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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.


Music

The 8 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Femi Kuti, RIMON, Joeboy, Makhalanjalo, Tayc and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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