mix for his show #TheNightCap that happens every Thursday. I thought it was a once off thing ’til he came back to me and wanted more. It was then when I was told that I’ll be the resident DJ for the show. It was exciting and still is.

Many people know you as a DJ, but you’re also a producer. What can people expect from you as a musician?

I recently started producing. I am not rushing anything. I still want to master my sound. From there, people can expect EPs and 100% production mixes. In the future, I aim to be in features and have my very own album.

What are some of your plans for the rest of 2018?

I aim to grow my entertainment company. Be a good producer and working even harder to be the best in the game. I will also be hosting a number of events this year. People can follow me on social media for more updates.

Where can people find you online?

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud and Audiomack.

Stream P-Man’s guest mix below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Meet Namibia’s AliThatDude: Fresh, creative reformer pushing beyond artistic thresholds in Southern African urban music culture

Namibian artist, AliThatDude, needs no introduction as he is an act that has performed at some of the biggest festivals in the world. An act, more famously known as part of innovative Experimental Hip Hop outfit, Black Vulcanite. In 2018, he primarily makes moves in the music world as a solo artist with backing from Cape Town’s Rude World Records, the vision seems to be same but this time around he’s using a different lens to view the world. Push musical boundaries, introduce the African listener to fresh sounds, use his voice to connect people and have fun, are clear goals which you can pick up from the music Ali makes.

The Cape Town based artist is gearing up release an EP called Mood Ring on the 29th of May through his label. The new project is to follow a string of dope SoundCloud releases that AliThatDude has been releasing to psyche up his fans and introduce them to a new sound. A sound that has him singing more on new age, future-beats influenced production which allows him to build a completely new world for his fans. Will he stick to the same direction and trajectory on his soon to be released project? We don’t know but what we can be sure of is the quality of the music will be world-class and the concepts will be second to none.

Image credit: Rude World Records

Stream Burnt Orange by AliThatDude below.

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Featured Music Reviews

Listen to ‘MELODIESONIC’ by talented South African producer, Tsukudu

MELODIESONIC  by talented Johannesburg based producer, Tsukudu is finally here. The six-track project features Melo B Jones, Refentse Ramathlodi and Tafara Muguti. A well-composed electronic effort that undoubtedly pushes South African future sounds forward.

Stream the project below.

Full project review drops next week.

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Featured Music

Proudly African & Progressive: Listen to the #FreshPicks Playlist on Spotify & Apple Music

Our second playlist for the month of May. On this playlist we throw it back a little with joints from the late Fela Kuti, Zim Ngqawana and Hugh Masikela who are notable pioneers who have shaped African music. We feature songs from progressive, new African acts that are challenging the status quo in an effort to showcase how far African music has come. Artists such as Muzi, Burna Boy, Jullian Gomes, Ta-Ice, Nduduzo Makhathini and ECHLN.

Stream our playlist on Apple Music:

Stream our playlist on Spotify:

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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

Interview: Joburg-based rapper, MyKey, shares his story, speaks about his new EP and invites us into his world of creativity

Something really amazing and groundbreaking is happening in the entertainment industry in South Africa’s city of gold – Johannesburg. A new wave, driven by the internet and headed by urban black youth, is burgeoning and taking over. Results of the impact of this new wave can be seen on social media, in the playlists of many urban youths and the everyday conversations of young people in Mzansi’s urban spaces. New leaders of youth culture have risen, taking charge and rising to the occasion when it comes to taking South African creativity forward. These leaders use digital art, memes, hashtags and music as their preferred tools to shift perspectives, express themselves and introduce new ideas. Artists like MyKey, who is Joburg-based, are of this new wave and generation and they are taking advantage of the opportunities awarded to them by digital technology. We are seeing new ways of sharing music and breaking an artist, and artists like MyKey understand this and are ushering innovation in.

We got an opportunity to chop it up with MyKey, a young creative pioneer who is armed with the right digital tools to break an artist in 2018. He shares stories of he started, invites us into his world of creativity and speaks about his new EP – the Blank EP – with us. Peep the interview below.

Our first introduction to your music happened late 2017 when we heard your Jäger Pack EP. The EP was short, but packed with memorable gems that invited us into your world. We want to shy away from typical interview questions, but we have to know how it all started for you.

I actually found out I had a knack for making music sometime in 2015, by mistake. I recorded on a Joey Bada$$ beat at a friend’s place, out of boredom really. Then a few weeks later I found the recording in my phone, sent it to my cousin and he was impressed. That was the first time I ever considered making music full-time. Fast- forward to 2016, I met Solve the Problem & 808x and we just started making music together for fun. That’s how Elevator Music came about. Things got serious for me last year, and I haven’t looked back ever since.

You have quite a few EPs and short projects under your belt. From the Elevator Music EP to the Prefunkt EP to the Halfway House EP with your frequent collaborator, Solve The Problem. Stylistically, you have changed quite a bit but one thing has stayed consistent throughout the years – your raps. You have a unique style. Please tell us what inspired you to take the stylistic route you took?

I think working with 808x and Solve as frequently as I do has a profound impact on how my style evolved. In the beginning it was all about the lyrical content itself, I wanted to be sure that I was saying something meaningful instead of just rhyming because I can. Now I’m more focused on creating new cadences in my flow and making the song feel more like an experience. Collaborating with my label mates is the easiest way to make that happen because they’re all extremely talented as individuals.

You’re part of Innanetwav, one of the best labels slash multimedia entertainment agencies in Johannesburg. A team that is driving the next sound of South African urban music. Your contributions to the UU story are evident. What is your role in the UU team? We know that you’re not just a rapper, but you play an important role in how the team looks digitally.

I guess I’m a bit of a tech enthusiast. So I taught myself how to make websites and apps while trying to raise rent money for my mum and siblings. My manager, Ty, saw my work and he basically allowed me to build the Innanetwav site as well. Luckily the brand image was already established by then so it was relatively easy putting it together. And the response from the fans has been great too.

 

Image credit: Innanetwav

You’re set to release a lot of new music this year. You were featured in Delilah by East Side Yacht Club, a banger of note. Delilah served as a taste to fans of what they can expect from you this year. Tell us about your next project, the Blank EP? What went into the making of the project?

Yeah shout out to my broskies! We actually made that song last year. That was our first collaboration if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, the Blank EP is more or less a compilation of songs I made while working on my debut album (DEFUNKT). I felt like I needed to take more time to work on DEFUNKT, so the BLANK EP was like a by- product of that decision. When PREFUNKT came out, that was supposed to be the lead-up to DEFUNKT. That was the plan I had in mind. But a lot happened in between that time and now, both good and bad. It sort of felt like inertia at some point. Which is part of the inspiration behind the name BLANK- it symbolizes inertia in my journey as a creator/artist.

When making the Blank EP did you have a particular listener in mind. Like, were you making something for the new school wave or you were making something that could enjoyed by a wide variety of people?

I don’t think there was a particular demographic I had in mind while I made the songs. But I definitely identify with the new wave because it’s the era I grew up in musically. The kids know best. If the older generation enjoys it too, that’s a plus.

Where can people stream or download your new EP?

It’ll be on Soundcloud exclusively until further notice.

What can people expect from you and your team this year?

Power moves and a whole lot of good music. I think Innanetwav has proven that we have the capacity to give the people what they want. 2018 is going to solidify that fact and more people will start to appreciate the industry that exists within the internet on a local level.

Where can people follow you online?

My handle is @mykey_uu on IG and Twitter. That’s where you can keep up with me and my music.

 

Image credit: Innanetwav

 

Image credit: Innanetwav
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Featured Music Reviews

Impilo yabo kleva: Jabba & Matt Ryan capture the essence of the new age pantsula on their new demo tape

South African music delivered with an unapologetic kasi attitude is refreshing. When the younger millennial generation proudly champion, reference and re-awaken youth-driven styles of music that were prevalent in post-apartheid South Africa, a beautiful sight is created. A 20th century world which had different rules of engagement, politics and a youth who had a difficult task of re-imagining a new South Africa, is restructured to fit into a world where digital experiences inform how the young people in South Africa think and feel. Jabba and Matt Ryan are two artists, who in the context of the politics of South Africa, would be regarded as born-frees, and unlike the generation that preceded them they have to find their identity in a heavily globalised, digital world.

As an act, Jabba and Matt Ryan, call the music that they make Afro-hop but they are primarily a genre-fluid group. With their music, they aim to communicate the black South African experience and they afford the listener a lens through which they can see and unpack the realities of the black youth in Mzansi. In this world that they build, Jabba brings raps delivered in a nonchalant manner and the personality, which Matt Ryan complements with his nostalgic kwaito-influenced production which maintains a slow BPM as part of the sound design. Bougie Pantsula is the result of their collaborative effort, an eight-track which carries the following themes: celebration, kasi wisdom, freedom and self-pride. What sits at the core of the overarching theme are tips on how to navigate different spaces, some friendly and violent, and living one’s truth.

In short, the project can be described by using the following phrase: ikasi li’phakeme nabo kleva bavukile. All in all, as much as this project is seen as a demo, it ushers in innovation in an industry or space that often leans on what the West does and unashamedly prioritizes Mzansi culture in an authentic manner.

Stream Bougie Pantsula below.

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Culture Events Featured

12 for 12: 12 Things to know about the 12th edition of the MTN Bushfire Festival

Named Top African Festival by the BBC, lauded as one of the 7 African music festivals you really have to see by CNN, more recently, winner of the Best Responsible Event at the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards and listed as one of the Top 30 international festivals on the Everfest Fest 300 list – the MTN Bushfire festival certainly isn’t shy of accolades. Definitely deserving of such honours, the three day festival is hosted in Malkerns, a captivating valley in the kingdom of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland. This year is the 12th edition of the festival – taking place on the 25th to 27th May –  and here’s some 12 things you might want and/or need to know about the music, art and culture spectacle.

image of mtn festival 2018
Image credit: MTN Bushfire Festival

1. Festival tickets are sold out

With this year’s edition, MTN Bushfire took a rain check on the sale of single day tickets and focused on full festival tickets with the only exception being the Sunday Main Arena Ticket. Patrons have responded well and history has been made. The festival has officially been sold out two weeks before its commencement.  All full festival weekend tickets, including Golden Lounge have been sold out leaving only the Sunday Main Arena tickets up for grabs for E380 at ticket outlets. Please be wary of ticket scams. MTN Bushfire has already warned against purchasing tickets from online 3rd parties. Don’t let scammers Dim Your Fire.

2. The MTN Bushfire 2018 campsite opens early this year

Image credit: MTN Bushfire Festival

In a bid to help festival goers avoid the queues and congestion at the boarder gates, the campsite check-in desk will open from 1100hrs on Thursday, 24th May, until midnight on Saturday, 26th May. However, the café will open from 1400hrs on Thursday and full facilities will be available.

3. No fires on the ground in any zone this year

The festival wasn’t voted Best Responsible Event at the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards by mere fluke. They continue to exhibit great diligence when it comes to making safety a priority and we all know what havoc uncontrolled fires can cause especially in fire prone areas such as the festival’s setting. So it makes sense that festival goers will not be allowed to start fire on the ground in the campsite this year, except in braai stands or metal drums. If not in position of a braai stand, head over to the information desk to purchase one.

4. Arts Round Table

 

Image credit: MTN Bushfire Festival

 

The MTN Bushfire festival is known to be an avid contributor to the development of the arts sector in eSwatini. The Arts Round Table is one of the tools the festival uses to offer participants an opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and to develop their networking strategy. This year’s workshop will take 25th of May at Malkerns Country Club and the overall theme will give an overview of monetization within the regional music industry with a focus in relation to the digital space. Stella Antos and David Felgeirolles have already been unveiled as this year’s guest speakers. Unfortunately, attendance is dictated by an application process of which the deadline was the 16th May.

5. #KhulaTreePlanting

In accordance with its #GreenYourFire environmental drive, the festival is giving patrons the opportunity to contribute towards the preservation of the environment through the #KhulaTreePlanting project in collaboration with All Out Africa & Greenpop Foundation. 30 trees will be planted in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday, 27th May. Festival goers can sign up here to be part of the experience: https://bit.ly/2IiVoA8.

 

6. #RainbowYourFire

Image credit: MTN Bushfire Festival

The festival is known to be genre, gender, age inclusive and beyond. As part of the #BringYourFire call to action, MTN Bushfire 2018 in partnership with Swazi organisation, The Rock of Hope, will present a host of activities aimed at promoting equality and inclusion of the LGBTI community. The MTN Bushfire #RainbowYourFire Stall activation which will be part of the Bring Your Fire Zone seeks to raise the visibility of the LGBTI community within the space with the hopes to spread the fire of acceptance within the communities in which they reside.

7. MTN Bushfire goes cashless

In collaboration with Howler, the festival is embracing innovation with through the new cashless system. Patrons will receive a cashless wristband upon entry and proceed to the Top-Up station to load credit via cash or card. Through the more efficient tap and go payment method, patrons will spend less time in queues and more time enjoying the festival. Throughout the weekend guests can top-up at various top-up stations or online, https://www.howler.co.za/. Patrons will be able to cash out whatever unused funds within 72 hours after the end of the event, online or via MTN Mobile Money.

8. Liyana Film Screening

Image Credit: MTN Bushfire Festival

Directed by award-winning filmmakers, Aaron Kopp and Amanda Marie Kopp, and Executive Produced British/Zimbabwean Actress, Thandie Newton – Liyana is an multi-award winning film which holds a special place in our hearts as five orphaned children from eSwatini, under the tutelage of Gcina Mhlophe, collaborated to craft an original fairytale drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. MTN Bushfire will have special a premiere screening of Liyana the Movie on the 19th of May at House on Fire, 1800hrs. For festival attendees, the film will also be screened at the Amphitheatre on the 26th May at 1045hrs.

9. UEFA Champions League Final – Live Screening

Fantastic news for lovers of the world’s most popular sport. The most anticipated game of the month, the UEFA Champions League final between the tournaments two most decorated clubs, Real Madrid and Liverpool, will be screened live at The Barn Stage on Saturday 26th May 2018 at 20:45hrs.

10. MTN Bushfire Presents: A Tribute to eSwatini & Madiba

In the spirit of Pan-Africanism, this year’s festival will see a special performance taken place on the 27th May, 15:00hrs-16:50hrs, at the Main Stage. Multi-Grammy Award winning South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and legendary Salif Keita from Mali alongside one of Nigeria’s hottest talents, Yemi Alade. The set from these three artists has been especially created as a tribute to the region, and specifically for the Kingdom of eSwatini and South Africa in the spirit of MTN Bushfire’s ethos of cultural celebration.

11. KidZone

“Is Bushfire child-friendly?” is one of the frequently asked questions. Though the Kids Zone is not a first nor is it exclusive to this year’s festival its importance in the shared ethos of bushfire, safety and inclusivity, is what earned its mention. MTN Bushfire is jam-packed with hundreds of hands-on activities for kids of all ages – ranging from storytelling, sculpting, music workshops and high energy lawn games. The KidZone is a secured space, perfect place for the whole family.

12. MTN Bushfire Firefly winners

Image Credit: MTN Bushfire Festival

The Firefly competition is one of the tools that the MTN Bushfire festival uses to unearth and go on to showcase eSwatini’s raw emerging talent. This year’s winners are certainly ones to look out for. Mzwaa, Miss Trophy and Ezamaswazi represent the diversity and drive within eSwatini’s new school music regime. They’ll be performing at the Firefly stage on Saturday the 26th May. The Firefly stage itself is a high-energy environment which creates opportunity for rising performers. This year sees the likes of Cornelius and Swizz, pioneers in South Africa’s underground house scene, Ohpis, a central figure in eSwatini’s electronic music scene, Touch of Soul, Swazi-born and Durban based DJ sensation known for his prominent TOS brand, and many other fine talents gracing the intimate and youthful stage.

 


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Featured Music Reviews

Deep, underground sounds of the Cap City: Jay Dee SA captivates with his latest EP release

Pretoria-based producer and Never Neverland Records label head, Jay Dee SA, is one of helluva contributor to the growth of electronic music in Africa. Operating primarily within the umbrella of deep house, he crafts music that stretches the music lover’s ear by not sticking to conventional practices used to create electronic music. Shying away from traditional and rigid creative processes is a go-to move for him, and to be quite honest, it’s undoubtedly one of his unique selling points as a producer.

Jay Dee SA is innately an experimentalist who is influenced by acts such as Detroit Swindle, Alvaro Hylander, Milton Jackson and David August, who all possess an inimitable production style. An independent soldier for the culture, he moves with purpose, direction and a vision to improve the standard of House music in South Africa. He has released three projects under his own label, and he has released a new three-track project called the Prohibition EP. The EP was through King Six Recordings, a small independent record label founded by the talented Wade Deep. The project is electrifying, sounds international and mastered very well. The EP maintains a consistent BPM with a smooth transition from track to track, all living under one constant theme. The standout track of the project is ‘To The Beat’, a song that has captivated deep House music lovers in Pretoria.

Stream the Prohibition EP below.