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Featured Music Videos

Watch: Teddy Pleasure Never Takes Ls On His Latest Music Video

Alberton based rapper, Teddy Pleasure, has been steady on the rise in the last two years; releasing bangers on SoundCloud and getting love on the internet and the Gauteng streets.

Towards the end of 2018, Teddy pleasure released his ‘Confessions In A Tazz‘ EP, a nine-tracker which allowed Teddy create a buzz for himself in the streets and online. The project features some of his Dipopaai affiliates, Bringo and Trust B1 (who handled most, if not all, the production on the project.

One of the most popular songs on the project is a song titled ‘Never Take A L‘ which features internet sensations and well-respected content creators, Okay Wasabi and Dali Danger, as well as Trust B1. The song is packed with braggadocio which is common in rap music, however they add a comical twist to the song to create another brand of rap music that carries South African truths and language.

Never Take A L has a dope music video which sees the artists perform in their hoods. Watch it below.

Stream the Confessions In A Tazz EP here.

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Featured Music Reviews

Snegenege 2 Autochoon Bimbing: Thiaps pushes himself creatively with his latest 4 track EP

Jozi-based multi-talented creative, Thiaps, embodies the concept of Sofistikasi. A concept when explained entails: a lifestyle, school of thought and concept which marries all things sophisticated, some would prefer to use the word ‘bougie’, with the rawness and cultured nature of the kasi. Thiaps is part of the new generation of creatives that are, without fear, going back to basics by drawing inspiration from all things that are uniquely South Africa – from language, the people, the culture and arts.

READ: Thiaps releases Snegenege Vol. 1, a short project that invites us into his colourful life.

                                                    

In an effort to showcase personal and artistic progression, he releases the follow-up to his Snegenege Vol. 1, which is part of a series of short tapes where he invites us into his world. He delivers Snegenege 2: Autochoon Bimbing, a project that sees him play around with melodies, his voice and new concepts with the assistance of autotune. With this project, he speaks on where he is currently in life, briefly touches on spirituality, women and money, and hopes of breakthroughs and success. Sonically and lyrically, the four-track EP is different from the first EP of the series. In the second effort, Thiaps places himself at the center of the project’s concept and he offloads and shares wisdom gained through personal struggles.

The EP was entirely produced by trust B1, a longtime friend and frequent collaborator of Thiaps. With these strong releases, Thiaps seems to be positioning himself to take his creativity to the next level and build a solid audience while at it. Expect more from the Mzansi Mnandi pioneer – Thiaps.

Stream Snegenege 2: Autochoon Bimbing below.

Follow Thiaps on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud.

Categories
Music Reviews

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

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

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

Image via Teddy Pleasure

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

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

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

PREMIERE: Johannesbug based duo, XMPL, release Voicenotes & Breakfast – their long awaited project

Image credit: XMPL

The originators of the Mzansi Mnandi sub-genre have returned after not being visible since we first got to know them through their breakout single, Madala. XMPL is one of the few South African urban music groups that are heralded as the innovators pushing the boundaries in sound, style and language. Innovation can definitely be expected from XMPL, as the members – Bringo (real name Sthembiso Mpehle) and KaeB (real name Kabelo Tsoako) are young creatives who are seasoned in other elements of creativity like animation, sound and motion design.

The vibe XMPL curates can be described as a new age South African bounce that can easily draw international listeners. A glimpse into the experiences of young black South African males are perfectly captured in the new project – Voicenotes & Breakfasts. The project is highly conceptual as the theme lays reference to the raw, unguarded and exposed state that people find themselves in with regards to the relations that they have with other people. Technology has made it easy for millennials to communicate with each other and the ease of communication, as convenient as it is,  has created new problems with how young people communicate with each other.

XMPL is a duo that is pioneering an authentically South African sound called Mzansi Mnandi.

Bringo has an idiosyncratic personality and nature, somewhat quirky yet hard-hitting and packed with gems of knowledge. Simply put, Bringo is an aficionado in what he does – the style of writing, delivery and cadences are incomparable. He delivers most of the raps on the project and has talented, up and coming singers, namely Naye Ayla and Lisa Tobi, joining him to extend and heighten the vibe. The last track on the project, titled Tyda, is structured in a posse-cut manner as XMPL calls on their associates to create a vibe-filled track.

The production, which is handed by KaeB, is dreamy and complements Bringo’s vocals. In all honesty, rapper-producer duos are rare in not only South Africa, but the entire African continent – so the duo is playing in a space which has a lot of opportunity. The duo is enterprising, creative and innovative as they usher in a much needed fresh energy in the African music landscape. The Mzansi Mnandi sound is undoubtedly going to rival popular African genres like Afrobeats – a genre that has been embraced wholeheartedly by the world. One of the unique selling points of XMPL is that they are comfortable in their own skin, they trust and know that their creativity is more than enough for them to create a lasting legacy.

Looking for a sound that is authentically South African, but also has an international appeal? Well, XMPL has that and more. They are not only setting an example of how other acts should manoeuvre and create, but also creating a culture which has the potential to take over African youth culture.

Stream the project below:

Categories
Culture Music

Mzansi Mnandi frontman & pioneer, Thiaps, releases Snegenege Vol 1

Our first interaction with charismatic Johannesburg based artist, Thiaps, was through his culture-shifting and authentically South African release of SUPERFISHAAL.  SUPERFISHAAL served as a perfect introduction to his art – the project was filled with character, attitude and a level of enviable and unmatched patriotism to his own country and culture.

Thiaps’ confidence is undoubtedly inspirational. He packs enough artristic fire-power that forces the South African listener to reminisce to a time when acts like Morafe, HHP, Teargas and Zuluboy were standout acts giving us a fresh local take on Hip Hop and showed us what was possible with the music. Thiaps shows us that it is okay to carry our culture, our language and heritage to communicate a universal message with his music. Themes of good times, his upbringing, his roots, struggle, love and township life are intelligently communicated in his music – something South African Hip Hop music often lacks. Is it even fair to box him into Hip Hop? I mean, sure he raps and can rap circles around your favourite rapper but he cannot just be reduced to another ‘rapper’, that would simply be an inaccurate description – Thiaps embodies much more, so much more.

Thiaps creates his own creative lane, one that cannot be easily be replicated.

Championing who you truly are, where you come from and honestly capturing the South African story indicates an admirable level of bravery. It must be tough having to shake off Western influences when making music in this highly globalised world – a world that can be cruel to African artists. Surprisingly, the rest of the world often hungers for true African sounds, language, cadences and tradition to come through in the music that we export.

Thiaps snegenege vol 1

Thiaps has come back with a brilliant short EP called Snegenege Vol. 1, a project that is surely going to raise the flag high for Mzansi Mnandi, a purely South African genre Thiaps is pioneering with his DiPOPAAi compadres. Thiaps is not only behind Mzansi Mnandi, but he is also propelling Tsotsi taal to the fore – Tsotsi Taal is a language formed through the mixture of a variety of South African languages mainly spoken in the Gauteng province of South Africa. He prefers to coin the language and the lifestyle that he leads Sofistikasi. Snegenege means snack in Sofistikasi which perfectly describes the EP as it is short and serves as a temporary – but impactful – filler for something bigger coming in future. The EP was inspired by recent work by popular South African rapper, Ricky Rick, called Scooby Snacks.

How many artists can you name, who are not only bringing innovation in music but are also creating their own language and lifestyle? I doubt that anyone can name more than five artists, local and global, who are doing that. Thiaps is clearly not a follower of trends, but a leader that is shifting culture and introducing a new school of thought. Seven months ago, Thiaps dropped the first single from the EP called Show Dem produced by Swaziland-born and Johannesburg-based producer, Rendition. Thiaps confidently clarifies his position in the game, taunts his peers and expresses his intent. The message is clear – Thiaps promises disruption and longevity.

Snegenege Vol 1. is only four tracks strong, with one of the songs being a short throwback of a South African classic by the legendary DJ Mujava called Mugwanti. Fifty-percent of the project was produced by KaeB, who has close ties with Thiaps as they share a love and passion for music and animation. Hunna and Dibirie are personifications of South African flair which Thiaps proudly embodies. It’s incredible how much unique content Thiaps managed to fit in such a short project which goes to show that we are undoubtedly being readied for more impactful and ground-breaking bodies of work in the future.

Thiaps does not compromise when it comes to who he is and where he comes from, with his head screwed on right and his goals clearly identified – how can he be stopped?

Stream Snegenege Vol. 1 below:

The project is also available for download here.

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Featured Interviews

Meet XMPL: A duo that is pioneering an authentically South African sound called Mzansi Mnandi

South Africa is seeing a healthy rise in the innovation of authentic music, culture and the avenues used for expression. The country is experiencing a defining moment where young people are untangling themselves from societal holds as they begin understanding how important it is to own their identity and their representation. The current generation of youth, even with their own unique struggles and problems, is relentlessly finding new ways of expressing itself which invites onlookers, local and international,  to have a real view of South African youth culture through a lens that is owned by the brave and creative youth of South Africa.

We cannot deny the power that the west still has on how young people in Africa view themselves and this is due to the magnitude and influence of western entertainment. As time proceeds, more young people in Africa are paving their own way, creating and telling their own stories. One group in particular that is pioneering a new wave and is undoubtedly shifting youth culture to a good place, is none other than the Johannesburg based duo XMPL.

We recently connected with the duo online and found out more about them and how their musical and creative journey started. Through back and forth conversations via email, we managed to knock an interview with them which turned out to be very interesting.

First things first, we would like to thank you guys for giving us your time. Let’s jump straight in, tell us more about XMPL? From what we’ve gathered online, XMPL is a duo. Who forms part of the duo?
XMPL: Firstly XMPL would love to thank you guys for the support we really appreciate that.

XMPL comprises of two good friends namely Producer/Animator KaeB (Kabelo Tsoako) Songwriter/Vocalist and Animator Bringo (Sthembiso Brian Mpehle).

Where did your journey in music begin? How long has it been? We exist in a really beautiful time when it comes to how boundaries are being pushed in South Africa, musically that is, you guys must have an interesting journey on how it all started out for you.

Bringo:  We’ve both been highly influenced by music ever since we where kids, both local and international music. I used to perform way back in primary school, reciting Andre 3000, Skwatta Kamp and Pitch Black Afro lyrics to my classmates. I wrote my first official verse in grade 7 after watching the movie 8mile.

KaeB: For me music has always been a thing but I can say it officially began in grade 10.

What is the significance of the name XMPL ? Mind letting us in on how it came about?

Bringo: The concept behind XMPL came soon after KaeB and I officially met at an Animation company we both used to work for. We would have long conversations about the music industry in our country and more often than non we would complain about how a lot of emerging artists where literally just mimicking other artists and not really creating or adding value to the craft. This was when we decided that instead of always complaining about the game, lets rather be an ‘example’ of what we feel the game should be, from our sound, visuals to our overall brand. Hence the name XMPL which is pronounced example.

XMPL has a different sound which is definitely innovative. Your approach to Hip Hop is quite refreshing. Can you tell us more about your style of music and how it came about?

KaeB: Our style really comes from various genres of music, from Jazz, Neo Soul, Boom bap, Kwaito, House Music the list is endless, also us not trying to conform to the norm is what helps us find our style, and remain fresh and unique.

How are you guys planning to leverage the power of the internet? The internet has made it possible for artists to fully adopt a DIY approach to make sure that their ideas come into being.

KaeB: We exist mostly online, that’s where most of our reception comes from honestly. About a year ago, one of my beats was played by Soulection Radio, which just goes to show how much power we have online. Also we are known for the Kronikles of Hip Hop which is an online animated series created by Phaatoonz, which was founded by Bringo. In a nutshell the net has really helped us push our brand in many ways and we will continue to exploit it!!LOL.

What do you guys make of the South African music industry? Do you think that it is accommodating to drastic changes which have the potential to shift culture? Because in all honesty, you guys offer a creative release which is authentically South African which can easily be exported to other countries.

Bringo: I honestly feel like there’s much more that can be done to improve our industry, this is why we exist. The biggest problem is we’ve developed what I call an “Import behaviour” which means all we do is adopt styles, cultures from abroad and convince ourselves that they’re authentic and originally South African. This becomes a problem because all we now have are a bunch of cheap imitations, we are like the China of music. That time we have so much original and authentic cultures, styles, and sounds that the world has yet to experience, this is what we are trying to put out as XMPL.

Can you describe your creative process? What can one expect from a XMPL studio session?

Bringo: A lot of laughter, mumbling and freestyling. We usually vibe out as soon as KaeB creates a melody on fruity. The writing process usually comes way after, once I’ve come up with a few catchy flows.

Who are some of your influences, locally and internationally?

Bringo & KaeB: Mdu, Andre 3000, J Dilla, Madlib, Flying Lotus, Thebe, Hugh Masikela, The Internet, Joe Nina, Pitch Black Afro, Thandiswa Mazwai, Micheal Jackson, Bonobo, The Streets, Mike Snow, Mr Scruff, Twistyle, Mawilis, LOL the list is endless.

There are ongoing talks within Hip Hop circles globally about the disconnect between the new generation and the old generation, where the old generation is talking down on the new generation and the new generation is saying well F it, it’s our time and we’re going to do Hip Hop or music in our own way. What is XMPL’s view on that? Do you think it’s important to pay homage to those that laid the foundation for you to do what you do?

Bringo: I’d just like to clarify something, XMPL is not a “HipHop” Duo, our catalogue of music comprises of more than just Hip hop. We would like to think of ourselves as Mzansi Mnandi. However to answer your question, it’s always good to pay homage and understand where any and every genre began, this makes it easier for you as an artist to break the rules and come up with new ways of communicating ideas. I feel the problem comes when people become purists so much that they want to preserve the art in such a way that it doesn’t grow. Hip Hop is the fastest growing genre of music in my opinion, from the culture to the sound, everything about Hip Hop is always changing every day. So I think the disconnect comes when the old school doesn’t want to let the kids live!

What can someone who is not familiar with XMPL expect from a XMPL project?

KaeB: Well a lot of different sounds ranging from House, Kwaito, Jazz and Neo Soul all fused together, Alongside Bringo’s crazy unorthodox melodies, flows and harmonies.

Are you guys working on any project that we should look out for?

KaeB: Yeah we are currently working on a project titled Voicenotes and Breakfast, with our first single being Madala, which is currently out on Soundcloud, Itunes and local radio stations such as Yfm. We also shot a dope video you can check out on youtube; XMPL-Madala.

We’re nearing the end of 2016, what are some of your plans for 2017?

Bringo: Well we have a lot in store for the coming year, like dropping our first project, more music videos, crazy collabo’s, innovative live performances, merchandise, touring and TV shows.

In three words, describe what being a creative/artist in South Africa entails?

Bringo: Perseverence
Patience
Poverty LOL.

In closing, where can people follow you online? Any words for your existing fans and potential fans?

XMPL: You can find us on Instagram, twitter @XMPL_ZA and on YouTube XMPL- Madala also for bookings email us on bongi@mobpro.co.za or xmplza@yahoo.com.

Thank you very much.

 You can check out the Pha Toonz Youtube channel here.

Our movement, help us define it.