Hymphatic Thabs: Hip-Hop, Johannesburg, South Africa
Originally from 2007 and hasn’t lost any of its spookiness. “All tracks written and performed by Hymphatic Thabs, except for individual features. All tracks produced, recorded and mixed by Kanif except trk 5, prod by Kanif and Bravestarr, and trk 7, prod by Kanif and Alka. Kuts by DJ Raiko. Mastered by Gavan Eckart.” Bandcamp. –HN
golden dwarves: Electronic, Cape Town, South Africa
Like the glitchy soundtrack to your video game dreams. Cinematic when it hits you and least expect it. “Gary Reuben Morris makes music under various names as well as his own and lives in Cape Town.” Bandcamp. SoundCloud. –HN
Kalahari Surfers: dub rhythms meets South African punk commentary
Kalahari Surfers have been making political and satire music in South Africa since the ’80s, with composer and producer Warrick Sony leading the group for all this time. The grooves on all the tracks sneak up on you, using well-placed repetition and sound recordings. The mixture of dub rhythms and punk commentary makes this an excellent DIY South African group.
“This was commissioned by Microdot Records for their Africa in Trance series – After working on the documentary ” Ochre and Water ” director Craig Matthew gave me permission to use some of the sound recorded during that period. These were chants of the Himba people of Northern Namibia. For further information see the impressive DOXA website: www.doxa.co.za”
Tumi Molekane (now known as Stogie T.) released “Too Long” back in January, and in the following months, one of South Africa’s most popular rappers released his self-titled debut album under his new name. Tumi is a gem and an exception in rap; he’s an acclaimed and popular rapper who’s maintained a strong 10+ year long career, which is praiseworthy for any rapper in the world. If you like what you hear, check out his work with Tumi and the Volume.
It’s October, so let’s listen to Raheem Kemet‘s new song called “September.” Kemet is an MC from Durban, a coastal South African city with a thriving hip-hop scene. Kemet’s past works include a jazzy hip-hop retelling of Markus Zusak’s literary masterpiece The Book Thief with his group Tree Houses on the Sea and last year’s The Wind collaboration with Durban producer Myndphlo. Let’s hope “September,” with its excellent bass groove, means that a new album coming out soon.
Lutendo Muthala, aka King Lutendo, is a rapper, producer, illustrator, and designer from Venda, a former republic and Bantustan and now a province located in northern South Africa. His latest release, Electric Jungle, is 10 tracks of driving rap, with a sort of production that refuses to be simple. The results are compelling, Muthala is an artist I’m excited to now follow.
“I approach the way I make music the exact same way I paint,” Lutendo tells The African Hip Hop Blog, “I like for the overall sound (and not just the lyrics) to be as expressive as possible, almost like the music version of Basquiat. If I had to put it into a word I would describe the sound as cinematic. I like to imagine I’m creating art film soundtracks when I make music, with the story already told in the lyrics.”
TCIYF is a thrash punk band from Soweto, a Johannesburg township and the largest township in South Africa that, until recently, wasn’t known for producing any punk scene worth talking about.
The name TCIYF is an acronym for “The Cum in Your Face,” so you should know what you’re getting yourself into. Fans of Bad Brains and The Circle Jerks will love that most of their songs are under a minute long and that the guitars and vocals are distorted so heavily that they almost bleed into the mix. And to drive home the Ramones influence, each musician shares a fake last name: Pule Cum (vocals), Thula Cum (guitar), Toxic Cum (bass), Jazz Cum (drums), and Sthe Cum (“metal vocals”). The music is blatantly and aggressively sexual and doesn’t go anywhere near politics. Yet at the same time, it feels that the band, regardless of its youth, is aware of the politics of being a rising punk band in a South African township; the band may only care about sex and skating, but they know what they’re doing is special.
Thula Cum described Johannesburg’s punk scene to Okayafrica: “There’s a whole lot of good bands that are kicking ass, like The Moths and Hellcats. Jozi has a lot of good hardcore bands that are straight up not messing around. Chances of you coming across an acoustic guitar from a Jozi band are very small. We don’t wear sandals. We wear sneakers. And we skate, and punch each other in the face…We’re not trying to change the world. But it is going to change. It’s changing slowly, anyway. But we’re not trying to do that.”
The band’s latest release, the 3-track The Cum EP, is out now via SoundCloud.