Music

Distruction Boyz’ Debut Is The First Gqom Album To Go Gold

Distruction Boyz make history with their debut album Gqom Is The Future going gold.

History has been made. Yesterday, Durban gqom duo Distruction Boyz announced that their debut album Gqom Is The Future has achieved gold status.


Gold in South Africa is now a meager 15, 000 units, after it was reduced from 20, 000 just a few years ago. At a point in time, gold was 25, 000. Music sales in the digital era are plummeting worldwide, so it's still a big deal when an artist achieves gold status, whatever the number is. And for gqom, which has been operating in the fringes of the mainstream music industry, this is big.

Read: The 10 Best South African Summer Songs of 2017

When Distruction Boyz released their album in October, they made a request to their fans, in an open letter, to help them be the first gqom outfit to achieve gold status. Two months later, they have it in the bag.

The duo currently have one of the most popular summer singles in South Africa, "Omunye," so popular it even got a mention in parliament.

Gqom Is The Future is a genre-stretching release. It gives the genre more color; some songs go beyond just being a combination of the dark synths and heavy drums that characterize gqom.

Listen to Gqom Is The Future below, and watch the music video for "Omunye" underneath.


Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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