Audio

AJ Holmes' 20 Years Of Kwaito Mix

AJ Holmes pulls from old cassettes to assemble a "20 Years Of Kwaito Mix" in honor of South Africa's Freedom Day.


Photo by Krisanne Johnson

It's been a minute since we've shed light on the eclectic musings of the UK's AJ Holmes (frontman for London six-piece AJ Holmes & The Hackney Empire). It's also been some time since we've shown our love for Kwaito on the site. But alas, our friends at Ghetto Bassquake have tipped us off to a recent nod to two decades of Kwaito. In honor of South Africa's Freedom Day this past Sunday, Holmes pulled from old cassettes to assemble a mix of his favorite Kwaito tracks spanning the mid-90s to early 2000s. Take a look at the full track list and stream/download the full 33-minute mix below. Holmes had the following to say:

"20 years ago – on the 27th April 1994 – ‘Nelson Mandela took office as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. 
The removal of the political and economic sanctions greatly transformed the South African music industry. In the backdrop of a transforming South Africa, Kwaito took shape in the township Soweto’.

For me this mixtape marks a personal 10 year reflection; since I first heard this mid 90′s / early 00′s Kwaito – South African Hip Hop – music. Which became a big part of the 2004 Summer sound track for me and my friends, after my friend João Orecchia returned from South African the previous year with a plastic bag filled with cassettes.

I was recently having a bit of a spring clear out and come across these cassettes. As much as I was really into them at the time; I somehow wasn’t surprised to discover that they sound even better to me now then they did all those years ago!"

TRACKLIST

Mandoza – "50/50"

Jimmy B – "Make Em Bounce"

TKZee – "Magesh"

Spokes ‘H’ – "Wara Wara"

Aba Shante – "Come Get Me"

Brenda Fassie – "Qula"

Arthur – "Kaffir"

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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