Categories
Featured Reviews

Have you heard It: Raheem Kemet – SomerSALT

Durban MC, the critically acclaimed Raheem Kemet, dropped his latest music video in April and it’s one to tell your homies about. The stunning visuals to Raheem’s ‘SomerSALT’ track from Sony Music Africa are out and it’s a real introspective look into his life in Durban, the ups and downs and what the future holds. This is one hungry MC who is ready to take over 2020.

Keep your eye on Raheem, follow & stream this local artist before he blows up all over Africa. Follow him on Deezer, Spotify, Facebook and YouTube.

Categories
Featured Interviews Music

Introducing Oxygen: eSwatini’s Latest Hip Hop Sensation

Born Madoda Nsibandze, Oxygen is eSwatini’s latest hip hop sensation who has taken the industry by storm. Nationally known as “The Sensational Oxygen”, the rising star has won over the hearts of many with his charismatic, abstract and show-stopping performances. With the moniker adopted from his high school days, Oxygen aims at giving life through his music and art.

“My music is inspired by the emotional side of daily life on an abstract basis” he explains the inspiration behind the music. “To think and feel outside of the box but still be able to relate to what some may feel about a situation and all its factors” he elaborates. Oxygen’s music is timeless in its lyricism and musicality. With a mixed balance of calming progressions,  soothing harmonies yet energetic articulation, Oxygen gives listeners across all age groups something to jam to with the ability to modernize an old school sound. Proving his diversity with every record he releases; the world class performer fits perfectly into any genre or sound he tackles yet still maintaining his authenticity.

oxygen
Image credit: Instagram

Briefly tell us who is Oxygen?
Oxygen is a hip-hop performing artist who believes in and promotes positive living through his music. He considers the stage his home and transforms when he jumps on it, thus the title “The Sensational”.

What or who made you fall in love with music?
Oxygen was born into a musical family where his father and mother were choir conductors in the award-winning Melodious Voices Chorale, which has now been dissolved. Music has always been a part of Oxygen that one may say he is music.

Take us through your song making/writing process?
Oxygen’s song writing process starts with coming up with a melody according to the feeling within him that he is trying to instil in the listener. Meditating on it, he then blends vocals according to the story or concept of the song then the lyrics flow. Magical experience.

In 2019 you were involved in the first MTN Spotlight competition, take us through that journey ?
The journey through the MTN Spotlight competition was an emotional one but very educational. Emotional because you just never knew what was going to happen or who was going to get voted out after giving each round your best efforts. Very educational because it taught ‘The Sensational’ not to crack under the pressures of the competition, especially because he had to write memorise and perform his original songs each week. All round amazing experience.

What effect did the competition have on your career?
The competition definitely jumpstarted Oxygen’s career because of the quality of the stage performances. Many people followed the competition because they would support their favourite competitors and stumbled upon ‘The Sensational’ and many other amazing talents. The MTN Spotlight competition made the top 3 finalists shine on the night of the finale and that set us all on the way to becoming who we needed to be.

You most recent release is a song entitled “Phree” featuring Zoe Genesis, briefly tell us about that song?
The single ‘Phree’, made with The African Rockstar Zoë Genesis, is an amazing jam to be featured on because of who Oxygen is featured with. The working environment was great with energies in synchrony from the beginning

How did this collaboration come about?
She approached Oxygen with a concept of a love inspired song for summer and he immediately loved the potential of it. It was also a way of showing what else Oxygen had in store other than just rapping. Beautiful experience.

2019 was an amazing year for you, what was your highlight?
2019 was a Sensational year for Oxygen and the highlight for him came courtesy of the 2019 MTN SWAMA Awards ceremony. Oxygen was set to perform and when he entered the stage, he got a standing ovation without having said anything. This indeed was the best moment for ‘The Sensational’ in 2019.

Can we expect a full body of work from you this year?
Most definitely. Oxygen has a new single out titled ‘Come Closer’ which dropped on the 2nd of February 2019 and is available on all major online music stores such as iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and more.

Locally and internationally what is your dream collabo?
Locally, Oxygen’s dream collaboration is with Nomalungelo Dladla. She is a beautiful singer and performer. However, KrTc of Hip Hop is not far down the list. Internationally, Drake would best suit the sound and style of Oxygen for a feature.

What are some of the difficulties that you have faced as an artist and how have you overcome them?
One difficulty was having to quickly learn how to deal with the pressure of the expectations of Oxygen. Another was proving to family why music was the correct decision for Oxygen. However, dealing with the pressure contributed to the quality of the music and the fire behind each performance.

What is some of the best advice you have received from anyone in the music scene or beyond?
The best advice came in the form of a statement by KrTc of Hip Hop saying “Nothing changes if nothing changes”. To better the situation you are in, you must change either your approach or what do entirely for what you want to change to start changing. Best advice ever.

Where can potential ‘fans-to-be’ get access to your music?
Anyone and everyone can access my music on all online music stores.

Stream the ‘I Am Here’ EP.

Stream ‘Come Closer’ below.

Categories
Featured Music Reviews Videos

Watch: Swazi Jive Presents The 2020 Cypher

Swazi Jive entertainment is back with another superb to kick start the year. At the beginning of 2019 the had their first ever cypher which was well received and saw the president of Swazi Jive also drop some bars. The 2020 cypher is fresh and flaming hot, from the setting of the video to the Wigo produced beat and crazy bars spit by the lads. The cypher features Luci Gang Child, OG King, Jurie, Jody Brown, Able Klein and Steez One of my favourite things about this cypher is the beat produced by Welile Wigo Mthethwa, the beat has a lo-fi feel with some incredible samples put all together into the perfect freestyle beat any rap would love. Major credit also goes to all the rappers featured on the cypher, their delivery and breath control was just impeccable with the end product being nothing short of sensational and their lyrical content was on point with room for improvement. A major shoutout to DIREKTOR ALPHA and Focus Tales TI who snapped on the visuals. The visuals are fresh and clean with the setting blending perfectly with the grimy yet lo-fi beat and hard delivery from the rappers(who are trying to prove a point), encapsulating the whole concept of a cypher. This is a great way to start the year by Swazi Jive after a silent 2019 and an exodus of most of their artist. Credit to all the rappers featured on the cypher, we hope to see and hear more from them.

Categories
Featured Interviews Music

Introducing Rafeeqah: Cape Town’s Deep House Super Fan Gracing Dance floors With Flair & Passion

South Africa continues to be the capital of house music globally; the passion and love for deep house does not simply exist with DJs and producers but lives and breeds within its fans on the dance floors. Cape Town based Rafeeqah Ely is an epitome of this passion as she continuously graces deep house dance floors in the Mother City and Johannesburg with her crew of friends (The “Jol Patrol”), who are equally as passionate about house music as she is.

We had a sit down with her to tell us more about herself, how she fell in love with deep house music and how she became such a consistent figure in Cape Town’s dance floors and beyond.

Before we talk about your life as deep house super fan, we’d like to first get to know Rafeeqah a bit more. Besides being a serious groover, what else does Rafeeqah do?
Well, when I’m not at the “groove”, I’m busy making money so that I can go to the groove and compensate for my groove time [laughs]. Currently my job description is that I work at Amazon where I do quality assurance, but I’m also still studying as well. I graduated with a BA degree in 2017 and now I’m trying to pursue my Honours degree in Psychology. I majored in different things but then I chose Psychology because that’s where my heart is.

Do you see a connection between these two passions of yours, Psychology and being a deep house groover?
Yeah, I think there is. Getting to know all these people at the groove is very fascinating to me because you meet so many different people there, it’s insane! I consider it therapy honestly. Just to let loose and exchange energies with different types of people. I feel like I find my solace there.

When did you get into deep house music and how did you fall in love with it?
I am madly, deeply and unconditionally in love with deep house [laughs]. 2lani the Warrior was asking me about this at the We House Festival some time back and I told him that I’ve only been in the scene for 2 years and I’ve been unequivocally invested in house music. I then actually thought about this question after and I realized I gave him the wrong answer because unconsciously I’ve always been drawn to this kind of music.

Before WHS I listened to house, but I just didn’t categorise it as I listened to music generally. I was someone that was always open to music, so I didn’t pay close attention to the specific genres, it was just music. Now though it has become more than that. Commercial music has become alien to me now since I’ve been sucked into this deep house craze [laughs].

image of rafeeqah deep house fan
Image credit: Rafeeqah Super Fan Culture

It is quite amazing how consistent you have been in supporting deep house music, particularly events such as “We House Sundays”. Why did you choose to support this event so consistently and tirelessly?
I had this friend at school who is the one who introduced me to We House Sundays. He told me that he wants to take me to this place because he thought I would enjoy it and then after my first experience I said to him “I think we should do this every month” so that we can hangout and experience this more. Then the more I went, the more I was amazed, and I understood why people enjoyed it. It’s deeper than just being music. That was about 2 and half years ago and ever since then I’ve been going.

It felt like the actual space was like family, like a community. When I’m there I always look at when people enter, they are literally dancing already before they even reach the dance floor, and you are already smiling at the people who are coming in. It’s crazy because you kind of know who is going to be there and we all connect on the dance floor. Something that started off as us just wanting to hang out with my friend at least once a month has become something that I’m more invested in now. We have become very invested in this thing, particularly in following the WHS crew and even going to Johannesburg for events such as ‘Deep Town Jozi’. If you told me 2 years ago that I would catch a flight to another city for a groove I would have laughed at you. It wasn’t even a consideration for me to leave the city for no reason but now I want to keep going because we’ve met so many people because of it.

It seems in your years as a deep house fanatic you have formed a crew of friends who love the music just like you, particularly at WHS. Tell us more about these friendships you’ve formed on the dance floor.
You know what’s crazy is that whenever we go to groove, the last thing we speak about is our personal lives so talking about that is kind of crazy for me [laughs]. We kind of want to leave that at the door because we are at the groove to come and let loose. But considering how close we have become we have been trying to get to know each other at a more personal level, because we realise that its more than just us being at the groove, we actually enjoy spending time with each other.

Even though we have one thing in common (the love of house music), we are all there for different reasons and though we try to escape our daily lives we can’t really escape them completely because they shape who we are as individuals and as a crew. What’s also crazy is that most of the people that stay in my area I met at WHS, I never met them where I live when going to the store or anything.

In a scene that is quite heavily male dominated, even with the supporters of Deep house music, how has your experience been as a woman who attends so many events?
I feel like being often the only female in the crew allows me to play a very specific role. I feel like I am more like the mother of the group because these guys need a lot of support. We come from different walks of life and because of the way we support each other we have become a very close unit. I’m a really shy person, believe it or not, and I feel so comfortable with these guys that I’m literally motivated to be myself with them and I don’t have to be that person that’s chilling and watching everyone dance. It’s because of them giving me the platform to be myself and comfortable, so I just go crazy.

With me being the only female in our crew people always say to me “why are you the only female with all these guys, don’t you have issues with them hitting on you all the time”, and I always say no, that’s not what it’s about. We’ve dubbed ourselves as being family because that’s the last thing on our minds; it’s so much more than that. The guys and I just feed off of each other’s energy.

Have you in the last 2 years of being a super fan become more into getting to know the artists/DJs and following their music outside of the events you attend?
Yes, I have. I think that once I have experienced an artist I then go on and follow them. We experience a lot of music on the dance floor and for some reason I want to dig deeper and try experience what other kinds of house music are out there. I’m quite an avid fan of Avi Subban and I’ve always enjoyed his productions. Also !Sooks, who’s music I’ve always enjoyed even before I experienced him play; as well as Pierre Johnson, who I know through a few mutual friends. So yes, in the past 2 years my knowledge of deep house music has really grown. If you look at my playlists now, its just deep house [laughs].

Have you seen yourself being more recognised now by people as a deep house super fan, even outside of the dance floor?
Definitely. The ‘Front Rowers‘ that’s what they call us [laughs]. Even at work I get people come up to me and say “you are that girl that I always see on the photos” and I always say “hey lets not speak about this here, I am not this person” [laughs]. But yes, when people see me and the crew they now recognise that we are the people that bring the vibe and our faces are now attached to the brand that is deep house. And the fact that people are appreciating our presence makes me want to invest in it even more.

Do you believe that the fans of deep house music like yourself are important and play a big role in the deep house scene?
I think that we are very important as dancers. A friend of mine even said to me that I enjoy the music so much that everyone thinks I will get to a point where I say I would also like to DJ [laughs]. But for me, I would like to remain a dancer because one of these days if everyone is going to be on the line up and who’s going to dance and bring the vibe? I feel like we contribute quite a lot especially in terms of welcoming everyone there and making sure that people feel welcome. So yes, I believe we are as important as the artists because we show appreciation by showing up, being present and actually enjoying the vibe.

image of rafeeqah deep house fan
Image credit: Rafeeqah Super Fan Culture

Finally, would you ever consider formalising the important role you play in the scene and what ventures would you go into?
[Laughs] I don’t know how I would. It would be nice to do this as a job because it’s quite an expensive thing [laughs] but unfortunately, I can’t. I don’t think I would want to consider it as a job because I’m scared it would lose its substance and currently, we are doing it for the love. We want to support these events as much as we can so that they can keep pushing the movement. It would be nice to get paid for it because of how expensive it gets, but ultimately, we know what we are there for. It’s not about the money or anything but about what we take home from the groove. The whole experience, and you can’t buy experience. So, for now I’m just doing it strictly for the love.

 

Categories
Events Featured Music Reviews Uncategorized

Lakuti + Tama Sumo Present: The ‘Your Love’ Party At The Wonderland Club, Cape Town

Respected, highly acclaimed and revered cultural and entertainment pioneers, Lakuti and Tama Sumo, are back in South Africa again to entertain, inform and educate through the use of parties as a vehicle to drive change. Rooted in the underground and the alternative, they are globe trotters and guides that connect people, communities and countries to instil a sense of ubuntu where the one thing that connect us all is celebrated — our humanity.

Lakuti and Tama Sumo bring Your Love, a party series which happens in London to the Mother City. They called on some of their peers in the entertainment space to curate a platform at the Wonderland Club through which people can immerse themselves into the sonic worlds to be curated by the spinners on assignment. Events like Your Love are crucial for the culture as they are more than just a party, but rather a gathering of like-minded individuals with a shared vision, shared love for music and passion of driving change in the world.

image of tama sumo, lakuti & pierre estienne
Image of Your Love Party

Get to know Lakuti and Tama Sumo below.

Categories
Business Featured Music Music Industry Insights

Culture + Tech: Using Data Science To Enhance The African Creative Industry

It’s December 2019, we have reached the end of what we would think was a great decade. A decade characterised by new inventions, shifts in culture and schools of thought. The changes in society are evident and with technology enabling us to do more in an automated way, humans are buying themselves more time to think, feel and be in the moment as robots are taking over many of the tasks that we once had no choice but to do (manually). When humans have more time, they are afforded the ability of enhancing their creativity. Think about that for a moment, when we have more time, we will have the luxury of tapping into a more spiritual and creative side of the human experience, and the assumption there would be that humans will direct their focus to things that meaning.

Sure, technology has its dangers and hazards; and if powerful tech sits in the wrong hands or is created by people that do not prioritise the honest reflection of the diversity that the world carries by building inherently-biased applications, we will continue to have issues. The opportunities presented by technology, and as we enter into the new decade, are immense and with the growing human need for entertainment and creativity as we’ll have more time; adequately preparing for the creative boom by up-skilling ourselves in tech is a no-brainer. What do I mean by this? The new decade that we going into is one where most, if not all, tasks are going to be increasingly automated power by artificial intelligence. For any AI-driven tech, you often need large sets of data to and to extract value from it, we need the skills to operate the tools that will help us mine the data to deliver value. Data science, described as one of the most exciting careers of the future, is a field that is already being used for the entertainment space but the catch is that they are owned by the tech companies, your Apples, Netflix’s, Spotify’s etc. Just to break it down, data science is a described as a multidisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge from unstructured and structured data. With data science as a tool, we can build tech that matters and will provide the platforms to springboard us into future.

Very few creatives are up-skilling themselves to be future-proof because the rules of engagement of industry are changing in the new decade and we ought to be ready for it. In the new decade, to survive and deliver maximum value to industry and the masses (in my humble opinion), you need to equip yourself with the right skills. Just being a traditional journalist won’t cut it, the media industry has drastically changed in the last decade and we saw many, once glorified, media houses tank because of failure to innovate in a highly fast-paced and digital world. Just being a musician won’t be enough, there are AI-driven bots that are capable of making music, and as much as the music industry started seeing increased revenue in the last few years; the tech companies have been integral in this growth. Now don’t me wrong, I am not saying that robots are going to take over the world, but they are going to get pretty and seriously close. As artists or supporters of culture, in our various professions/interests, can be owners of the channels through which deliver value to the world. The people who will own the best tech that will deliver convenience and value quick are going to be rulers of industry. This has already started happening in a lot of industries and everyone is scrambling to beef up their tech departments to prepare for the wave that is to come. Culture changes and moves with time and it can be beautifully and perfectly merged with tech to create new experiences for humanity.

To truly and radically transform the African creative industry, we need to take the necessary steps to drive innovation in the space. We need our own tech platforms, built by creatives for creatives and the masses to enjoy; from streaming platforms to AI-driven bots that will us with discovery, the facilitation of connections and problem solving. The creative of the future is a dynamic one; they can code, build actionable business models and are insanely dope creatives. We do not have a shortage of ‘insanely dope creatives’ in the African continent (admit it, Africans are nice) but we do have a shortage of in the creative space is tech talent that will drive industry forward. Culture and tech do not have to war. They co-exist symbiotically for the goodness and the betterment of humanity. As 2020 draws nearer and nearer, let us make the means as the creative industry to build tech that we can own, that is culturally-relevant and inherently designed for our people. With ownership embedded in our minds and rooted in how we move, we can encourage consistent innovation. I mean, we do live in a continent where humanity began, let’s show the world where the real juice comes from.

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

Raheem Kemet returns with fire single ”SomerSALT’

Legendary Durban MC and poet, Raheem Kemet is back with new music and it definitely has been worth the wait.

image of raheem kemet
Single artwork: SomerSALT by Raheem Kemet

SomerSALT‘ is the name of the new track from Raheem released through Sony Music Africa and it’s a street banger of note. If this is a taste of what’s to come then we are all in for a treat in 2020. With more music and videos on the way, you will want to turn this up real loud.

Stream SomerSALT by Raheem Kemet on Apple Music below.

You can also stream the single on all other streaming platforms.

Categories
Business Featured Music Industry Insights Reviews

The New Frontier: An African Startup Focused Show Crafted To Highlight Real Entrepreneurship Stories

In September, two Johannesburg based entrepreneurs; Lungile Mayindi and Nkululeko Nkosi embarked on a journey of creating and crafting content focused on the startup journey in Africa. Now this content is not structured to give people wishy-washy and fantastical ideas of entrepreneurship; its focus is impart real knowledge, provide interesting insights and deliver value in the form of truth.

Lungile Mayindi is a young entrepreneur who hails from the East Rand region of Johannesburg, who is now based in the North of Johannesburg and has his own production company called Iron Heart Films. Nkululeko Nkosi is a Mpumalanga-born and Johannesburg based entrepreneur who co-founded WeDigitize Agency — a digital and solutions-focused agency. The two started the Youtube series to provide meaningful content about the startup journey, content that will be real and speak to the difficulties of the entrepreneurial journey and how one should manoeuvre the business world as a young African startup founder.

Topics such as avoiding burning and staying consistency, the struggles of entrepreneurship, how to network and book recommendations for entrepreneurs. The channel is structured to be an edu-tainment

Watch the releases episodes below.

More videos are going to be shared and the two entrepreneurs look forward to connecting more with other entrepreneurs in South Africa and Africa. It is their contribution to the African startup scene and they hope to deliver tangible value to their viewers and target audience.

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

Vision Over Everything: Knowing Your Worth Is Important In The Music Industry

The biggest challenge South African music industry is facing is that most of our musicians don’t have a vision pertaining their music careers. They think you just have to write the lyrics, hit the studio, release an album then BOOM! You achieve success. It is important to know why you are starting a career in music as that will guide you on your way to achieving your success. Musicians who don’t have a vision end up being ‘has
beens’ of the industry. You will also notice that as they become public figures, they often in the media for all the wrong reasons.

You’ll be hearing that a musician was arrested for drunk-driving, rape or assaulted someone. Vision protects you from all these bad things happening to you. Your vision make you have a backbone, help you to never surrender to the pressure that may come with fame, you’ll know your worth and most importantly, others will have great respect for you and see you as a role model.

AMPD Studios Crowd In Newtown Johannesburg

This will make getting endorsement deals easier as everyone will want to associate themselves with you. Another great thing that can happen is that event organizers will also be calling you every now and then to come perform or be an MC in their events. If you are a musician, you must always remember that everyone is watching your every move, so
it is very important to always play your cards right. Musicians must know that the vision will also help them measure how far they have gone towards achieving their goals and see if they are growing, going backwards or they not moving. In nowadays, musicians do more than recording and releasing their music, they now own record labels and that is because they have realized that it is a vision that makes an artist have a successful career. The industry can be a short career if you don’t have a vision. Roger that.

Categories
Featured Music Reviews

Amarafleur Reflects On Past Pain On Her Latest Single ‘DontLetGo’

We often see pain as an inconvenient hindrance to our general wellbeing, and don’t get me wrong pain is incredibly uncomfortable, but we miss reasons why pain visits our lives: it comes to makes us aware, to teach and to strength. Dealing with pain means that you have to lock in and do the internal work required to calm the storm that pain brings in one’s life, prompting one to be inactive in the things that they love to focus on healing. Johannesburg singer-songwriter based in Cape Town, Amarafleur, captures this experience of grappling with pain, letting go and healing as a form of freedom.

DontLetGo‘ is single and it comes after a four-year hiatus which saw Amarafleur transition fully into who she is an artist, a professional and most importantly, a black woman. While this transition was happening, serious changes in her life manifested which she had no choice but to face and this, in an odd but beautiful way, refined her artistry preparing her for the next of her journey. The song is rooted in honesty and Amarafleur presents herself as bare, vulnerable and accepting of the losses that are setups for future wins in her work, art and relationships. In the song, she speaks on struggling to let go and taking back ownership of her power in all life situations and spaces that she fills and finds herself in.

After toiling tirelessly in life, Amarafleur seems to be finding her feet, her flair and her true self by returning to her calling. The songwriting is very direct and potent, and does not go over your head as it is crafted to be understood by many and to be accessible. Aule Kil Whan is the artist behind this dream and emotion-driven beat with touch points of electronica, R&B and hip hop; allowing Amarafleur to glide gracefully with her smooth vocals.

Amarafleur breaks out of this self-imposed silence with a grand re-introduction; more refined, more textured and packed with life lessons reflected in the strength of her pen. DontLetGo is an incredible record which will undoubtedly position her as an artist to look out for in 2020.

Stream DontLetGo on Apple Music. You can also stream the song on all other major streaming platforms.

Follow Amarafleur on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.