“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
“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..
“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.
“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!
“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.
“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!
“Give Thanks” – Tehn Diamond ft. Simba Tagz
It had been a while since I’d heard something from Tehn Diamond but 2016 seems to officially be the roll-out year for his new music. Tehn recently dropped a new single titled “Give Thanks” featuring Simba Tagz which carrries an Alternative Afro-Pop feel and interestingly sounds stripped all the way down. Interesting because all the afro-pop songs I know take absolutely everything but the kitchen sink, often sounding overdone. The producer (likely Tagz), however took the simple route on “Give Thanks” and the result is quite good considering simple is difficult, especially with Afro-pop. It’s not the big hit single getting massive airplay but it certainly adds to a great catalogue. Overall, “Give Thanks” is a great feel good, sing-along track with a positive message to keep us all hustling out there but staying grateful. It’s definitely worth checking out!
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Tehn Diamond | @TehnDiamond