“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..
“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.
“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
“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.
“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
“These Walls” (Moss Kena Rework) – Kendrick Lamar
I’ve always considered Kendrick Lamar‘s music remix-proof and no attempt to re-imagine his music has caught my attention.. until now! Moss Kena’s rework of “These Walls” from To Pimp A Butterfly is nothing short of amazing. It’s funky & up-beat but keeps the soulful feel of the original song. What’s really cool is that this rework looks like a debut offering from Moss Kena, meaning there must be more where this came from! Although he is relatively unknown, Beats 1’s Zane Lowe has already played this re-work on his show and the internet is buzzing off it. Been a while since I’ve unearthed a completely new artist making music like this, but if this rework is anything to go by we can all be excited. I’ll be looking out for this guy. Stream above.
“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!
Follow on Twitter:
Tehn Diamond | @TehnDiamond
“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..