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Featured Interviews Music

Get To Know Mavhuthu “Dadaman” Dzege: Soweto’s Dance Floor Fanatic Merging Running & Deep House Music To Make A Difference

It is almost impossible to think about deep house fans and dance floor loyalists in Johannesburg without the face of a crazy, heavily bearded, topless guy named Dadaman immediately coming to mind. Soweto native Mavhuthu “Dadaman” Dzege is undoubtedly among the leading commanders of dance floors all over Johannesburg’s deep house underground scene. Not only has he become a prominent face on the dancefloor, with his crazy antics and chants, he has channelled his love for music and long distance running towards giving to the less fortunate in his community. We had a chat with him to get to know more about him and what fuels his love for underground music, running and his various charity initiatives.

Firstly, we would like to know about you as a person and where you are from. Who is Mavhuthu Dzege?
Mavhuthu is a creative, runner, crazy guy and an all-round fanatic who sticks to the things that make him happy. He hails from Meadowlands, Soweto, and loves his music and the way it makes him lose his mind.

You are known by many as the “crazy” guy with the beard that is in every deep house party with his “skippa” (T-Shirt) off. Tell us about your love for deep house music and when it began?
I can’t really say when it started but it is ages ago. I grew up with dance music and it has been part of my life. I love deep house, its various elements and sounds that hit the right spots and see me lose my mind. I had the privilege of working at Carfax (a nightclub in Newtown Johannesburg) back in the early 2000s where I got to hear various styles of house, different genres and be in a space of “freedom” – this was when clubbing was all about the party and not fancy drinks or dress codes.

What does Mavhuthu do for a living besides being a deep house super fan?
I am a copywriter and I also do a little bit of charity work.

You have become the face of deep house fans and an influential person in underground music culture, particularly in building support for major deep house events, the most notable being Deep Town Jozi. Please share with us why you chose to support these events so consistently and tirelessly?
To be honest, I love the vibe and the people and more importantly the musical variation. Plus, finding an event to support is what is needed in order to share the vibe with new people. A major reason is the fact that deep house is frowned upon by many club, pub or venue managers in Soweto – so travelling out of ikasi (the township) to find new gigs that cater for my musical taste was key. It’s always important to support something that resonates with you as opposed to “conforming and following the norm”. Plus, many people tend to frequent the same events with the same line up and the same people and that gets tiring. I am a creature of inspiration and energy, so once something becomes a habit – I get bored and that is what is happening in my hood – same line ups, same – same!

Please explain about the significance of the culture of lifting props on the dancefloor; from the “caution sign” to the chairs and tables, as well as the infamous “kettle” seen in parties such as “We House Sundays”?
I think it’s when the music grabs you by the kahunas and you lose your mind or yourself in the music and “normal” no longer resonates with the brain. The music creates chaos within your system and chaos has to be expressed. It’s also the little deep house demon in me screaming to be freed even more – maybe one day I will drop my pants and shout “Yooooooh”!

image of dadaman
Image credit: Facebook

In 2018 we saw a controversial battle occurring between deep house and amapiano fans, after yourself and other deep house revellers were criticized for chanting “F*** Piano” whilst dancing to deep house music. Please speak on the culture of chanting in South African dancefloors and in what spirit this particular chant was meant?
Chanting has always been a part of the dance scene, it’s revellers expressing themselves through “song” or a “phrase” that they relate to. From the 90s chanting has been a big part of SA music culture – if you remember ‘a re robale rona’, ‘Mama yoh’, you will know what I am talking about. Once a new chant is shared, everyone joins in. The f*** piano chant was all banter. It was all meant in the good spirit of dance floor banter and did not seek to foster any malice. In my personal opinion, amapiano all sounded monotonous, so I was like, why would people listen to such when the “dzwurrrr, the “Dzwang”, or the bo-boop” elements of deep house drive you insane? People unfortunately took it very personally and I had to apologise and stop the chant.

Beyond being a serious reveller, you are also known for your love for running. How did this become a passion of yours and why?
I have always been an athletic lad. I used to jog, did 5, 10 km here and there and then – boom – the running addiction got me. I moved from running 10 km to 42 km races because the race I wanted to run had no more 21km entries left, so the hlanya (crazy person) in me said, what was 4 x 10kms in one? [laughs]. Another thing that motivated my running was when I tore my right knee meniscus for the second time, and the doctor said I need to avoid contact sports and strengthen supporting muscles around the knee, so that got me into running more.

Is there a connection between these two passions of yours, deep house and running?
A massive connection! Basically when you run, you move to a beat – you do not need to be listening to music when that happens. The beat is created via your strides, shuffles and breaths you take. So the rhythm grabs you and takes you on a journey that sees you cross the finish line – it’s like a well curated deep house or musical set!

image of dadaman
Image credit: Facebook

You have taken your love for deep house beyond the dance floor, where you have used the music to do many charity-based initiatives such as “The Dadaman Charity Run” and other charity-based events.  What drove you to start such initiatives?
I just hated seeing dire situations where people are let down by their communities, churches and those around them. So I said to myself, let’s do something that’ll positively impact the masses without getting people to leave their ‘comfort zones’.

There are people who walk up to you, give a sad story about why they need cash, you sympathise with them and share the love. Then the next week or later on, the same person gives you the same story again – that’s when you realise you’ve been swindled. So you say no, but deep down you feel bad or a tad bit uncomfortable because the heart strings were pulled!

But there are genuine cases that are a cry for help. So I thought, why don’t we give while we continue doing what we do best which is partying. I mean, we pay an entrance fee nonetheless, so why don’t we continue with that but this time, the proceeds go towards the course that needs attention at that moment. This takes away the uncomfortable situation – I then share the outcome with the masses, so they know they’ve made a difference.

On a much lighter note, will you ever cut off your signature beard that you have now become known for by deep house fans all over?
I would cut it! But it would have to be for a very good course! Plus, unlike most lads out there, I do not struggle to grow a beard – it comes back fast like tequila [laughs]. But on the real, I would but there’ll have to be a legit reason!

What would you say to other fans of deep house music about the importance of constantly supporting DJs and events in building the underground music scene in the country?
People must be different, find their own vibe and passion. They need to continue to support the underground because the people who form it, or the Disc Jockeys (DJs) didn’t conform or give in to what is “trending”. This simply means that they will not jump ship when things are tough, nor will they seek to fit in. One day the people of the underground will come to your aid, when you least expect it! The Faders will leave you hanging when things are bad. The underground always has something different to offer and you may find your inspiration there when you are down and you will fly after that!

Would you ever consider formalizing the important role you play in the scene by becoming an events promoter or artist/music manager one day?
Yeah! I think that is something I will have to venture in on a full-time basis. It is a legitimate job that requires your full attention. Plus, as a creative, I feel that there is a lot that people are missing out on and they have to experience it.

 

image of dadaman
Image credit: Facebook

What can we expect from Dadaman in the near future? Any projects or ventures you want to share?
I am currently doing a lot – such as a charity event for a mate who was shot and his wife killed in a house invasion. I am going to run the Cape Town Marathon for the kids at Thabong Creche in Cape Town, and party, run and cycle to collate food parcel for families so they can have a super festive season. I also have a school uniform drive running at the moment as well. Overall, expect more fun times that will see us make a difference in the lives of many. And yes, my skippa (T-Shirt) will be off!! [laughs].

Follow Dadaman on social media and catch him at a deep house jol or marathon near you.

 

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Featured Music Reviews

Listen to the ‘Shadows’ mix by Soweto native Bambatha Jones

Bambatha Jones is a Soweto born DJ, photographer and creative director who is his blazing his own trail in the South African creative industry. Leveraging his street and online influence, he offers something different to the South African creative landscape; integrating fashion, music and photography. He is also the brains behind Nobody Else, a Johannesburg based creative agency, a venture he founded with his brother, TSA,  who is known in the Joburg streets as a fierce and creative rapper.

He recently dropped a 40 minute mix called Shadows which features some of the freshest local and international electronic beats tunes.

Stream the mix below.

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Featured Interviews Music

Getting To Know DJ Buhle: Thriving In A World of Motherhood & Full-time DJing

We often see female artists in the music scene being associated or stereotyped into the softer, feminine role of being singers in music rather than the hard, masculine technical role behind the machinery of the DJ decks. Nobuhle Nhlapo, popularly known as DJ Buhle, however represents a different kind of woman. She has been DJing for over 13 years now and is one of the most seasoned underground DJs in Johannesburg. Playing in some of South Africa’s’ major events and shows such as Oppikoppi Festival, We House Sunday, VUZU TV’s Hit Refresh and Deep Town Jozi.

DJ Buhle talks to us about being a mother, twin sister and bread winner in her family as a full-time deejay and how perseverance, patience and a positive state of mind has led her to being one of the most booked and sort after deep house deejays in the country.

Let’s put aside the music and DJing for a minute and talk about you. Who is Nobuhle Nhlapo?
Nobuhle is a mommy to a 7-year-old daughter called Matshepo, a twin sister to Nombulelo, older sister to Nonhlanhla, younger sister to Manzo, younger sister to Themba and Bongani and so forth. So, I have 8 siblings, one of whom passed away, so there are 7 of us left (4 girls and 3 boys). However, I don’t stay with all my siblings, it’s just my daughter and I where I live now.

Take us through your daily routines and rituals as a mommy.
So day to day, I wake up and prepare my daughter Matshepo to go to school and make sure she catches her school transport on time. When she’s at school, I’m busy with chores in the house or I’m on my laptop working or I’m recording mixes or else I’m in meetings. When she comes back home from school, its mommy and daughter time; I cook, she eats, takes a bath and goes to sleep, while I carry on doing my own work. So, day to day my weekdays are more or less like this except for Thursday nights where I have to go play at my residency in Rosebank.

We know you as a full time DJ. Tell us how you manage to do that and raise your daughter as most DJs we know often have full time jobs and only deejay on the side?
I used to have a job before where I worked at a bank for 8 years. However, as soon as my daughter Matshepo was born I realized that every weekend through DJing I was earning almost double what I was getting paid in a month at work, so I decided to resign from my 9 to 5 job and started hustling from there and became a full-time DJ.

image of dj buhle
Image supplied.

That’s really amazing and almost the opposite of what most people would do, especially after having a child. What made you have the confidence to make that decision and stick to it, especially since we know DJing as quite an unstable career?
If you know me you know that I am a fighter and I love challenging myself. The day I left my former job they thought I was joking, especially when I handed in my resignation. They tried to convince me to stay because I have a daughter and I told them that my daughter is the reason why I was leaving because I would work the whole day during the week and on weekends I was out DJing and I ended up not having enough time to spend with my child.

So I took it upon myself to leave work and make sure that my child’s upbringing is alright and from a young age she understands that when I’m going to a gig at night, mommy is going to work. I sometimes also go with her to day time gigs so she knows what mommy does and she’s my biggest cheerleader when I’m on the decks playing.

Tell us how you were able to navigate raising a child and the hectic lifestyle of being a DJ which requires constantly going out to parties? Also, how does your daughter feel about your unorthodox career?

I would leave my daughter with my twin, Buli, who obviously looks like me and she felt safe and comfortable enough to stay with her whilst I was away even though she knew that she wasn’t me. She saw her as her other mom and it wasn’t too much of a transition when she was with her rather than me. So my twin sister played a big role in helping me raise my child.

Was money not an issue at the time you quit your job and how did you manage to get around that and still raise your daughter properly without a full time salary?
What happened was I was DJing while I was still at work so when I resigned, they gave me a payout package. So with that package I took the money and paid off my debts and then bought myself a car in order to make sure that I am visible everywhere so that promoters believe that if they book me wherever, I would be able to get there by myself. I made sure that I made things as easily accessible as possible for me as Buhle.

Yes, at times I did have thoughts about my child and what would happen if the money I had saved up ran out but I made sure I equipped myself with everything I needed to push my career on my own e.g. my own house, car etc., and take care of my child’s needs as well. So I managed to get money to do all these things through my deejay bookings, without any other side job.

You seem like a very positive and spiritual inclined person, particularly on your posts on social media. How important is positive energy and God in your life and to where you are now?
Yes, I am a very spiritual person. I believe that if I am not okay spiritually then I won’t know what I’m doing and my existence will seize to exist. Remember, the music industry can break you at times and that’s why I choose to motivate people on social media and rather not talk about the negative side of the industry because I don’t want to see someone else going through that. I was able to handle the negative aspects of the industry but someone else perhaps won’t be able to so that’s why I’m always putting positivity in everything I say or post.

Also, having to channel my mind to constantly be positive also brought many opportunities for me, because as they say what you speak is often what will manifest and happen. I set targets for myself for where I want to be in my career and then work hard behind the scenes to plan and make the right moves for me to get there. And when I achieve those targets, I quickly move on to the next.

So yes, God has been a very important part of my life because I grew up without my mother and my father was not there. My grandfather raised me but it was hard to get the love that I could have possibly gotten from my mom and dad from him as he was mostly there just as a guardian.

image of dj buhle
Image supplied.

On a lighter note, it seems like you spend more time in the Barber Shop and the Nails Boutique than you do in the DJ booth. What inspires your look and fashion sense, and how important is it to the brand of DJ Buhle?
Yes it’s important to me as it goes with my image because as a female your nails need to be clean. There was a point where I never used to do my nails and saw that people who take pictures of me when DJing focus on my hands and I didn’t like how untidy and unprofessional it made me look. Also, at that time a lot of DJsboth male and female, didn’t really give much thought into how they looked, how they portrayed themselves or how people look at them.

So I told myself that whatever that I do regarding my look, which includes how I cut my hair, I need to set some sort of trend with whatever I am doing. At some point I was dying my hair blonde, red, blue or purple and made sure that I’m trend setting. I get very frustrated if my hair is not on point and so I always make sure that I get my hair cut almost every week. So these are the things that I did and didn’t even realize that they were becoming a signature look for me, which were my red lipstick, my fresh haircut and as my glasses (Spex) that I have on all the time.

I’m sure you are tired of being asked the typical questions about how hard it is being a female DJ, however we would still like to know what the challenges you had as a female DJ coming up were and how you overcame them?
Well, apparently when I started people said I was privileged because I worked with house music legends such as DJ Mbuso, DJ Claude, DJ China and they taught me how to play. I was the first lady at Phezulu Records where I had first-hand access to the vinyls that were ordered and when they arrived I would test them out. So people thought I was privileged because of that, meanwhile Mbuso was always on my neck saying that they were not going to give me that benefit just because I’m a girl. They said I must earn my place there, work hard and make sure that even if Phezulu Records closes down I can go to other record stores such as Soul Candi and people still give me respect as a DJ and want to give me the exclusive vinyls and not someone else who is male and push me aside just because I’m female.

Also, at that time females were associated with the Disco-like, flowery sound and there I was playing deep house and deep tech and collecting vinyls of that sound, which a lot of people didn’t understand at that time. At that point I also didn’t have a manager so getting bookings was a challenge. All this happened until I decided to start hosting my own events and I started “Sunday Phola”, which caught a lot of people’s attention and I built a reputation with a lot of DJs, promoters and club owners. From then on things started moving upward for me and my career.

What advice would you give other female DJs who are coming up in the game?
If there’s one thing I know about the music industry is that I am not bigger than it is, and I always treat myself as a newbie, as if I’m someone that’s starting out. Remember that I’ve been playing for a long time but the market I wanted to play for I hadn’t gotten into yet until recently. So, when I eventually got into the market that I wanted to get into in 2013, it still took me another 3 years to start playing at the parties that I wanted. That means I started from scratch after 7 years of being in the industry. I had to look at things in a different light and now that I am in the market that I want I’m still learning a lot of things and making a lot of new contacts. Therefore if there’s one thing I’m not going to do is to disrespect what I’m doing and think I’m bigger than the game.

So, with all these other female DJs emerging, I believe that they must earn their stripes, put in the hard work, and not doubt themselves just because other DJs are getting certain gigs and not them. They must carve their own lane and not be jealous of what other female DJs are doing. Be yourself, don’t try to be or mimic someone else, be consistent, patient and persevere. I had to believe that my time will also come and that is the mentality that I used to get where I am, and I advise them to do the same.

What can we expect from DJ Buhle in the near future? Any projects or ventures you want to share?
Getting into production is the next logical step for me. I have an EP that I am working on coming out soon so that’s what I am going to be focusing on. I might be taking a break on hosting events as I feel that I have done enough in that space and I’m looking forward to the challenge of breaking into the production side of things and fighting for my place there.

I will also be featuring on one of the biggest DJ online streaming platforms in the world, Mixmag, where I will be headlining alongside Da Capo and Seth Troxler. I am so overwhelmed and nervous about it but I have a whole lot of good emotions as well that are telling me that Buhle, the world is watching you now and after all the years of hard work that you’ve put in, it is now your time.

the lab johannesburg by mixmag x budx
DJ Buhle is performing at the first Mixmag X BUDX event, The Lab Johannesburg, on the 15th of May. Find out more about the event here.
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Featured Music

Irv Blames Jake Brings Back His ‘THIS IS SEX’ With The Release of The 12th Episode

Soweto born and bred multi-disciplined creative, Irv Blames Jake, is respected in the Johannesburg creative community for his unique approach to photography, videography and DJing. Using tools that are at his disposal, such as his smartphone and laptop, he produces work that wows people and garners him respect in the South African creative community and features on international platforms such as Afronection.

As a DJ, his focus is far more than simple DJ mixes that go on to live on streaming platforms such SoundCloud and Mixcloud; his approach is much more layered. Every mix he releases is accompanied by a strong visual campaign which either, better explains the mix or is a conversation starter which leaves a lot of the interpretation work to the consumer. This approach allows the Irv Blames Jake brand to connect with people in multiple ways which ends up leaving strong impressions on people.

One of the mix series that has brought him a lot of praise is called THIS IS SEX. THIS IS SEX is an audio-visual display of Irv Blames Jake’s view of intimacy, life and creativity. Now in its second season, the mix series series still continues on its set trajectory of assisting people make sense of how intimacy often informs creativity and forms the basis of the creation of life.

irv blames jake presents this is sex xi
Image supplied.

Stream THIS IS SEX II on SoundCloud below.

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Featured Music Reviews

The Ambience EP: MorseKode & Loux Artiste explain life using Hip Hop as a medium

Soweto based producer, MorseKode, and rapper, Loux Artiste, released the Ambience EP in February – a five track project which carries a strong early 2000s J-sec era influenced in production and in raps. Under the supervision of Soweto’s very own, Speeka Thapelo, MorseKode and Loux Artiste crafted a truly unique body of work which perfectly unpacks youthful, black and township life through the eyes of a millennial South African.

The self-proclaimed god-tier MC, Loux Artiste, uses his pen as a weapon to strongly assert himself in the ranks of the best rappers in Southern Africa. He plays with the English language; detailing the happenings of his life, his experiences and things that are directly linked to his being – rap, fatherhood and his immediate surroundings. He floats on MorseKode’s production, weaving words together to craft stories which give the listener the opportunity to see life through his eyes. Welcome To The Blues Room is the EP’s introduction, it sets the tone of the project with its laid-back, mellow and jazzy feel – the song’s title speaks of its purpose as an introduction to a world the two artists have created.

Vapors follows as the second track and it introduces a new energy to the project; bringing a more hardcore, rap-heavy and competitive spirit to the fore. On this joint, Loux Artiste is encouraged by MorseKode’s production to not hold back with his raps and showcase his top-tier skills, flexing his knack for playing with words and figures of speech. The third track is titled Eleanor, where Loux Artiste introduces themes of self-reflection, fatherhood, love and modern manhood. On Eleanor, he touches on his love life as he raps candidly about his significant other, the role that she plays and the ups and downs of their relationship. He follows Eleanor up with Offspring Pt. 1 featuring Vic, where he zones in on his relationship with his son.

image of morsekode, speeka thapelo & loux artiste
Image credit: Facebook. Soweto’s new Hip Hop fraternity.

The last song on the project is named after the producer, MorseKode, and on this track Loux Artiste flexes his god-tier status as he raps his heart out and closes the project. In the current hip hop climate in South Africa, The Ambience EP, comes as a breath-of-fresh-air and makes us appreciate great lyrics over great beats.

You can download the The Ambience EP here and here.

Stream The Ambience EP on YouTube below.

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Featured Music Reviews

iPiano la se Msotra: DJ Jaivane is soundtracking the lives of township youth with his unique Amapiano sound

Mr. Simnandi is what they call him in Gauteng’s amapiano scene, a dangerously talented spinner and purveyor of authentic township culture. Hailing from Soweto, DJ Jaivane, as young as he is, is a pioneer of amapiano music with a name that garners respect when mentioned. A culture shaper of note, he is behind the virality of the amapiano music in many townships in Gauteng.

When dealing with anything authentic and original in the culture and art spaces, you are gifted custodianship and a platform to disrupt, establish a new narrative and break boundaries, and that is exactly what DJ Jaivane does. From Soweto to Gomorra to Tembisa to even eVutha, they know his name after having laid a solid foundation as the go-to guy for breaking amapiano records. As much as his offline presence is strong and healthy, he is also quite an influential force online with over 30 thousand followers on Facebook, just over four thousand followers on Instagram and about three thousand fans on Twitter.

On Youtube, his fans upload his mixes and they receive thousands of plays and that goes to show how much of an expert and connoisseur he is. He soundtracks the lives of township youth with his talent and there is no doubt that he will continue gaining traction, shifting culture and pushing authenticity in Mzansi.

Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Culture Featured Music

Irv Blames Jake launches Tree 63, a new radio show focused on delivering audio illusions

Soweto-based videographer and DJ, Irv Blames Jake, has launched a new online radio show called Tree 63 – Audio Illusions. The show is designed to communicate Irv’s unique taste in music, how he sees music and how he interprets music. The radio show is designed to be an experience and the guests on the show are to be selected to strengthen the concept of the show. Educating people about music that they typically wouldn’t hear on traditional media platforms sits at the core of the main idea behind Tree 63.

Image credit: Irv Blames Jake

The online radio show is set to have monthly episodes which feature a guest or guest mix from a creative that has a unique sound.

Listen to the first show below. It features Joburg-based spinner, Al Da 3rd.

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Featured Music Reviews

Listen to Fka Mash’s incredible Stay True Sounds released ‘Siyobloma EP’ featuring Tahir Jones

Stay True Sounds is without a doubt the home of independent music in South Africa. The label which is owned and operated by the legendary Kid Fonque is fast-becoming the go-to hub for progressive South African music. The label does not move and function like a traditional record label, it assumes a more A&R and artist development approach which often equips artists involved with the label the necessary tools and skills to build careers in the music industry.

The label is geared up to end the first quarter of 2018 with a bang with a couple of releases set to release in June. The first release of the new month is by one of Soweto’s most talented producers – Fka Mash. The release is called Siyobloma EP and it features the talented Tahir Jones. The three-track EP is an experience and is crafted essentially for people that love dance music. All three songs are absolute banger, but the stand out track from this EP is Siyobloma featuring Tahir Jones.

Stream the EP below.

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Featured Music Reviews

WATCH: Soweto-born rapper, Bongeezy, highlights his expressive & creative nature with his ‘Kumanzi Phansi’ video

Colourful in presentation, cutting edge in its conceptualisation and execution, Bongeezy’s Kumanzi Phansi video is one of the best visuals we’ve seen in South Africa. The song carries the core elements of traditional rap: the bars, the attitude and the charisma. Bongeezy does not shy away from the fact that Hip Hop is competitive and as a result he positions himself as a purveyor of originality.

With the video, Bongeezy gets to showcase his vision of breaking away from the template-oriented and generic culture that currently exist in most pop culture spaces – where artists see no wrong on in imitating the next man or woman. T-mani, the artist is featured on the song, brings confident and braggadocious energy which sets the tone for the following statement: we see what you are doing, we acknowledge it but we won’t conform.

Watch the video below:

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Featured Music Reviews

First Listen Review: Neo Beats paints a picture of his life & Soweto with his new 13 track offering

Johannesburg based rapper, Neo Beats, recently dropped ‘The South West Story‘ – a thirteen track authentically South African Hip Hop album. The project boasts features from well respected MCs in South Africa such as Neon (from the Federation), Shynin Armour, Froz and Reason. With many of rappers hailing from Soweto, there is no doubt that the project carries celebrates Soweto – where Neo Beats is from. Each song paints a picture of his life, Soweto and its people, and the various factors that impact the lives of black youth in South Africa. As much as the theme of the project may be centered around Soweto, the project is structured in a way that would allow any music lover or rap fan to relate and empathise.

The project has celebratory songs and hardcore bar-filled rap songs which stay true to the traditional standards of Hip Hop. The soundscape of the project is balanced, with songs that have a nostalgic feel and songs that sound more modern. The South West Story is a dope effort from Neo Beats which has a lot of replay value.

Stand out tracks: Party People, Eleven Over Ten & The Awakening.

Stream the project on Spotify here: