“Way It Go” (ft. Tumi, Youngsta & Nasty C) – DJ Switch
“Way It Go” dropped about 5 months ago now, blew up but eventually the buzz died down as is the norm these days with urban music. At the time, Nasty C was really beginning to blow after his “Juice Back” single and was proving to be one of the best new artists to watch out for in 2016. Tumi, being the legendary MC and rap extraordinaire that he is, was of course expected to deliver accordingly, and Youngsta was arguably the relatively unknown rapper to complete the team. My expectations were that Tumi would take the best verse, being the most experienced and technically a better rapper, followed by Nasty C with all the hype around him at the time. But after listening to the joint, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Youngsta comfortably taking the best verse on the song!
What really stood out for me was how Youngsta authentically delivered his verse in the most Cape-coloured way, whilst staying relevant to the vibe. It goes without saying that both Tumi & Nasty C held their own on the track, but someone was always going to take the best verse naturally. With Cape Town artists having always struggled to break through into the mainstream market, unlike their Joburg counterparts, Youngsta represents a real ray of hope for change in that regard. It remains to be seen how the rest of the country reacts to more of his music, but if “Way It Go” is anything to go by, I’m backing him for the win! Shout out to DJ Switch for being bold enough to feature a Cape Town artist alongside the heavyweights, and in that way sparking the debate. Feel free to share your thoughts!
“Higher” (ft. Lakota Silva) – Ameen Harron
This is a young throwback to one of the dopest singles to drop in 2015 from super producer Ameen Harron alongside the talented Lakota Silva. I was fortunate enough to get introduced to Ameen sometime last year and got to witness first hand the creative genius at work in his home studio. From that experience all I could tell was that the dude eats, lives and breathes music! To back that up, Ameen has a solid track record having worked with some of the biggest names in the SA music industry including Jimmy Nevis, Locnville, AKA and Danny K just to name a few. The visuals for “Higher” were released in August last year and did some rounds but I felt not nearly enough to justify the quality of the track. So checkout the video and feel free to drop a comment with your thoughts..
“Million” – Adiona Chidzonga & Reverb7
It had been quite a while since I’d heard a Reverb7 single but it proved well worth the wait after hearing “Million” with Adiona Chidzonga. This was my first time hearing Adiona Chidzonga, but I thought she added a mature touch to the song with her voice. Reverb7’s beat is like a mix between David Guetta and Culoe De Song’s production styles, which somehow works really well in Million. My one regret was that it was rather short for a house song, but then again this is the radio mix after all! I’m really looking forward to hearing more of Adiona’s music and will be keeping an ear out for more Reverb7 stuff.
You can stream Million via Soundcloud above.
“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
“Nirvana (Take Me To)” – Sir Vincent & Lauren
Anyone who has heard me speak about deep house will tell you that I am probably one of the biggest critics of the sub-genre of house music. It’s not as if I hate house music or anything, quite the opposite. When I first learnt how to professionally DJ, I did it with house music and I even sometimes produce it myself when the inspiration hits! I just prefer certain types of house music, much like anyone else really. So when I came across Sir Vincent & Lauren’s “Nirvana” I really had to re-evaluate my stance on deep.
I’ve always thought deep sounds overly repetitive and intentionally uninspiring, which is quite a harsh remark of a genre so vast. But that’s the kind of deep house I had encountered until I came across Nirvana of course. Nirvana is melodic, warm and carries a nostalgic summer feeling, the kind that reminds me of an epic sunset beach party. In their own words, Nirvana is “a melodic deep house tune with a great summer feel that speaks of going to Nirvana, a happy place full or endless possibilities.” They really captured the emotion and feeling on this one, and I am quite surprised this track isn’t more popular. Stream Nirvana above.
“Zvakanaka” ft. XQ & Ba Shupi – Simba Tagz
When it comes to the Zimbabwean urban scene, there’s no denying that Simba Tagz, real name Simbarashe Tagwireyi is one of the leaders in the game. If he didn’t produce it, he likely mastered it, wrote it or sings on it! Tagz has the midas touch at the moment, and looks set to continue the winning run with his new single titled “Zvakanaka” with XQ & Ba Shupi.
A personal highlight on this track is undoubtedly the XQ feature! Dude is one of the pioneering Zim urban grooves (urban music) artists from the early 00’s, so naturally a verse from him ranks quite highly in my books. “Zvakanaka” sounds like a dance-hall/afro-pop fusion that would’ve benefited greatly from a feature from an artist like Nigeria’s Patoranking. I still predict this single to do some serious rounds on radio though! Stream above.
“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.
“Basspiration” (DJ Mix) – DJ Doowap
DJ Doowap is the unofficial fifth member of the legendary kwaito music group Boom Shaka, at least that’s what I thought when I first came across her social media pages and music. She often rocks those multi-colored braids and has a 90’s fashion style, and she tops that off by being one heck of a creative DJ! DJ Doowap is best known for being the face of Dubstep on YFM but I became a fan off of her Soundcloud page alone. Often sharing lots of cool bass music, she also drops a mix or two for the fans periodically, which brings us to the purpose of this post.
Her latest mix is titled “Basspiration” and in my opinion really showcases the wide range of her taste in music in general! She dabbles and mixes in so many different genres & future beats in just under an hour and has packed some serious tunes in there to kick-start any party. Check the mix out via her Soundcloud, and do keep an eye out for her.
Follow her via Twitter: @DJ_Doowap
“One Time” – AKA
Famous South African rapper AKA known for hits like “Congratulate” and “All Eyes On Me” is back with a brand new single titled “One Time”. The song was debuted during a live performance on SABC 1’s Live Amp music show earlier in March and set social media alight with comments & reactions. “One Time” is warm, celebratory and was (according to him) inspired by Kanye West’s “Highlights” sparking a nostalgic feel. It’s the kind of song you’d expect to hear from the late-great Brenda Fassie if anything, which makes this a standout for an African rap artist like AKA.
True to form, AKA didn’t disappoint with the live performance, bringing out his full band and dropping a few interesting quotables like “what I gotta do for a queen like Sophie Ndaba”. Sophie Ndaba, for those who don’t know, is a famous South African actress known for acting in popular TV soap Generations for 20 years (With rap you never know how serious of a line that is). But quotables aside, I predict this to be another hit single for AKA and I hope this means there’s a new album on the way..
Checkout the live performance of “One Time” above.
Update: AKA has officially released “One Time” on iTunes! Go cop that NOW!
“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