“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!
“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.
“Do The Most” – Tshego
Cassper Nyovest‘s label, Family Tree added a few new young artists to the roster last year and Tshego has turned out to be one of the most promising talents signed since. The first time I heard him was on Cassper’s Tsholofelo album and he immediately made a good first impression after his feature on “Cold Hearted”. Truth be told though, I haven’t followed him much since but most of the buzz in the streets has been over his features.
He recently dropped a single titled “Tell em Say” featuring Nasty C, Cassper Nyovest & Gemini Major and that’s been doing the rounds on urban radio & in the scene. “Do the most” is the follow-up freestyle to the single and looks set to be a street anthem! The future looks pretty bright for Tshego but only time will tell us how far he can go. Watch the video for “Do the most” freestyle directed by @OwenBands
“All My Friends” ft. Tinashe & Chance The Rapper – Snakehips
London production-duo Snakehips recently made their first ever Coachella festival appearance which coincided with their “All My Friends” EP release. Pretty big deal for them no doubt, but the EP itself also lived up to expectations. Of the four tracks they featured on the EP, “All My Friends” was naturally the lead single and was released late October last year. As seems to be the norm these days, I got on to this song relatively late but then again, there’s just so much music being released nowadays, who can keep up anyway?
Surprisingly, they managed to get both Chance the Rapper & Tinashe on the track for a pretty perfect sounding collaboration. According to Teen Vogue, they had to send the track back and forth just because they were so busy and everyone was in different parts of the world. Hardly sounds like it, but it is 2016 after all! “All My Friends” is all about a night out with friends going wrong which I for one can relate to. Let’s just say sometimes things unnecessarily go way overboard when people go out clubbing with their friends! The beat is infectious and the hook is super catchy too. Check out the Director’s cut for “All My Friends” above.
“My Year” ft. Aewon Wolf – Big Star Johnson
Ever since winning SA’s popular reality hip-hop show “The Hustle”, Big Star Johnson has become one of the exciting new artists to watch in the game. Granted, winning the competition came with a record deal and a boat load of cash which helps to put an artist out there, but the talent is evident. I watched a couple of episodes of The Hustle and I can say dude was always one step ahead of the competition from the very beginning. Winning these ‘reality’ shows doesn’t always translate to success in the actual music industry however, and this is where Big Star Johnson still has to prove himself. The first big single he has released since winning is titled “My Year” and features another exciting new artist Aewon Wolf, alongside the nifty Sketchy Bongo on production. “My Year” doesn’t sound like most of the hip-hop songs that are out there right now which is refreshing, and it marks a promising start to what could be a big year for the guy. I’ll be keeping an eye on this dude this year..
For the Production Heads: “My Year” was produced by Sketchy Bongo
“Knickers” – Jidenna
Every now and again we get new artists who break into the scene with a chart-topping hit song and the whole star image but fail to stand the test of time. Artists like MIMS, Cassidy, Jibbs and most recently O.T Genasis come to mind when it comes to hip-hop. I have to be honest, I had my doubts about Jidenna (and the jury is still out) on how long he could keep up the ‘classic man’ buzz. He is by no means safe from the ‘one-hit-wonder’ label after all, but after hearing his follow-up single titled “Knickers” around Christmas late last year, I was and still am optimistic about his chances.
The visual treatment for “knickers” has helped the single to gain momentum in 2016 as Jidenna takes us back to the 20’s and performs backed by a live jazz band & dancers. If his debut album sounds anything like the two singles out, Jidenna might just be around much longer than many may expect. I for one am backing him to prove any doubters wrong! Only time will tell I guess..