Culture Music Reviews

#LabelSpotlight: Newly launched Durban-based label, Jooba Records, is cultivating a culture of experimentation in the South African beats scene

South African independent music is growing at an alarming rate. From Pretoria’s prominent Amapiano scene to the youthful trap scene in Johannesburg’s East Rand region, South African music lovers are spoilt for choice. We no longer have to look beyond our borders to be inspired or worship artists from the West as creative gods. When an industry grows, smaller scenes also sprout out from the borders of popular culture. These scenes, as small as they may be, are upheld by passionate individuals who are instrumental in laying the foundation for the scene to grow and reach more people. Structures and systems need to be built, and that creates a need for labels to be founded and digital distribution companies need be established.

On the point of small scenes, Durban has been at the forefront of the lo-fi, dusty beats scene. Many may have thought Johannesburg or Cape Town are the cities that are leading in terms of the growth of boom bap based lo-fi beats talent. Movements and initiative like iqoqo leqoqo and Radio Steez, have been working tirelessly to build the scene and grow the scene. Many of these movements, as much as they analogue-focused, have taken to the internet to share want they do with the masses. Armed with the understanding of social media and other digital platforms, these movements are building solid online communities which go on have a positive offline effect on the scene.

Recently launched label, Jooba Records, is one of the labels that are taking these new sounds and culture to bigger heights. The label focuses on unearthing talent from different corners of South Africa, connecting them and getting people to support the music. The label’s vision is simple: curating a modern African sound under the umbrella of instrumental Hip Hop. The label has a digital and physical release strategy – a strategy that a lot of international alternative-music focused labels are using.

The label has built a solid roster that stretches three three provinces, namely Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal. The artists are some of the best talents to come out in the local beats scene with Jazteq (founding member) leading the pack.

Stream the latest releases from the label here: