Featured Music Videos

Sir Abster Confronts God About His Past, Present & Future On ‘On Behalf of The Gods’

It is without doubt that when speaking about South African hip hop in the contexts of regions that produce some of the country’s deadliest MCs, you cannot not mention the East Rand – a region appropriately named the Beast Rand by hip hop heads. This fact is confirmed by Vosloorus based rapper and Clubz Gang founder, Sir Abster, who recently released a bar-filled posse cut featuring some of the East’s most skilled, up and coming spitters with an appetite to eat everything placed in front of them; be it other rappers or opportunities presented to them.

Conceptually, the song sees Sir Abster question God about his life, his past, present, his future and the power vested in him to change the world with his words. He opens the track with a fiery-bars rooted in gratitude where relays messages of the importance of trusting the process, the protection and blessing he receives while on the hustle and the prospects of a success that is looming in his life. Sir Abster’s performance on the Bluucheese produced record is a grand display of prayer packaged in the form of gritty raps. Now with Sir Abster strong introduction on the song, an equally impressive performance from Boksburg based wordsmith, Thomas Hazey, who ushers in a different type of energy on the track and wields his lyricisms in a spectacular display of prose. Coming through with a deep-voiced verse where he gives the listener a pathway to his thoughts where he details how his moves are likely to deliver returns in the form of cream, his status as a young rap king and how he intends to take over the game this year.

The third rapper on track is Spruitview based rapper and graphic designer, Danger Power Ranger, who starts off his verse with melody-driven approach bringing a more playful yet potent energy to the song. He hooks you with his approach drawing your attention and like a thief-in-the-night, he cracks the whip with some heavy bars where he digs deep within himself for some honest introspection. His sincerity and bravery is so strong and gripping that it can easily pass off as a self-help motivational sermon with Danger positioned on a pulpit delivering his truths to those that need guidance and direction.

Danger Power Ranger wraps up his verse with a gentlemen’s class, laying up the final spitter to give us a piece of his mind and close the song off in style. That spitter is none other than Fireman R5, a respected musician from Vosloorus whose influence in his hood is undeniable. He is unapologetic in his performance, rapping braggartly in IsiZulu. “I’gama uFireman for abo baby nabo A&R”, he raps as he kicks off his verse – a perfect invitation into his world and his thoughts – setting the mood for what proves to be an impressive verse. As he raps on further, he mentions that he has been rapping for over nine years and he has earned his stripes in the game and dares any rapper to step to him. He does not shy away from mentioning that he wants paper as that would be an ideal situation for all of his efforts in elevating the local rap game.

On Behalf of The Gods is an infectious song that will surely get all of the heads that are hungry for great raps going crazy. With no chorus, the song in its composition grips you from beginning to end giving you unadulterated hip hop entertainment.

Featured Music Reviews

[EVENT]: Get Ready For The Basha Uhuru Sounds of Freedom Music Festival

Youth month is drawing to an end and what better way to end such an important month in the South African calendar than to celebrate at the Basha Uhuru Sounds of Freedom Music Festival. Featuring great performers such as Riky Rick, Msaki, Khuli Chana, Thebe, DBN Gogo, DJ Kent and more.

image of Basha Uhuru Sounds of Freedom Music Festival
Image credit: Facebook

The event is happening at Con Hill, Braamfontein.

Get your tickets here.

Featured Interviews Music

Nokana Mojapelo is Windows 2000: A Man of Culture, Style, Business & Influence

The hip hop culture has five core elements, namely MCing, Bboying, graffiti, beatboxing and DJing; and like any other culture in the world, hip hop is dynamic and not exempt from change and disruption. This much needed change and disruption has allowed hip hop to morph into a global phenomenon which shelters youth and vehicle for black and brown ingenuity, creativity and expression. One may argue that hip hop should have ‘business’ as an additional element to this culture that we all love so much. Some may argue that style should be something that should be considered as an element and I would bring up an argument which is: for a practitioner of any of the elements of hip hop to be regarded as dope, they should have a unique style which sets them apart. The style has to be shown in practice and in presentation; practice is doing, and presentation is shown.

Presentation is not only in style but in how the practitioner looks and in that we get to speak about the fashion side of hip hop. Hip hop is not static. Only a few MCs exhibit or focus on the style and fashion element of the culture. In South Africa, the new generation of culture purveyors born post ‘94 express themselves differently with aesthetics valued similarly as bars. With DAWs and social media platforms, style as identifier is more important than ever and having the barrier of entry to the game eradicated by the internet has made things easier but harder at the same – your creativity earns you stripes in the streets and online. Only a chosen few manage to create multifaceted brands that encompass music, fashion and more. An individual who is a great example of this is Polokwane-born creative, Windows 2000. His craft extends far beyond just music, or just fashion, or just aesthetics; he has positioned himself as a shaper of culture shaper who creates work that defines his generation and the era that he is.

Windows 2000 uses different creative mediums to document the lives, times and influences of his generation. This was particularly shown when he dropped his Software Overdrive LP on the 1st of March, a tape is a perfect soundtrack for his life – detailing his love for hip hop, cotton and his fellow comrades in culture. On the LP he relays his come-up story, speaks on how the Spova gang, women in his life and tales of being young, wild, creative and free. The music Windows 2000 makes is reflective of the modern South African school of thought that many urban young people carry, and he merges different mediums together so beautifully in a spectacular display of creativity. Windows 2000 is a young man of culture, style, business and influence who carving out new lanes in the business of cool.

image of windows 2000
Image supplied.

Watch the music video for Skellies by uSanele Feat. Windows 2000 below.

Cop the Software Overdrive LP merch here.

Featured Interviews Music

Meet Judy Jay: A Rising Star of The New School In Underground House Music

The DJ industry has in the past been largely dominated by senior veterans who have been DJing for decades and have become regular features in clubs and festivals all over the country. However, the new digital age of social media and the internet has brought in a new wave of teenage youngster DJs that are drawing a lot of attention in the music game. Judy Jay, a 17 year old deep house DJ, is one of these rising teenage sensations leading the pack of a growing breed of young DJs taking the underground scene by storm. We had a sit down with her to find out about who she is, how she got into the DJ space at such a young age and how her life as a DJ has been so far.

Let’s start off by getting to know about Judy Jay, who you are and where you are from?
My name is Judy Mahlatji. I am originally from Sekhukhune, in a small village called Tjetane in Jane Furse, Limpopo. That is where I grew up and where I live with my grandmother and my aunt. However, right now I am based in Pretoria where I am pursuing my studies.

What do you normally get up to on a day to day basis?
I normally wake up and pray, do my basic home chores and study. That’s basically my daily routine from Monday to Friday. On weekends is where I do music, where I sometimes attend events or just stay indoors and listen to music.

What other things do you like besides DJing and music?
There actually isn’t anything else that I like (laughs). I don’t watch TV or any of those things. I do listen to radio though and my favourite show is the Urban Beat on Metro FM. What I really like is music and that’s it (laughs).

You are probably amongst the youngest DJs in the SA underground music scene right now. Tell us how you got into DJing?
It was back in high school in 2017 (I was in Grade 11) when my class mate who goes by the name “Deep Coste” noticed that I was always on my phone, so he came to me one day and asked why I am always on my phone. I told him it was because I am always listening to music. He said he noticed how I do this every day and I said yes because it is the only thing that I love. He then said to me “why don’t you just share the music that you love with the world?” I asked him if he meant by me being a DJ and he said yes. I then went home, thought about it and decided that it is what I want to do. That was when I first thought about the idea of being a DJ

That’s very interesting. How did your parents/family feel about you being a DJ, especially as a young girl child?
After I had decided I want to be a DJ, I went to my mom to tell her what I want to do and she ignored me at first. It took almost 5 to 6 months of me trying to convince her to let me do it until she finally gave me permission in August 2017. She was worried that as a DJ I would have to go to Pubs and Clubs where there is alcohol and drugs so I think she was afraid that I would do those things. Besides that I was still in school so she thought music would distract me.

How did you then eventually convince your mom to agree to letting you become a DJ?
I kept on asking her and she eventually said I can go, but she said that I mustn’t drink alcohol or do anything stupid (laughs). I also went with Deep Coste to the show and she trusted him so it made her feel that I would be safe. When I came back she wanted to see the videos of me playing and when I showed her she was amazed.

image of judy jay
Image supplied.

Not a lot of people your age like or listen to the kind of music you play. What influenced your love for underground deep house music when most of your peers like popular mainstream music?
To be honest, I did try other genres of music such as hip hop and afro-house but I just couldn’t connect with them. I didn’t feel them and they didn’t make sense to me. I heard deep house playing in the background one day from a car, but I didn’t know which genre it was at the time. So I started asking around about what this genre was and I eventually found out about deep house. I first got introduced to more mainstream deep house such as “The God Fathers of Deep House” but I then moved away from that to more underground deep house music.

Tell us about your first time behind the decks? When was it and how did you feel during that time?
My first gig was on the 2nd of September 2017 at Moss Brown Pub and Grill. I had been practicing how to DJ there for a couple of weeks, being taught by my friend Deep Coste and Pheto Manyaka. I then moved from there to Burgersfort where I was then taught by DJ Danny Boy how to mix at Lekolokoto Lodge. I would go there during the weekend and practice how to play.

When I played at my first event I was scared and excited at the same time. It was a really great experience and the response the crowd gave me was great. It was a big venue and it was very full by the time I played because they put me on between 12 midnight and 1 AM, instead of an early set. I was also scared because the guy that played before me played Gqom so I was afraid how people will react to me playing deep house and also about my mixing. I had only practiced 3 times before that weekend I got my first gig. Even though I was scared I knew that I was going to be able to do it and I did.

How have you been able to learn about the different styles of house music and choose what you want to play at such a young age? Were you told what to play by anyone?
No one told me what to play. I just learnt about the different genres of house through searching them on the internet. I would go with my own music to the guys that taught me and just asked them to teach me how to mix but they never told me what music to play.

You seem very emotionally connected to music, where you even cry during some of your DJ sets. Tell us what makes you feel that way when you play music?
Firstly, I am a very sensitive person and I am also shy (laughs), so every time I press play I start feeling the elements, the beats, the instruments and everything. That’s why I then start feeling really emotional and I end up crying. The crowd at events and the love I get from them also make me very emotional.

You have a passion for supporting other youngsters in the DJ scene. Tell us about that and why supporting other youngsters like you is important?
Yes, there are a few young DJs like me such as Black Villain, Rick Koen and Nkosie who I’ve met through the booking agency we are all under called We Are Rhythm (W.A.R.). I’ve also played back to back sets with both Nkosie and Black Villain. I like supporting other youngsters because I believe that we are the most rejected ones in the industry and we are hardly taken seriously. However, I like the fact that we don’t give up and we just keep on pushing forward no matter what.

image of judy jay
Image supplied.

Which DJs or artists do you look up to at the moment and why?
Right now I look up to SGVO, because he is a youngster like me and I really like his production. I also really look up to DJ Buhle because she is a go getter, she is focused and she is strong. What I truly admire about her is that she has been in the game for a very long time and she is still grinding till today.  I also look up to Kat La Kat and !Sooks.

You’ve played at some of the most prominent events and radio stations such as Metro FM, Dark Disco and Best Beats TV. How have those experiences been for you?
It has been great. When I went to play on Metro FM’s Urban Beat I was super scared and I couldn’t even talk during the interview (laughs). It was amazing though and it has had a huge impact in my career and my brand. I started getting recognized by many people and I started getting bookings. Best Beats TV was also great and I was very excited to play there as I had to wait a long time before they asked me to come on. My best gig so far though was at Gae Lapeng Concepts “Chillas by the River” festival in my home town Sekhukhune. I loved the fact that I was playing between Ralf Gum and Masta Deep and Ralf Gum played after me, which was amazing.

Finally, what dreams do you have for yourself in the music industry in the near or distant future?
I want to continue with my DJ career and my main goal is to one day own a record label. I want to one day play worldwide and I believe that if I own a record label it will help me travel and play around the world in places such as DJOON in Paris. I am also learning production as I don’t want to only be a DJ. I also want to learn how to play on vinyl, so as soon as possible I am going to start collecting and playing on vinyl.

Featured Interviews Music

Getting To Know Deniece Marz…: A Life of Beats, Fashion & Sisterhood

Deniece Marz… tells us about her life outside the DJ booth as a fashion designer and stylist. She also shares how it’s like being a sibling and sister to beats music extraordinaire Daev Martian; their family dynamics and shared love for music and how she was able to build her career as a DJ within the hip hop and beats/electronic music scene and take it to greater heights.

Before we get into your life in music and DJing, we would like to get to know you as a person. Who is Deniece Marz… outside of music?
It’s tough because I am music [laughs]. I’m just kidding. Outside of music I am a qualified fashion designer. I do freelance fashion styling, consulting and creative direction. I’m just as crazy about fashion as I am about music; well, almost as much [laughs].

Take us through your daily routines and rituals
My days are never the same. I have a skeleton of a basic routine that is very flexible. Some days I wake up and do admin and work-related things, whereas other days are a lot more relaxed and laid back. I basically do work for both my work as a stylist and as a DJ at the same time on a daily basis.

What are the types of things you do as a stylist and fashion designer?
Most of the work I do is related to creative directing of things such as photo shoots, where we archive photos and other things that we do on set. So, I mainly handle the styling and creative direction. I have worked on a couple shoots or campaigns for a number of companies and I also used to style a TV show called Shiz Life on ETV, where I styled their presenters on set.

I haven’t entered into the clothing design side of things yet. I want to get into that later once I have been able to put my name out there. For now, I find that I like the end product of clothes more than the process of making them hence why I went into styling, which deals more with coordinating clothes or looks and putting them together, rather than making them.

Your birth name is Denise Moyo, however your artist name is “Deniece Marz…” Please explain how you came up with your unique DJ name and what it means to you as an artist.
Yes, my real name is Denise Xoliswa Moyo, but my dad wanted my first name to be spelt “Deniece” after a singer that my parents really loved called Deniece Williams, however when I was born but they got it wrong on my birth certificate. The changing process was going to be so long that my parents ended up leaving it. So when my parents told me about that I thought well I like the “Deniece” spelling because it’s less common, so I use that name now for my professional career.

The “Marz” comes from my love for space/ astronomy and my favourite planet is Mars. I’m also really in to afro futurism so that’s how the “Marz” part came about. I can’t remember fully why I added the ellipsis part (“…”) at the end but I liked it because it creates an anticipation of “what now?” or “what’s next?”. I’ve sort of had to let that part go though, because people never put it in on posters or flyers and I got tired of fighting with promoters about it. Now I’m just happy if people include it in my name but if they don’t, I let it go.

image of Deniece Marz
Image of Deniece Marz…

Tell us about being a sister to music maker Daev Martian. How is it being siblings who are both musically inclined?
I am honestly very lucky to be his sister because he is the reason why I am in the industry the way that I am. I used to do all this DJing and finding out about music alone in my room behind closed doors until one day I went to an event that Daev and his friends hosted and got my first chance to play. What happened was at the end of the event the music stopped because everyone who was on the line-up had played, but people were still there and they didn’t want to leave, so I just went up to plug on some music and then my brother Daev came up to me and told me not to just run a playlist but to DJ and make sure it’s a whole DJ set.

Before then I had never played for people except for playing for myself in my room. I was super shy but I did it and people really enjoyed it. So after that I thought maybe I should start doing it professionally since I am a big fan of music and I was already DJing in my room. So Daev was the one who gave me my first shot at being a DJ.

Did Daev influence your interest in music or was it something you loved outside of him?Not necessarily. Daev and I come from a very musical family. My dad is a Jazz bassist and very obsessed with music and my uncle was also a super hip hop head, so I guess we got the musical genes from them. So we both picked up on music through my dad and my uncle separately, not that he directly influenced me into it.  However, he was the one who got me to be interested in DJing in particular as I saw him doing it on his laptop and he loaded the DJ software onto my laptop and said I must go do it.

How did your parents/family respond to you being be a DJ, especially as a girl child, with the often negative connotations that come with the DJ industry?
As I said, my parents are musically inclined so it wasn’t a shock to them when I did it and they were super supportive of it. They just said to me I must go ahead if that’s what I want to do.

Did your parents respond differently to you going out to DJ, particularly at night, to when Daev did as a boy?
No, they were fine with it. What helped was that my brother or my cousin or friends were always there with me when I go out to DJ at night so that made them trust that I would be safe. When I started, my brother and I were basically like twins and we would go everywhere together, especially to his gigs, so it was never an issue with my parents. They never treated us differently based on our gender, even with us getting into music.

image of Deniece Marz...
Image of Deniece Marz… and her brother, Daev Martian.

Did you find that there is a stigma around being a female DJ in the music scene coming up or has it been an un-gender biased journey for you?
It’s better now. I came up at a time where it was becoming easier for females in the industry to be given a chance to play. It’s almost become the “in” thing now to put females on, particularly black females, so I’ve kind of used that to my advantage. I think because of social media and other things it has helped because people are more aware of these issues of lack of diversity in the industry, so it’s become a bit easier. There are still problems though but it’s definitely much better than perhaps 7 years ago.

Do you still remember your first time behind the decks? When was it and how did you feel during that time?
Yes I do.  It was crazy. It was at a roof top in down town Johannesburg. I didn’t expect to even perform and my brother said I must just go do it. I also didn’t expect to feel so much joy after it. The place wasn’t packed out but I wasn’t there to play for the crowd, I was just playing for myself and then seeing that people actually enjoyed the music while I was playing felt quite amazing. It really felt great to create such a nice atmosphere for people to enjoy being there. The rush I felt after as well because it was my first time playing was great.

I wasn’t even scared or worried about how my mixing and selection would be as I had been doing that already by myself in my own space for a long time, it was just doing it in front of people that was scary. But after I finally did it, it was amazing and I literally fell in love with DJing from that moment. I will never forget that.

You’ve played at some of SA’s biggest music festivals including Red Bull Music Festival, Oppikopi, Weheartbeat and the internationally acclaimed Afropunk. How have those experiences been for you?
They have been crazy. So far my two favourite sets were firstly Red Bull Music Festival, when I closed for Skepta, and it was nuts. I remember on the day, before the event started, one of the organizers sent me the set times and I saw that I will be playing at the same time as Skepta. Then when I was performing, literally about half way through Skepta’s set, the organizer tells me that my set has been moved and I’m closing the show. There were now a lot of people outside in the alley where I was performing and eventually I had to get moved inside because everyone was still within the vibe and it became too packed in the alley.  So that was definitely my favourite set and I even got a round of applause after from the crowd.

My second favourite was at the 2018 Afropunk festival.  I played two sets and the second one was my favourite as I had to play in the basement because it was raining hectically. I played for around 2 hours of a strictly house music set and people were amazed as I am mostly known as a hip hop DJ. Weheartbeat was also great because I was playing the same stage as Black Milk, who I have always been a big fan of.

How has the transition been for you from playing smaller venues/events to playing big festivals?
I don’t like to make myself think that one is bigger than the other because I then get nervous unnecessarily and I flop when I’m nervous, so I like to keep it on the same level. The nice thing about festivals though is that you get new ears and people who didn’t know me before discovering me and my music. At festivals people generally know what they are there for, which is mainly to listen to new music, so no one is too uptight about what they are hearing all the time. It’s also very nice to perform to a great stage production, with great sound engineers and a great stage team at festivals as well.

How have you managed to build your career and brand to getting to where you are now? Was it a planned or an organic process?
It wasn’t really a planned process. The only thing that I would say was deliberate was that I knew who I was and I wanted to remain myself in this whole journey. So I did it both deliberately and organically because I deliberately stuck to who I was in everything that I did from the music I played to how I present myself personally to people. I wanted everything to be as me as possible because it’s just so much work when it’s not.

The number one thing is firstly to know yourself, because then you will be able to know what you don’t want and you will know how you expect people to treat you when you are in certain spaces, as well as what you want for your brand. Even if it sometimes means turning down gigs or deals that you feel don’t align with your brand. People won’t respect you and will try to take advantage of you if you don’t know how to stand your ground, especially if you are a young female. Just know who you are and what you stand for and then everything else will come easy.

image of Deniece Marz...
Image of the Deniece Marz… with Kid Fonque.

Finally, what can we expect from Deniece Marz… in the near future? Any projects or ventures you want to share?
Something is coming towards the end of the year which I will only announce later as I’m working on it with other people, but I’m quite excited about it. I will also be trying to put out more music in terms of my own production. I’m kind of nervous about it [laughs] but I have to do it. I have to put it out and let it be out there. The first song that I will try to put out will be with a musician called Rams which is on a beat that I produced. I also play drums and my production is part of that so I’ll be trying to push myself to do that more and get my music out.

Featured Music Reviews

Listen to the ‘Shadows’ mix by Soweto native Bambatha Jones

Bambatha Jones is a Soweto born DJ, photographer and creative director who is his blazing his own trail in the South African creative industry. Leveraging his street and online influence, he offers something different to the South African creative landscape; integrating fashion, music and photography. He is also the brains behind Nobody Else, a Johannesburg based creative agency, a venture he founded with his brother, TSA,  who is known in the Joburg streets as a fierce and creative rapper.

He recently dropped a 40 minute mix called Shadows which features some of the freshest local and international electronic beats tunes.

Stream the mix below.

Culture Featured Music Reviews

Irv Blames Jake Presents The 🌲 63 Audio Illusions Merch

DJ, videographer and photography, Irv Blames Jake, is known for his brilliant smartphone photography where he often shows the rawness, grit and life of the city he inhabits — Johannesburg. He uses different mediums of creativity to give the world a view of he sees the world around and on his online radio show, Tree 63, he attempts to do this using sounds that inspire him. The radio show features music that inspires him and also sees him take advantage of his DJ capabilities to illustrate his visions, and with assistances with some of the local producers and DJs that he loves and respects, he crafts shows that reflect his creativity. The show started in 2018 and now, six months in the new year, he has over ten shows and he shows no signs of stopping.

In his true innovative nature, Irv Blames Jake decided on taking his creative efforts further by making merch as an effort to celebrate Tree 63’s ten show milestone. The collection of T-shirts is designed to be exclusive and is reflective of the process of creating the show, the audio and visual elements which inspired him and the ethos behind Tree 63. For the collection, he designed ten T-shirts that have the cover arts of shows one to ten. He fuses his love for the intangible work that he loves such as music and photography to create a tangible product which represents what Tree 63 is about.

Here are some of images of the shirts.

Tree 63 Audio Illusions
Tree 63 Audio Illusions
Tree 63 Audio Illusions
Tree 63 Audio Illusions

Listen to the latest episode of Tree 63 featuring Limpopo born multi-talented creative, Zito Mowa.

Connect with Irv Blames Jake on SoundCloud to listen to the shows and mixes. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Culture Featured Music

Psych Night & Vans Announce The First Acts For This Year’s Endless Daze Festival

If you do not know about the Endless Daze Festival, then you must be living under a rock especially if you are into South African festival culture. To give you some context and background on the festival; Endless Daze Festival is a proudly South African outdoor music and lifestyle festival which is structured to celebrate music, people and culture. It happens in Cape Town at the Silwerstroom Resort which consists of stunning beach views perfect for a weekend away to be lost in musical bliss.

The event is the result of the tireless, creative and forward-thinking work of Psych Night with support from Vans South Africa. For this year’s festival, internationally acclaimed artists such as Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, American band Night Beats as well as local artists/groups such as Sun Xa Experiment, Elle E and more have been announced as performers on the lineup.

The festival attendance is capped to 2,500 people and that has been the festival’s formula since inception, allowing for a truly spectacular showcase of arts and culture perfect for die-hard music lovers that have a great love for new experiences. Tickets to the festival will be sold in three phases, with phases one and two available in limited numbers and for a limited time only.

Featured Music Reviews

May Recap: Top House Music Tracks Released In Southern Africa

As I write this from the warmth of my bed, some of you might be reading this with a sniffle in your nose or an itch in your throat. That can only mean one thing, House Stark was right, winter is here! Worry not though, the Groove Dokotela’s got you covered with this month’s prescription of hot house grooves.

Gabbana – The Lonely Orchestra Pt. 3
Label: Fluxtuations Recordings

image of Gabbana - The Lonely Orchestra Pt. 3

Those who know me or have been following my house music commentary, know how much of a soft spot I have for Gabbana’s music. His debut album Transitions was one of my favourite drops of 2018 but we can have that conversation another day. Part 3 of The Lonely Orchestra series doesn’t sway too far from the previous drops. Gabbana maintains those emotive progressions but this time with more grit and a tad more dark deep vibes, especially on Space Junk (Deep Tech Mix). Healing Vibes (Original Mix) is more melodic, emotive and has that nostalgic tang that lingers, my favourite of course.

KVRVBO – Descendants of Apollo

image of KVRVBO - Descendants of Apollo

One of the most talked about names within the underground house circles off late, largely due to A Trip To Tokyo (I’m slapping myself for sleeping on this one and not featuring it in my February House Picks) and now Descendants of Apollo. I first heard Descendants of Apollo back in March when Kid Fonque gave it an exclusive spin on his Selective Styles radio show. A mellow and hypnotic deep house jam with an infectious vocal sample. KVRVBO has started off the year on a high and at this rate he’ll easily make it into my MVP list for 2019.

Da Brownie – Santa Monica EP
Label: Papa Records

image of Da Brownie - Santa Monica EP

Da Brownie’s in the 18-area, he shoots, he scores! Cape Town stand up and show your boy some love because you’re well represented on this one. Da Brownie impresses on his second outing on Real People owned Papa Records. His approach to house music leans more on the soulful than deep side but his unique marriage of the two makes this release special. Jersey Step is that groovy jam that you wanna boogie to on the dance floor. Santa Monica, the title track, is a luscious deep gem that makes me think of sunsets on the rooftops of exotic foreign lands. It oozes freshness. So fresh that Terry Hunter went on to compile it in his Deep Rooted compilation on Foliage Records.

Umngomezulu – Through Deep Waters EP
Label: Umngomezulu

image of Umngomezulu - Through Deep Waters EP

Where do I start with this one? How do I even put it into words? At a time when the underground is at a point of saturation and the scene is flawed with too much of the same, in comes Umngomezulu with the most unique offering I’ve heard this year. A blend of ambient and progressive house with undertones of techno wrapped up in total deepness. I must have repeated Drawn Out Of Deep Waters at least five times the first time I heard it, the raw emotion in it. Just as the title suggests, I felt as if I had just been rescued and taking my first breath, emerging out of the deepest of waters. Moon Reflection On Water, on the other hand, is a party-starter guaranteed to pack any dance floor to the brim. This EP is a must have for every avid deep house listener. Umngomezulu take a bow my brother, take a bow!

Soultronixx, Luyo & Bluesoil feat. Decency – Touch (Afro Soul Mix)
Label: Double Cheese Records

image of Soultronixx, Luyo & Bluesoil feat. Decency - Touch (Afro Soul Mix)

Touch is a smooth, soulful and afro-infused song birthed from the collaborative effort of Mallorca-based Luyo alongside Mzansi’s Soultronixx, Bluesoil and the amazing Decency on vocals. The instrumental is warm and soulful with afro-inspired percussions and a jazzy trumpet. The cherry on top is Decency’s silky and calming vocals beautifully layered over the instrumental. The chorus is catchy and immediately compels one to sing along, regardless of one’s inability to match up to Decency. Charted 25 times on Traxsource including Traxsource’s Afro House Essentials and Afro House Top 100, Touch will definitely leaving longing for your distant lover’s sensual touch.

Prince Ivyson – Nervous Breakdown
Label: Rogue Decibels

image of Prince Ivyson - Nervous Breakdown

Prince Ivyson is a Soweto-based DJ & producer previously known as Blacky. The first time I got to hear Nervous Breakdown was when !Sooks dropped it during his #KLKFridays set at the African Beer Emporium. I would have never guessed that it is locally produced. After listening to the EP, the title song Nervous Breakdown is still a standout favourite. However, Bob’s Theremin is another banger on this 3-track EP. The EP consists of deep dubby bangers driven by pounding kicks and bass lines.

Zhao – Magic (Karyendasoul, Ed-Ward, Kususa & Argento Dust Remixes)
Label: Surreal Sounds Music

image of Zhao - Magic (Karyendasoul, Ed-Ward, Kususa & Argento Dust Remixes)

One of Mzansi’s seasoned underground labels brings us yet another cocktail of electronic music sounds through Zhao’s Magic remixes. The remix package features remixes by Karyendasoul, Ed-Ward and a joint remix by Kususa & Argento Dust. Karyendasoul delivers an exhilarating remix, a unique rendition of afro house within an electronic context. Kususa & Argento Dust aim for a similarly unique remix with theirs leaning more towards progressive house. Ed-Ward two remixes are my favourites though. The first being one founded upon his signature sound a fusion of afro house and deep tech, if I were to call it that. The special one though is Ed-Ward’s Love Remix, wow! Why haven’t I heard this side of Ed-Ward before? A midtempo, synth-driven dubby electronic gem that even made it onto Opolopo’s Traxsource June 2019 Top 10 Chart, deservedly so.

Culture Featured Music

Stay Cozy Group Presents The Winter Sessions Featuring Flex The Ninja

Johannesburg based record label founded by South African producer, KaeB, is a label focused on developing a new industry in Africa. Having developed an artist network which has artists from Botswana, South Africa, eSwatini and the US, Stay Cozy Group has its eyes set on dominating the world one song at a time.

To celebrate the label’s growth, it releases a 30 minute mix by Botswana based Malawian producer and dancer — Flex The Ninja.

Stream the Winter Sessions mix curated by Flex The Ninja.

Follow Stay Cozy Group on Instagram.