Just like hip-hop, kwaito is a genre that's mostly driven by bravado. But every now and then, kwaito artists give us heartfelt and fun songs that range from celebrating love to mourning heartbreak.
Below, we list 10 of the best old school kwaito songs that touch on all the dynamics of love.
1. Mshoza "Kortes" (featuring Mzambiya)
"Kortes", one of Mshoza's best works, assisted by then-label mate Mzambiya saw her show love to Kortes, a girl who drove her crazy when she adorned a hat. An R&B influence on the production and some autotune on the hook made for one of the most perfect kwaito songs of all time.
2. Zola "Sana Lwami" (featuring Unathi)
Kwaito legend Zola and vocalist Unathi's duet of love-gone-wrong made for a great listen. Unathi played a suspecting woman to her man (played by Zola) who denied all the rumours of him cheating with a girl named Noxolo. "She's just a friend, ang'na-address ang'na-bhelas," he explains. All of this over KB's clean kicks and bass lines and virtuoso sampling skills makes a classic.
3. Trompies – "Sweety Lavo"
The godfathers of pantsula, Trompies' "Sweety Lavo" had an overt shebeen-ready bubblegum flavour – and that's nothing to complain about. The four dudes made it clear they weren't pleased with "Sweety Lavo" knowing of their indulgent habits.
4. Brown Dash "Vum Vum" (featuring Brickz)
Brown Dash, M'du and then-rookie Brickz serenaded their lucky ladies over those heavy bass lines that American hip-hop producer DJ Mustard has now made his own. Brickz's first two bars gave birth to "Sweety My Baby."
5. Mafikizolo "Emlanjeni"
An embellished cover of Miriam Makeba's "Meet me at the River", this song is for those who still believe in that old school love; that fairytale and '90s R&B type of love.
6. Mzambiya "Of Love and Kwaito" (featuring Percy)
Child superstar Mzambiya, on the verge of adolescence, lets fellow child star Percy in on the pleasures and complications of love. New to love himself, he is conflicted about the feeling. Their conversational "Of Love and Kwaito" is surely one of the best kwaito love songs of all time. What makes it more amazing is that it's performed by young teenagers.
7. DJ Bongz "Sobabili"
Durban DJs changed kwaito. Some claim they killed it by turning it into house (but that's a discussion for another day). One of the first acts marking Durban's coup on the Soweto-centric kwaito genre, DJ Bongz introduced himself to South African music lovers in pure style. The swaggering female Zulu vocals on that tune alone made a lot of guys want to relocate to Durban.
8. Mzekezeke "I'm Scared Of You" (ft. Zoe)
An embellishment of a Womack & Womack song of the same title, "I'm Scared Of You," saw Mzekezeke and singer Zoe role-play a scenario. The asinine character of Mzekezeke is macking on a girl who is above her league. Zoe's great vocals and Mzekezeke's deliberately off-tune singing made for a compelling listen that's both comical and potent.
9. Brickz "Sweety My Baby"
Brickz' high-pitched voice sat well on DJ Cleo's rubbery bass line and futuristic synthesizers, which were then new to kwaito. Couple that with a catchy hook and Brickz' unorthodox delivery and you have one of the biggest kwaito songs of the early 2000s.
10. Malaika "Destiny"
Guffy's one of the best South African producers and on Malaika's "Destiny" he made it clear why. Tshedi Moholo's natural vocals over those keys, wavy pads and a catchy rhythm made for a simply addictive tune that, though a tad corny (with lines like "you are the air that I breathe"), thoroughly entertains to this day. Which could be why Cassper Nyovest has Goapele use the song's hook on his hit of the same title.