Spoek Mathambo and filmmaker Lebogang Rasethaba‘s Future Sound of Mzansi has the potential to go down as South Africa’s definitive electronic music documentary. With the film set to make its world premier this week at the Durban International Film Festival (and with Johannesburg and Cape Town screenings to follow in August), Spoek promised to roll out a series of Mzansi mixtapes dedicated to artists and genres featured in the doc. So far he’s delivered with tapes devoted to DJ Spoko, Okmalumkoolkat, KZN’s mysterious Qgom sub-genre, and Herbal 3 Records founder Aero Manyelo. This week Spoek turns the wheel over to Maramza, aka the latest carnation of Cape Town-based producer Richard Rumney.
We first caught on to Rumney’s beatmaking persona back in January through his dark and ethereal “Inkwenkwezi” with blue-haired creative Moonchild. When we asked where he’s at musically these days, Rumney explained Maramza as the sum of his hip-hop/electro/future kwaito musical parts. “Maramza is actually just the continuation of where I left off with Richard the Third back in 2012. The reason I moved onto that name, is because I felt ‘Richard the Third’ really doesn’t fit the current vibe I’m into, it made sense when making trill hip-hop and playing indie-dance, but I needed something fresh and Maramza was a nickname I had earned in Studio, a play on my surname, and so I adopted it,” he told us in an interview. Since then he’s continued to churn out a steady supply of top notch future bass remixes. Now Maramza comes through with 67-minutes worth of newer material from himself and his peers on the “Future Mzansi” horizon, including Jumping Back Slash, DJ Clock and Beatenberg, Riky Rick, LV, Card On Spokes, and South African “superband” Fantasma. Listen to Maramza’s latest tape for the Future Sound Of Mzansi Mix Series above and grab a free download here.
Our first introduction to Liberian-Italian rapper, singer, dancer and beatsmith Karima (full name Karima Gehnyei aka Miss Annie) comes from her “Bunga Bunga” video lampooning Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Pulling double duty as the vocalist for indie afrohouse duo PepeSoup, Karima struck out to pursue her solo career after a trip to Liberia late last year propelled her to speak out against Italy’s overtly racist attitudes towards immigrants, particularly those of African descent.
Her debut album 2G, which stands for “Second Generation,” takes its name from the popular catchphrase used in the public discourse surrounding Italy’s exclusionary immigration policy, otherwise known as jus sanguinis. The album can best be described as a no-holds-barred indictment of Italian racism as well as a call for Africans on the continent and throughout the diaspora to remain connected to their roots. Following in the vein of her satirical take on Berlusconi’s sex party scandal, 2G‘s centerpiece track “Orangutan” is a synth-driven 8-bit tune which makes direct reference to Italian politician Roberto Calderoli‘s churlishly racist comparison of Italy’s first black minister Cécile Kyenge to an orangutan. Clocking in at just under 25 minutes, the ten-track LP also peppers vocal samples from Fela Kuti, The Last Poets and Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained.
Karima’s fiery brand of social and political commentary delivered in Pidgin English is backed by beats that draw from a complex patchwork of musical elements, including electronica, reggae, hip-hop, bass, grime and afrobeat. This has led to the inevitable comparison between her and fellow artist/activist with a staunch anti-oppression stance, M.I.A.. It’s comparison that Karima does not shy away from addressing in an interview with Vogue Italia:
“In my opinion, M.I.A is a great artist, she has been one of my sources of inspiration. It’s an honor for me to be compared to such a giant. Unlike Italy, there are many female producers and beatmakers abroad who have certainly served as inspiration during my artistic path. It is obviously natural to take inspiration from other artists, but I really care about my identity, and I try to do my best to express my uniqueness.”
Karima’s debut album 2G is out now via Soupu Music. Watch the video for “Bunga Bunga” above.
Nigeria’s prince of pop Wizkid turned 24 a few days ago and sneakily came through with a surprise birthday drop. The Starboy’s new single is the aftermath of a collaboration with Naija hitmaker Shizzi, the producer behind Davido‘s massive “Skelewu” and Wizkid’s “Love My Baby.” On “Show You The Money,” Shizzi and Wizzy team up once more to recreate some heat on a heavy bass synth beat blended with accents of infectious keys with complimentary light drums in the background. The starbirthdayboy’s savory vocals fashion the track a festive, high energy banger as he sings about money, women and the places he’s traveled.
In keeping with the song’s celebratory theme, just hours after the audio for the track debuted, its Patrick Elis-directed video hit the web as a joint production from Banky W‘s EME and Wizkid’s Starboy Entertainment. The visuals see Wizkid head back to his roots in Surulere Lagos, the “exact same hood that Wiz grew up in,” according to a description on the official video. And in other Wizkid news, the starboy is alleged to have confirmed he recently recorded a duet with Rihanna to be featured on his forthcoming album. Fingers crossed his much anticipated sophomore effort Chosen comes to proper light soon. Until then, watch the latest (potential) single off the release above.
Naija’s pretty boy bossman Wizkid has been on his grind promoting his recently launched imprint StarBoy Entertainment. Last we heard from the Starboy camp, members L.A.X, Wizzy and Legendury Beatz joined forces for the fiery dance-floor hit“Ginger.” Now, the young imprint is out with another offering, this time headed by South London-bred producer Maleek Berry who teamed up with the man-in-charge Wizkid for his ego-trip “Feel Me.” The dynamic duo have seen some success in the past with collaborations on hits like Wizkid’s “Lagos To Soweto” and Berry’s viral video sensation “The Matter.” Their latest pairing sees Wizkid layering his poppy vocals over some twisted dancehall-esque beats from Berry. Though the track, which was actually recorded over a year ago, was released under some sketchy circumstances (an un-mastered version was leaked earlier this week pressuring Berry to release a more polished version), “Feel Me” does its job in exciting listeners for the release of the beatmaker’s official single, which he announced on twitter will be out soon. Listen to the track above.
Palaceer Lazaro and Baba Maraire‘s Shabazz Palaces come through with some psychedelic, .gif-style visuals for “Forerunner Foray” off their soon-coming Lese Majesty LP. The new single boasts a myriad of cosmic synthesizer arpeggios, guest vocal work from THEESatisfaction‘s Cat and a sample off Lightnin’ Rod‘s Hustler’s Convention. Watch/stream Shabazz’ “Forerunner Foray” above and look out for Lese Majesty dropping July 29 on Sub Pop.
Nigeria’s Yemi Alade has picked up massive steam since the release of her “Bust Your Windows”-esque anti-cheaters dance anthem “Johnny.” Linking with Triple MG producer Selebobo once more, Alade’s latest hip shaker “Tangerine” serves as the follow-up to her viral breakthrough. In a new offering from Naija video vet Clarence Peters, the “King of Queens” struts her stuff as she sings of that fresh, sweet, zangy “tangerine” type love. Alade’s debut album King of Queens is set to arrive later this year. Until then watch the video for the LP’s second single above.