Bakai are back in a big way with their new track titled ‘Under Those Trees‘. This time, they bring in the world class talent Manu Grace, to lace a touch of sultry gracefulness to take this groovy lo-fi house tune to the next level.
Featured on powerhouse Cape Town based indie label, Kudukudu, Bakai’s atmospherically beautiful signature vibe is back with this summer banger for your face. I spent a good 20 minutes playing this track again and again just to properly soak up its brilliance. My cat ‘Socks‘ can confirm that my dance moves are average but this song is definitely not. With a music video surely on the way, this is a dreamy masterpiece you should hear on every decent radio station and pumped up loud in your local club. If not, please have a little chat to the DJ, yes?
Tell your friends and family about Bakai and Manu Grace and support these quality acts. Get your feet moving and grooving. Follow Bakai on YouTube and Facebook. Follow Manu Grace on YouTube and Facebook.
Producers have risen. Producers are not complacent. Producers, be it a trap producers or lo-fi beats producers, are no longer waiting for rappers or any other vocalists to get a break or a shot at success in the music and entertainment industry. It is like a revolution of sorts, a necessary resurgence that has been a long time coming. Producers are taking to the internet in hopes to own their destiny and get the recognition that they deserve. The cry from all corners of the world is the same: we make the music that forms part of the soundtrack of your life, without us music cannot move.
A lane has been created, platforms have been created and the producer culture is growing and getting stronger. South Africa is no stranger to these developments, particularly with the issue of producers not receiving the recognition they deserve. Talented kids from different backgrounds are fearlessly sharing their art with world using music as a medium that affords them a sense of creative freedom. Electronic music is now one of reigning genres in South Africa and the influence is seen in other popular genres in the country, like Hip Hop and Rhythm & Blues. But with that being said, there are smaller scenes bubbling under in the producer space. One of them being, the lo-fi and dusty breaks scene. A small community, mostly internet-based, that is going against the grain with how they choose to produce. The production often sounds hazy, dusty and old-school and is perfect for a lazy day, great as study music and just vibes. The scene is often closely linked to the Anime culture, which often attracts young, often introverted and reclusive youth.
The lo-fi scene has the seen a tremendous amount of growth over the last few years and this is due to the re-introduction of physical formats of music – cassette and vinyl. Nowadays digital audio workstations allow producers to create beats that one could make using analogue equipment. This is what 19-year-old Soweto-based producer, Seja, uses to create his beats. You could easily mistake his music for music made by seasoned producers like Knxwledge, Ohbliv, Budamunk and Dibiase. Heavily influenced by underground Hip Hop, with a foundation in House music, Seja creates groundbreaking lo-fi beats. This is seen in his recently dropped project titled fade in.outs, an exploration of sounds ranging from jazz, soul and funk. The sampling on this project is world-class and probably the best we’ve heard from a South Africa producer.
Dusty, raw and gritty can be some of the words that are used to explain lo-fi beats. We can juxtapose those descriptive words with alternatives like smooth, layered and inherently progressive. However a person chooses to describe what lo-fi beats feel and sound like to them is purely personal. However, what is impressive is how the beats are created, the length of the beats and how they are played. One cannot speak of the lo-fi beat movement without hinting at the cassette tape culture. Many may assume that the cassette tape has died and is a lost part of the history of how humans consume music. It could be that people are going through a phase of nostalgia or it could be a trend as to how they are switching back to old mediums of playing music.
The process of making lo-fi beats has shifted from solely being produced on drum machines to going to creating the beats by using software. Despite the beats sounding raw and somewhat unfinished, the process of making them is an intricate one and one that should be held in high regard. Call it a hidden form of Hip Hop art that borders along the dark crevices of the Hip Hop culture. One could even picture a reclusive scientist that chooses to spend his/her days in a basement working on various groundbreaking experiments. Experiments that could easily be tagged as forbidden according to the laws of the universe. In simple terms, lo-fi beats have an inadvertent way of giving you a cinematic experience.
The sub-genre of Hip Hop had to evolve with the times and find a new digital home which would then be Youtube. Youtube has been instrumental in the growth of the sub-genre as it offers an easy alternative distribution method for independent artists which allows the people that love the music to access it with ease. There are Youtube channels that are dedicated to the lo-fi beats movement and these channels have the sole purpose of empowering the producers of this sub-genre. Towards the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, more lo-fi beats producer stepped up and put their music online and have a sparked a trend that the sub-genre needs to survive – the consistent release of music.
Photo credit: GodsConnect via Twitter
One of the biggest Youtube channels that became the home of some of the most impressive beat makers of this era is GodsConnect. The channel soon became the home of beat makers like Knxwledge, MNDSGN, Ahwlee, J. Robb, TUAMIE, malik abdul rahmaan and NAMELESS. Knxwledge and MNDSGN have gone on to become some of the most respected beatmakers in the beats scene and being part of the legendary Stonesthrow records in enough to label them as notable innovators. The unique selling point of GodsConnect has to be how clips of classic movies were used to add to the feel of the beats. By combining these clips and the beats, a cinematic experience was created.
In essence, the lo-fi beats movement is about defiance and staying true to what most may call a lost art form. The defiance is rooted in resisting the direction that the Hip Hop culture is heading into. The movement is about keeping a certain sound of Hip Hop alive and to make sure that it progresses into the times that we find ourselves in. The movement exists in the shadows of the internet and it is something that people can truly own without it being exploited for monetary gain. It is low-key a sacred form of Hip Hop that can have a listener getting lost in the soundscape.
It’s 2017 and we now have Youtube channels that live stream lo-fi beats 24/7. More than anything, the lo-fi beats movement is more about community and being unified under the love for this sub-genre of Hip Hop. We now have Soundcloud channels that are dedicated to sharing and spreading lo-fi beats across the internet. Judging by how many beats are on Youtube and Soundcloud right now, the sub-genre is here to stay and flourish. The cassette and beat machines may soon be obsolete, but since the majority of the beats are produced using computers, the lo-fi beats movement cements itself as a genre that has longevity in music.