Culture Featured Music Reviews

Uyamazi ujuluka bam’phethe: Suup Zulu is a new age innovator pushing Mzansi urban music to new avenues

Suup Zulu (real name Sibusiso Tshona) is an out-of-the-box creative thinker and multifaceted artist that hails from the oldest township in South Africa, Alexandra. Alexandra is more popularly known as Gomorra and the name that speaks of the roughness, strife and conditions of the north eastern Johannesburg township. In this roughness, strife and unfavorable conditions, beauty finds its way into the fore detailing the extraordinary resilience of the people that live in Alexandra. This beauty that I speak of manifests itself as creativity; finding ways to beat struggle, alleviate conditional circumstances, and survival-oriented problem solving. Suup Zulu, like a true artist, sees beyond the strife and uses his surroundings as his advantage, and with a strong imagination, he constructs worlds which paint a different picture of iGomorra – Alexandra like never seen before.

As a youth that is born and raised in Alexandra, creativity is his best bet for expression and escapism. In his art, he creatively tackles issues such as classism, township living and the state of his surroundings whilst paralleling that with themes of space, time and intergalactic travel. As performer he has built himself to be a kwaito practitioner which carries the braggadocios attitude of a rapper. His music carries an effortless cool and swagger and he delivers his lyrics in a nonchalantly manner. Lines like ‘yimi le type engena eSandton idla iskobho i’walke around” on the song, Juluka bam’phethe, clearly illustrate how he unpacks the black township experience and places it in an unusual scenario/setting like Sandton. When he does this, even though this may be surface level, he subtly touches on class allowing you to think of the unimaginable. What he also manages to do is cement the need of representation in some of spaces that are not designed for black people in mind, and he also identifies a need for black pride and the ownership of our experiences and culture as black people.

image of suup zulu
Image source: Facebook

The Suup Zulu sound is spacey and beautifully experimental. He raps over spacey beats delivering his thoughts in his native tongue, IsiZulu. With an imaginative approach to music, he has knack for twisting your mind as the listener as he introduces concepts like intergalactic travel to other planets with a Siyaya (a popular South African mini-bus taxi manufactured by Toyota in the late-to-mid 80s). Fascinating concepts to be honest! Suup Zulu is designing the next South African sound and it is only a matter of time until more people catch on.

Stream ZULU ON MAAS by Suup Zulu, a two track collaborative EP with Johannesburg producer, Maas.

Featured Music Reviews

Watch: Darkie Fiction release the visuals for #Bhoza, their official single for their upcoming debut EP

The visuals for Bhoza, Darkie Fiction’s first official single of their upcoming debut EP. The music video is colourful, full of jubilation and celebration, and also some cameos from some  South Africa’s rising creative forces who are taking the creative industry by storm. Aesthetically, the video sees Yoza and Katt Daddy re-imagine, re-package and re-introduce the South African youth identity into one which is uniquely Mzansi. Nuanced aesthetics mostly common in Kwaito can be seen in the video. You can’t not be happy when watching this video. Watch the video below.

Follow Darkie Fiction on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Featured Music Reviews

We Believe The Hype: Darkie Fiction is up next & bringing authentic South African sounds from yesteryear

We have to admit, we’ve been sleeping and we’re caving in, caving into buying into the heavy hype surrounding South African music duo, Darkie Fiction. Now please, understand this, this hype we speak of is the normal hypebeast, bandwagon-riding type of hype, it is the kind of hype that is warranted and well-deserved. Any South African act that is brave enough to proudly and fearlessly champion authentically black ideas, aesthetics and schools of thought is important.

The rapper-singer duo was formed in Cape Town in 2017 by Katt Daddy and Yoza Mnyanda, and has gone on to take on the South Africa’s city of gold, Johannesburg, with hopes to advance their careers. Although they be seen as an act that plays around the alternative and niche category, what they do and the messages they communicate through their art can easily speak to young people of colour in Mzansi. Oddly enough as much the group is pushing an authentic representation of black South African youth, it may take a while for South Africans to catch on to their ground-breaking concepts. However, the world is watching and hungry to hear their voice and they are likely to follow the footsteps of acts like FAKA, Spoek Mathambo, Muzi, Nakhane and Yugen Blakrok, who receive much of their claim overseas.

We have no doubt that they are well on their way to breaking into the international music space. With musical muses such as the likes of Brenda Fassie, Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu, Steve Kekana, TKZee and Boom Shaka, they can do no wrong. They fuse kwaito, afro-funk, neo-soul and hip hop to create a truly progressive sound – one that is only unique to them.

Watch the video for their 2017 released single, ‘Selula’.

Featured Music Reviews

Smashing creative conventions: Thiaps drops ‘PHIHLIZA’ featuring B1 and Teddy to usher in a new urban sound

Thiaps, a multi-talented creative, from Johannesburg has a rather interesting approach to creating and sharing art. With an open-mind, he surges forward with an unrivalled confidence and style. Unapologetically South African in how he manoeuvres, Thiaps is impressively captures the South African story.

Following his last release titled ‘Snegenege Vol. 1’, a short EP that was released towards the end of 2017, Thiaps managed to garner a significant amount of attention within the Joburg creative scene. Dibirie, a stand-out track from the EP, was featured on popular Youtube social media commentary show The Microwave Boys. Praised and heralded by his creative peers, Thiaps managed to set the precedent for what he has planned for 2018. One of the most unique selling points about Thiaps is how he understands and respects the process of creativity and how he breaks down art as a trained artist who, in his professional capacity, trades his creativity to earn a living.

READ: Thiaps relentlessly creates a new creative territory with his sound

To kick things off for 2018, he calls on his Mzansi Mnandi compadres to express the experiences collected as young black men figuring life out in the city of gold, and this is captured in a song. The track features two talented Joburg-based artists, B1 and Teddy, who bring a fresh energy to the song. All three artists represent Dipopaai with production handled by KaeB who happens to be a close associate of the camp. This song serves as the first official release from the collective for 2018.

Stream ‘PHIHLIZA’ below: