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DJ Tira Releases First Self-Produced Album ‘Ikhenani’

Listen to DJ Tira's new album.

Last week Friday, DJ Tira released a new album (a clear sign that festive season is close by). Ikhenani is packed with 17 songs to which we will make memories in the upcoming summer.

The album title Ikhenani means Canaan. "As you know in the bible, there's Canaan, a place where you'll find gold and silver and all those good things. So, on the album, I'm leading people to a place where they're going to have a good time," DJ Tira says in the album's Apple Music liner notes.


This Promise Land that Tira is leading his listener to is a cocktail of genres that you would never expect to find in an album by one artist—gqom, amapiano, hip-hop, maskandi and gospel all co-exist on the project.

Tira has been at the forefront of South Africa's house scene for what seems like eternity. His journey started in the early 2000s when he was still part of Durban's Finest. The producer, artist and label head has refused to get left behind as time progresses and music naturally does the same.

Ikhenani is dominantly gqom, a subgenre of house DJ Tira adopted when it gained popularity in the country and some parts of the world in the last few years. Tira's latest genre of interest has been hip-hop, which has become one of the most loved genres in the country.

On the song "Uthando," the producer places rappers Kwesta, Beast and Duncan alongside the singer Joocy over a synth and bass-heavy trap beat. Beast is currently signed to Tira's label Afrotainment, while Duncan departed from the label in 2017.

"I'm a jack-of-all-trades and I like to show that in my music," says Tira in the notes. "I think it's nice to do gospel, I love it and work with gospel artists. I tried to put something together that has a gospel flavor (with the song 'Indluzela'), churchgoers also like to dance, so if we're able to put that in our music, let's do that and make sure everyone is happy and enjoys it."

While Ikhenani is not Tira's first album, it's the first one he produced in its entirety. "This is my first studio album where I've produced every single track on the album, so it's very exciting times for me," Tira says.

Ikhenani has a diverse guestlist that includes Skye wanda, Chynamusique, Dladla Mshunqisi, Tipcee, Hlengiwe Mhlaba and others. While it might be jarring for the listener to go from a trap song to an amapiano one, which is followed by a gqom one, and later, gospel, one thing is guaranteed; there are plenty of songs on Ikhenani that deserve a spot on your playlist.

Listen to Ikhenani below:



Interview
JimmyWiz. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Interview: JimmyWiz Quietly Released One of the Strongest South African Hip-Hop Albums of the Year

We chat to South African rapper JimmyWiz about his debut album, Accordin' to Jim.

JimmyWiz channeled his life story into his biographical debut record, Accordin' to Jim. At just nine songs, the album is a self-portrait of the artist as he shares the stories that contributed to how he makes sense of the world. Even the accompanying music reveals an aspect of Jimmy's childhood.

In his chat to OkayAfrica below, the MC from the East Rand of Joburg, explains that sonically, Accordin' To Jim was influenced by the music he grew up with. The project is built on smooth jazz samples and compositions by SP Dubb, a prominent producer in the East Rand and the rest of the country.

JimmyWiz is part of a huge network of South African lyricists who may not be on everyone's radar, but have built solid niche fanbases and are striving in their own way and own terms. JimmyWiz just happened to get a boost that a very few young up-and-coming rappers are afforded.

In 2015, the rapper appeared on the reality show The Hustle on TV channel Vuzu. His class included the likes of Bigstar Johnson and ShabZi Madallion, the latter who is still a close friend and frequent collaborator of Jimmy's. JimmyWiz has stuck to his path—instead of jumping on the trap bandwagon, he has always shown a liking for production that leans towards traditional East Coast hip-hop, multi-syllable rhyme schemes and rich lyricism.

In the interview below, JimmyWiz tells OkayAfrica about his take on popularity waves, witnessing gender-based abuse in his household as a child, his plans for the future and many other topics.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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These are 2019’s Most Shazamed South African Songs

"Fetch Your Life" by Prince Kaybee and Msaki was the most Shazamed song of 2019 in South Africa.

Apple Music recently released the statistics for the most streamed songs, artists and genres on their platform by South Africans. The country's Apple Music subscribers stream a lot of Post Malone, as his song "Sunflower" was the most streamed song on the platform in the country.

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Cardi B Teases New Remix of Davido's 'Fall'

Looks like the Nigerian star's massive hit is getting yet another re-up.

Cardi B has teased her apparent upcoming remix of Davido's "Fall."

Posting from a private jet, as she was on her way to New York before heading to West Africa, Cardi B shared a video of herself rapping and dancing along to the unreleased remix.

From the sounds of it, Cardi's "Fall" remix will feature a brand new verse from the New York rapper.

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Art
Image courtesy of Trap Bob.

Trap Bob Is the 'Proud Habesha' Illustrator Creating Colorful Campaigns for the Digital Age

The DMV-based artist speaks with OkayAfrica about the themes in her work, collaborating with major brands, and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her work.

DMV-based visual artist Tenbeete Solomon also known as Trap Bob is a buzzing illustrator using her knack for colorful animation to convey both the "humor and struggle of everyday life."

The artist, who is also the Creative Director of the creative agency GIRLAAA has been the visual force behind several major online movements. Her works have appeared in campaigns for Giphy, Girls Who Code, Missy Elliott, Elizabeth Warren, Apple, Refinery 29 and Pabst Blue Ribbon (her design was one of the winners of the beer company's annual art can contest and is currently being displayed on millions of cans nationwide). With each striking illustration, the artist brings her skillful use of color and storytelling to the forefront.

Her catalog also includes fun, exuberant graphics that depict celebrities and important moments in Black popular culture. Her "Girls In Power" pays homage to iconic women of color in a range of industries with illustrated portraits. It includes festive portraits of Beyoncé, Oprah, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama to name a few.

Trap Bob is currently embarking on an art tour throughout December, which sees her unveiling murals and recent works for Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hometown of DC and during Art Basel in Miami. You can see her tour dates here.

We caught up with the illustrator via email, to learn more about the themes in her work and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her illustrations. Read it below and see more of Trap Bob's works underneath.

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