Featured Music Reviews

The electronic pulse of the Swazi monarchy: The unavoidable efforts of independent label – Motherland X

The African drum is one of the most identifiable instruments in music. Loud, hard, energy-filled and powerful – the African drum is a physical representation, or rather a personification of the jolly spirit that African people have. The sound that emanates from the African drum is electric, swollen with character and personality, and carries an unmatched resonance that communicates the essence of being African.

In the postmodern times that we live in, culture and identity are malleable. The concept of being African is consistently stretched and tested, which goes to show that the generation that fearlessly holds the beacon of light for the betterment of humanity is more experimental than we could ever imagine. Ideas are not just ideas, they form part of the crucial fabric of the identities of young people, particularly those in the creative space. With bravery that is only exhibited by fictional superheroes, the creative youth are tackling the entertainment industry in hopes to usher in innovation. The youthful team behind small label, Motherland X, is a great example of bravery and tenacity, two traits that are crucial for success in the era we live in.

Coming from a small country where a monarchy still exists is probably the first obstacle that Motherland X will has to overcome. The mission is to not to be limited by the confines of their country, but to build a machine that will have a global appeal and reach. The label has already started covering ground and expanding in the South African music market, as Rendition & Ohpis are at the Red Bull Studios in Cape Town. A great move that sets the label up for greater things, access to a wider network and resources.

Moves like getting to record at Red Bull Studios, do not come at come through as a result of sublime luck – they are the result of consistently releasing music. The remix challenges that the label has been facilitating have been a strong entrance and introduction into the game. In this case, the numbers do not matter – only the music matters. Connecting Southern Africa is a mammoth task, but someone has to do it.

The energy in the label is high and the motivation is overflowing. This is seen in their latest remix pack, where they called on the production services of artists like Slotta, Devin Dee, KaeB, Code XVII and MLX co-founders, Vuma and Rendition. This time around they have remixed a song called 7 blunts by Botswana based rapper Veezo featuring WNDR. Stylistically, each remix is distinct and cannot be compared or linked to the original joint. Veezo and WNDR have an incredible way of handling language, their lyrics are filled with slang words that could be understood by anyone who is part of urban culture anywhere in the world. The flow and content create a world which the listener can live in and the different producers were able to build their ideas around the world that the two rappers created.

Image via Veezo

The latest remix pack should not be seen as just another remix EP, more is at play in this case. Three Southern African are connected and united in this endeavor, namely Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana. An international project that is shifting how artists, many of which started in the comfort of their bedrooms, collaborate. We have note one thing though, many of the artists that have gone through the Red Bull program have gone on to become very successful, think of Black Coffee, Julian Gomes and Youngsta just to name a few. The future holds incredible achievements for the small label that was founded in Swaziland – a label that is growing beautifully in the international market.

Listen to the remixes below: