Music

Our Favorite Gqom Songs of 2017

Gqom took South Africa by storm in 2017.

2017 is the year that gqom got to really shine in South Africa.

The house sub-genre that was created in the low income hoods of Durban had been getting love mostly in Europe (and, yes, we are aware of the politics behind that). But this year, the genre got mainstream recognition with the success of Distruction Boyz, and of course Babes Wodumo, among others.

Artists like DJ Tira and DJ Maphorisa are gravitating towards the rhythm-driven sub-genre. Again, we are aware of the politics involved there, but that's a story for another day.

There are a lot of gqom artists who pack serious heat, but aren't under the mainstream spotlight. So a best gqom songs list is never perfect. But these are the gqom songs that fell on our radar this year, and moved us.


The list is in no particular order.

Distruction Boyz "Omunye" feat. Benny Maverick and Dladla Mshunqisi

"Omunye" is the perfect song to lose morals to—an infectious beat carries the track and the sexual innuendo on the hook makes it even lovelier.

DJ Maphorisa "Midnight Starring" feat DJ Tira, Busiswa and Moonchild

Busiswa is not intimidated by a damn thing, she's the "starring," as she says with such authority on the hook that we can't help but believe her. Moonchild's toddler-like innocent voice adds more personality to "Midnight Starring." And what more than DJ Tira's adlibs to make the song a gqom masterpiece?

Sho Madjozi & PS DJZ "Dumi Hi Phone"

Rapper Sho Madjozi flexes some Tsonga rhymes over a hipnotic gqom beat by PS DJZ. If you like your gqom with more lyrics than usual, "Dumi Hi Phone," is your early Christmas present.

Killer Kau "Tholukuthi Hey" feat. Mbali

"Tholukuthi Hey" was a hit before it was even recorded. Killer Kau's deep vocal projection gave South Africans a catch phrase which took many forms, and even became a meme. If not for it being a great song, then maybe love it for its massive impact.

DJ Sandiso "Isam-Qeh" feat Okmalumkoolkat and Amadando

"Isam-Qeh" is more stacked that the ordinary gqom song, which is normally minimalist. You hear keys and synths of different tones under Amadando's vocals. And, add an OkMalumKoolKat verse to spice it up. The music video is amazing, too.

Tipcee "iScathulo" feat. Busiswa, DJ Tira & Distruction Boyz

Busiswa's hook is addictive because it sounds like a game from our childhood days. A song that encourages you to do the vosho always works.

Busiswa "Bazoyenza" feat. DJ Maphorisa

Busiswa and DJ Maphorisa can do no wrong. Busiswa's kwaito-esque delivery never gets old, and puts her in a league of her own. "Bazoyenza" is another instance where she excels.

Rudeboyz "Yebo" feat. TDK Macassette

Rudeboyz are among the pioneers of gqom, and they haven't lost it. A sharp synth recurs over hard-hitting drums to add another banger to their already full arsenal.

Babes Wodumo "Ganda Ganda" feat. Mampintsha and Madanon

The self-crowned Queen of Gqom proves she's capable of making hits over and over again with "Ganda Ganda." And what's impressive is she didn't try recreating another "Wololo."

FAKA "Uyang'khumbula"

The duo FAKA experimented with gqom for their single "Uyang'khumbula" It's the nonchalant baritone kwaito vocals over typical gqom synths and drums, that make "Uyang'khumbula" stand out.

popular
Tay Iwar. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Tay Iwar Is Nigeria's Hidden Gem

In a rare interview, the reclusive Nigerian singer and producer talks in-depth about writing and producing his new EP 1997, his forthcoming album Gemini and Nigeria's 'Alté' movement.

Tay Iwar wants some space. The word is the title of one of three songs on his new EP and also one that comes up during our interview, conducted via voice notes and texts on Whatsapp from his base in Abuja—a long way from Lagos which remains Nigeria's music hub.

The choice of the nation's quieter capital over the bustle of its music metropolis is a deliberate one for Iwar and one which fevers his reputation as a recluse and cult figure in Nigerian music circles. This especially happens among the subculture referred to as "alté"—an abbreviation of the word alternative which is used to denote the independent movement that is free from the flash and perceived vacuity of afropop. Precise definitions of the word vary but common denominators include introspection and melancholia, as well as trap and R&B.;

Keep reading... Show less
Featured
Photo: Dancers of the Asociación Cultural Afro Chincha Perú via Wikimedia Commons

After Decades of Erasure, Afro-Peruvians Will Finally be Counted in the National Census

Despite an Afro-Peruvian cultural resurgence not a lot has been done to increase the population's visibility on a political level.

In 2009, Peru became the first Latin American country to issue an official public apology to its afrodescendiente population for centuries of "abuse, exclusion, and discrimination." Since then, many have criticized it as more of a symbolic gesture, especially for its failure to mention slavery. It was also seen as a way for the government to highlight Afro-Peruvian culture over making any substantive improvements to the material conditions of Afro-Peruvian communities.

Enter the census, which can play an important role in compelling the Peruvian government to address systemic inequality related to education, poverty, and health. Unfortunately, the last time Peru made a formal attempt to keep track of its African descended population via the census was in 1940.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Watch Kuami Eugene's Vibrant Music Video "Meji Meji" Featuring Davido

This Ghanaian and Nigerian link up will make your day.

Ghana's Kuami Eugene has been an artist to watch—especially as he shows himself to hold his own on collab tracks.

The music video for his latest, "Meji Meji" featuring Davido, is here. Its upbeat vibe shines through as the two crooners go about their day in Ghana, singing sweet nothings to their love interests.

"Meji Meji" was produced by Fresh VDM, with the video directed by Twitch & Rex.

Take a look at the vibrant video below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.