“Zino Irema (Ndirikukuwonai Zvangu)” – Takura
Takura is relatively unknown to most but the more prominent afro-pop duo Soul Afrika is how he officially broke into the urban scene in Zimbabwe. The award-winning duo are known for their hit singles “Newe” (ft. Tehn Diamond) & “Zvinhu” but seem to have temporarily split to work on solo projects. Takura hasn’t wasted any time having already released 2 strong singles this year titled “Zino Irema” and “MaObama”, which showcase his versatility and rapping prowess.
“MaObama (Zvakanaka Tozvidawo)” – Takura
Interestingly, both singles feature the popular trap production that has been dominating mainstream urban hip-hop for a while now. Up until now, only South African artists seemed to have mastered the sound to duplicate it to perfection, but these two new singles change my perception in that regard. Not only did Takura deliver on the song itself but the videos, production & song-writing was well executed to international standards. I think he has a winning formula here!
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
For the production heads: “Zino Irema” and “MaObama” was produced by C.O.G
“Lead The Way” – Tehn Diamond
I remember tweeting Tehn a while back asking about a follow up to his 2011 classic collaborative effort with Simba Tagz titled L.I.E (Love Is Evol). Apart from the fact that the project was well executed and jam-packed with nostalgic ballads, I really wanted to hear more of Tehn singing. Forgive me for going ahead and saying it, but Tehn proved on that project that he was a far more superior singer than he is a rapper! Now that’s one heck of a bold statement to make considering that Tehn also happens to be one of the nicest MC’s on the mic, period, but his latest single “Lead The Way” justifies my point. In a world where the likes of Drake are now largely being accepted as ‘singing rappers’, I think Tehn has found a lane that works for him and complements his full skill set. “Lead the Way” is a return to a 90’s house party vibe according to Tehn (see tweet below) and no doubt felt that way with Yagi Dojo re-creating the sound to perfection.
I think I’ve said too much already, but have a listen and let me know what you think!
“One Time” (The Pro-G Remix)
It goes without saying that AKA is one of the best, if not the best, urban hip-hop act out of the continent right about now. AKA is in the news for all sorts of reasons at the moment but the good news is that the music hasn’t been compromised one bit! This year he has featured on quite a number of international collaborations and has dropped a few new singles of his own that include the most recent single “Dreamwork” with Yanga and “One Time” which I featured on the blog earlier in the year.
The single has become very popular since it’s release, partly thanks to the “Blesser” & “Gold-digger” references in the song which have been dominating social media chatter for a while now. But that wasn’t my inspiration for making a remix to his hit single though.. The original brought back an amazing nostalgic feeling and I was so inspired after hearing it that I decided to make my own version of it! I made this one about a month back and figured the time was right to release it to the people. Big S/O to AKA for inspiring this one and consistently giving us great music!
Have a listen and let me know how you feel..
“Lite Spots” – Kaytranada
I first came across Kaytranada’s music on Soundcloud whilst gem-searching some years back. I instantly got hooked to his nostalgic instrumental hip-hop sound as any fanatic of the genre in the 90’s likely would. I soon found out that Kaytranada was pretty much a relatively unknown producer which was crazy to me at the time, but then again Soundcloud is filled with such undiscovered talents. It wasn’t too long after that though, that Kaytranada started getting recognized thanks to his remixes of popular classics like Janet Jackson’s “If” and Missy Elliot’s “Sock It To Me”. His Soundcloud page has been stacking up the remixes ever since.
Fast forward to 2016 and finally Kaytranada has dropped his debut album titled 99.9% and it’s everything one could expect and more! Mostly instrumental, he hardly makes you notice with cleverly placed vocals and a consistent flow that gets you lost in the music. A popular stand-out off his album has been “Got It Good” featuring Craig David but the whole project is really impressive, especially from a producer. Watch the first video off the album for one of the tracks titled “Lite Spots” and check out Kaytranada showing off his dancing moves alongside a robot!
It’s been about 6 months since I released my last remix of Kapital K‘s “Dough” so I decided to go back into the lab and finally got something new for the Soundcloud fam!
Emtee has been one of the new comers to watch in the SA Hip Hop scene and deservedly won a couple of Metro FM Awards earlier this year for his efforts. One of the awards he won was for the official remix of his smash hit “Roll Up” featuring AKA & Wizkid which did some serious damage on the airwaves last year. I managed to hustle the acapella and gave Roll Up a re-up of my own which you can stream now via Soundcloud! The good news is there’s plenty where this came from and I plan to release more frequently for the second half of 2016, so do keep an eye out.
Stream, share & feel free to let me know what you think..
“Can’t Stop The Feeling” – Justin Timberlake
Now if you’ve been waiting for the next Can’t Feel My Face, I can bet my last dollar JT has dropped just that with his new single. Released as a song off the Trolls movie soundtrack last week, “Can’t stop the feeling” already looks like the next big pop song out of the U.S and definitely has everyone buzzing!
This time JT got Max Martin to co-write & produce the song which kind of comes as no surprise to me given his amazing track record. For those who may not know, Max Martin has been behind pop gems like Ariana Grande’s ‘Problem’, Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’, Adele’s latest single ‘Send My Love (To Your New Love)’ and of course The Weeknd‘s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’. As expected, Can’t stop the feeling is a groovy, bass-line driven up-tempo track and really embraces the phrase “feel-good-music”. It’s a song made to make the people dance and let’s just say I tried.. but I couldn’t resist!
Watch the first listen video featuring Justin with the cast from the Trolls movie and let me know what you think!
“International” ft. (2baba, Buffalo Souljah & Gemini Major) – Deejay Waxxy
If for some reason you weren’t THAT into urban dancehall music in Africa around 2008/9, you would’ve likely never heard of DJ Waxxy. But for those of us who do know him, there’s no denying that DJ Waxxy was one of the biggest DJs on the continent at the time. I myself hadn’t even imagined that I could ever DJ, but I drew inspiration from watching him do his thing on Channel O’s “The 411” show. Waxxy commanded a huge following, toured all over the continent and even appeared on the popular Big Brother Africa show.
Word is, things went south when he got let go by Channel O and had a fall out with his signee Buffalo Souljah. Apparently the two had beef for five years but long story short, they finally squashed it earlier this year and now have a single together. “International” also features Gemini Major, an exciting young Family Tree artist, as well as the legendary 2 Face Idibia (now just known as 2baba). For a dancehall track it sounds pretty stripped down but they pull it off, much like Rihanna’s “Work”, which they also reference in the song. There’s not much to say at the moment with regards to the longevity of Waxxy’s return but International is a pretty great start for a DJ who’s been missing for so long!
Watch the video for the collaboration above & let me know your thoughts.
“Let You Know” – Sketchy Bongo & Shekhinah
Sketchy Bongo is the super producer behind some of the biggest hits of the summer and looks set to take the whole world by storm after signing with major labels, Ultra-Music & Sony this year. Sketchy has produced anthems that include A week ago by Aewon Wolf & Tribal; Back to the beach by Kyle Deutsch & Shekhinah, as well as his own single titled Let You Know, which has been very popular on the radio.
The international deal means that Sketchy Bongo’s music will be distributed all over the world which is a pretty big deal for a producer turned artist from SA. Sketchy was also quoted by the SABC saying, “I’m just happy to be getting South African music out there to the world.” He has since hinted (via SlikourOnLife) that he might even be releasing a single with Zayn Malik ex-member of One Direction! I’ll be looking out for more of his music under the new labels and hope the deal actually pays off..
Watch the video for his single Let You Know featuring Shekinah above.
“Kuze Kuse” ft. Emtee – Fifi Cooper
I first came across Fifi Cooper’s music late last year as she was being dubbed the “First Lady of Motswako” and potentially the queen of SA hip-hop by fans, artists & industry experts alike. The first song I heard from her was Monate-C which according to Fifi’s interview with The Sowetan was a message to the hater’s telling them to stop hating and watch the space. She described the song as fun in that interview, but it was more of a hardcore introduction to the rapper which was probably the point. When AKA did an all-female remix for his 2015 hit single “Baddest”, Fifi’s verse was also a clear standout, and she capped a very successful year off by releasing her debut album titled “20Fifi”.
2016 has proved to be an even better year with Fifi taking home 3 Metro FM Awards for her efforts and arguably dropping her biggest single to date titled “Kuze Kuse”. The single features another exciting new Mzansi rapper Emtee, and has been doing the rounds on radio & tv. Fifi surprisingly sings really well for an artist largely considered to be a rapper (think Drake..) which gives her a competitive advantage over the competition. But don’t get it twisted, when it comes to bars she also brings the heat which makes her the total package! The future looks pretty set for Fifi and at this rate it doesn’t seem so ridiculous to back her to hold the Queen of SA Hip-Hop title in the near future..
Watch the “Kuze Kuse” video above and let me know what you think.
“Kontrolla” (Remix) – Kapital K
The homie Kapital K has been relatively quiet on the music side since the Diddy standing ovation last year, but he has slowly started dropping some new music to keep us guessing in 16′.
Earlier in the year Kap dropped “Diaspora” which was the first track from him since the RMC conference. Diaspora was the first time I’d ever heard Kapital K rap in Shona (one of Zimbabwe’s official languages) and it seemed to mark the beginning of a different direction for him as an artist. Of course at the time, everyone wanted to know if he’d been signed and what Diddy said after his stunt, but there hadn’t been any official word on that. However, Kap recently came out to clear the air with a statement:
“Now, I had my whole Diddy stunt last year and yes great things came out of that which I will disclose in due time but don’t be naive to assume just because I did that I got a deal and now I’m on! Not yet. Who said I wanted to be signed to Badboy anyway?”
See full post on Kapital K’s Facebook page
This was followed with the release of “Kontrola”, a remix of Drake & Popcaan’s hit single. Although his remix is relatively short, it has been very well received and showcased his versatility as an artist. There seems to be a conscious effort to move beyond rap and evolve as an artist which I think is a positive move for him.
It’ll be interesting to see where Kapital K goes from here but for now stream “Kontrolla” via Soundcloud above and tell me what you think.