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Spoko at Okayafrica presents Black Coffee, DJ Spoko & Electrafrique at Central Park SummerStage. Photo: Jake Salyers

DJ Spoko, Pioneer South African Producer, Has Passed Away

DJ Spoko's unique style of production was highly-influential across South Africa and the globe.

News has been spreading across social media today that South African producer Marvin Ramalepe, better known as DJ Spoko, has passed away. A representative for the artist confirmed the news to Crack Magazine.

DJ Spoko started producing on a PC as a teenager in Atteridgeville, a township outside Pretoria where he and his brother had moved to in order to find their father.

In the early 2000s, Spoko traveled to Soweto, where he fine-tuned his engineering skills under shangaan electro mastermind Nozinja. After returning home and setting up his own studio, Spoko helped craft the percussion pattern behind DJ Mujava's massive hit "Township Funk."


"Without Spoko, there would be no Gqom"

From there, he developed his own 'Bacardi House' genre — a kwaito-influenced style that pairs jolting military drums with pitched-up melodies — featured in his impressive Ghost Town (True Panther) and War God (Lit City Trax) releases, as well as in his Fantasma project with Spoek Mathambo.

"Without Spoko, there would be no Gqom," producer Jumping Back Slash commented on Twitter.

More recently, he had launched his own label, Ghetto Boyz Music, releasing his own projects, like the outstanding BACARDIXVILP, as well as signing new talent.

Several aritsts and friends have been paying tribute to DJ Spoko on social media.

See some below and make sure you blast DJ Spoko's truly magical music loud today.


Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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