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Blxckie Named Apple Music’s ‘Up Next’ Artist

Blxckie announced as the first South African artist to be featured in Apple Music's Up Next programme.

Apple Music has announced the launch of a local edition of its global emerging artist program Up Next. Ascending South African rapper and producer Blxckie is the first artist to be featured in South Africa's Up Next programme which is geared towards identifying and showcasing rising talent.

"Up Next South Africa? Yo! In my short journey in this industry, I have learnt that supporters, and fans are everything," Blxckie said in a statement. "This is amazing for a young artist, and I'm so honoured to be the first Up Next South Africa artist! Masihambeni! (let's go)"

The 21-year-old rapper from Durban joins a class of new and emerging artists that include previous picks H.E.R., Khalid, Juice WLRD, Koffee, Megan Thee Stallion, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi and Rema.


blxckie - stripes ft flvme (official music video) www.youtube.com


In February, Blxckie released the Flvme-assisted "Stripes" as his first single of the year. "The song is about patience more than anything and being rewarded for that patience in the long run—it could be basically defined as just acceptance or respect gained," he revealed in an interview with Creators Live in February.

"Stripes" is featured on the streaming platform's Mzansi HipHop, African Hip-Hop, Africa Rising, The Plug playlists and will be featured across Apple Music's South African Up Next playlist, which is curated by Apple Music's global editors.

The burgeoning rapper, who only started taking music seriously last year, has been dropping a lot of loosies and has been getting featured a lot lately. In a recent Instagram Live he mentioned that his next project is complete.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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