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Okayafrica TV: Freshlyground's New Edge

We caught up with South African music staple Freshlyground at NYC's Gotham Hall to chat briefly about the band's shift in sound and aesthetic from "happy and positive" to surrealist and edgy.


After emerging from a two-year recording hiatus, South African afro-pop staple Freshlyground released their 5th studio album, Take Me To The Dance. This album marked many firsts for the band, which has been a collective for ten years. TMTTD was the first time they recorded with Grammy Award-winning producer and session player Steve Berlin, and it was the first time they took charge of all their own marketing and distribution, partnering with South African retailer Pick n Pay for the release. Freshlyground also brought a new sound and style to the album. When we premiered their music video for the infectious electronic single "Take Me To The Dance," FG fans were surprised by the shift in aesthetic. Instead of what Kyla-Rose Smith describes as "happy and positive and Rainbow Nation," the video for "Take Me To The Dance" is rather dark, surrealist, and edgy.

We caught up with the women of Freshlyground, violinist Kyla-Rose Smith, and lead vocalist Zolani Mahola, on their latest venture to New York City to accept the 'Next Generation' award at the Shared Interest Awards Gala. Freshlyground were dressed to the nines to perform for fellow award winners of the evening, singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte, and freedom fighter and social justice activist Father Michael Lapsley. Before accepting their award we briefly chatted about the choice to rejuvenate their sound. Catch the full interview below and DL Take Me To The Dance here.

[embed width="640"][/embed]

Producer: Allison Swank

Interviewer: Emma Tammi

Videographer: Henry Jacobson

Editor: Samuel Bathrick

 

"SA Rappers Out Here Killing Y'all," M.I Abaga On Nigerian Rappers

M.I has fueled a debate about the state Nigerian hip-hop with his latest song, "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life."

Nigerian star M.I Abaga is back with a punch and taking aim at all of his fellow Nigerian rappers.

The track—which sees M.I. drop lines like "none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing ya,ll," and "rappers are singing now just to get popular, yuck"—has sparked a debate across social media on the current state of Nigerian hip-hop.

There's been some calling out M.I for not supporting young Nigerian rappers like big rappers do in South Africa. These years have seen the likes of Cassper Nyovest and other big SA stars supporting younger talent.

Others, however, have taken up the challenge and started responding to M.I's track over the "Fix Up Your Life" instrumental. M.I's been retweeting the responses and, in a way, the track's been getting a lot of the young rappers M.I calls out some more attention.

M.I and his label Chocolate City have also been in the news lately over suing Nas for not delivering a good verse.

What do you think? Is Nigerian hip-hop in decline?

See some choice tweets below.

Video: Looking at the Roots of IsiPantsula Culture Through Some of Its Leading Voices

This new video shows us why South African Pantsula is much more than just a dance move.

Pantsula is more than just a dance, it's a cultural movement and it's being revived through enthusiastic South African youth.

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In Photos: Migos' Culture Tour in Johannesburg

ATL trio Migos' Culture Tour had two South African stops–in Durban on Friday and Johannesburg on Saturday.

We attended the Joburg leg of the tour, and the group didn't disappoint, although the event itself was unacceptably disorganized. South African rappers Riky Rick and Nasty C gave great performances, especially the latter.

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