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Music Reviews

Tapedecks & Vinyls: Vitu collabs with SkinnieZ & yoyo for his first demo for 2018

Cape Town based rapper, Vitu, always comes correct. Regarded by OkayAfrica as a top 25 under 25 rapper in South Africa, Vitu continually proves why Hip Hop fans should pay attention to him and what he has to say as a young rapper from the continent. The consistent release of quality music, ranging from modern rap soundscapes like trap to the more traditional old school sound, is how he intends on capturing the listener’s attention and growing his fan base.

 

This is a short series of songs that I wanted to put together for people to hear a bit of the music I’ve been working on while working on the follow up to to my debut project “This Time Next Week”. The tracks are a smooth blend between Hip Hop and Jazz  with both modern trap elements as well as old school 90’s Hip Hop cuts.

 

The Arcade Music member ends off the first quarter of 2018 with a four track EP titled ‘Tapedecks & Vinyls‘ where he calls on the creative services of his frequent collaborators, SkinnieZ and yoyo.  On this project also showcases his production skills as he produced two of the four joints on the short EP. The EP can be described as nostalgic and traditional with a lyrical delivery that oozes a sense of cool.

Stream Tapedecks & Vinyl below:

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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:

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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:

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Music Reviews

The enclosures and opportunities of originality: A look at how Arcade Music uses originality to break into the urban South African entertainment space

When discussing originality, one is often forced to take a stance of neutrality as nothing is ever new under the sun. You have to view and break the concept or idea of originality through an unbiased and fair lens. Originality, like art and other talking points and mediums where subjectivity reigns supreme, is a tough topic to tackle. In the music space, imitation is unfortunately a standard in the entertainment industry which only a few artists see as a problem that needs solving. When everyone sings or raps about the same topics, the listeners are left with only a few options and an environment where frustration can settle and thrive is created. If imitation is seen as a problem that breeds mediocrity, originality then becomes a viable but complex solution to implement.

Let’s not get it twisted, we cannot deny that influence and inspiration does exist and sometimes the genius of “originality” stems from something that is already in existence. Only a few artists venture where only the brave go, defying current standards and challenging the status quo. South Africa, for one, is experiencing a revolt led by artists that are tired of hegemony of western culture, but here’s the catch – the artists are forcefully taking ownership of western styles of art and making them their own. We can see this in Hip Hop, where African rappers wrestle with finding middle ground between their own identity and the black American identity that is synonymous with Hip Hop.

South African crew, Arcade Music, treats Hip Hop like a lab rat upon where various experiments are conducted to test the limits of a culture that has given life to so many urban youth across the globe. The crew understands that they are in South Africa, they know who’s popping and who’s not and they know that there is a go to sound that everybody in music will gravitate to. With this understanding, they carefully map out their entrance and design the value that they want to bring to the South African listener and also attract international audiences.

Arcade Music’s latest single, Members Only, reeks of originality and is a blend of modern slang and vernacular language. The song speaks to the young South African that speaks and thinks in English but still carries the authentic South African flair. The slang may be borrowed from American Hip Hop, but the attitude is undeniably authentic and more homegrown. Vitu, with his distinct voice, trades verses with HOAX in a fluid manner and the different styles of delivery complement each other. The lyrics have traces of braggadocio, something that is an integral part of rap music, and a strong concept. The concept is maintained throughout the song and marries phenomenally with the beat produced by Subs.

Artwork by Jade Ayl

In the case of Arcade Music, originality is seen in how they craft their songs, what they choose to rap about and the different styles of beats they choose to rock on. Members Only is the first single from the 7 Gen 2 EP which is set to drop in the first quarter of 2017. The crew is probably one the hardest working group that is steady on the come up, especially after releasing so much music this year. We can’t even imagine what they have in store for us next year.

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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.