Music
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

South Africa's KLY Localizes Trap Soul On His Latest Album ‘Keep Love Young’

Keep Love Young isn't so much KLY coming into his own, but daring to lead the direction of bass-heavy, soulful RnB in South Africa.

Since releasing his KLYMAX EP in 2016, KLY has cemented his position as one of South Africa's foremost vocalists.

He's proven his pedigree on countless features, becoming the go-to artist for a smooth verse, as heard on DJ Maphorisa's "082," Mafikizolo's "Best Thing," Priddy Ugly's "Truth Be Told," and Maggz' "Vaye."

He followed his breakout with the KLYMAX Re-Up, continuing his chemistry with his main producer Wichi 1080. Keep Love Young is his debut album, and sees him mould sounds from a range of inspirations into his own.

The album title's acronym spells out his name and he stamps more of his identity on his sound. A fair observation of his previous work is just how strongly his influences shone through. A song title like "5 AM In The East" from KLYMAX was a young homage and signal of his musical lineage.


Since the EPs though, KLY has naturally progressed into a fusion of RnB, trap, afropop and dancehall. On Keep Love Young, all those genres are visited with a distinctly South African take on them. The album is another example of Ambitiouz Entertainment's artists successfully adapting musical trends for a home-grown audience. This is a huge facet of Emtee's sound who somewhat overshadows KLY on "Winner," a boastful track perhaps more suited to the rapper.

KLY - Runners FT Zingah (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

The African Trap Movement serves as a great blueprint for KLY nonetheless, and he holds his own on the bass-stomping "Runners" with Zingah. For its part, "Go Away" features fellow Wichi 1080 collaborator Priddy Ugly, and is a great example of the menacing bass lines KLYl undercuts with his sultry vocals.

The varied sonic direction this 16-track project helps KLY explore a range of moods and emotions. Although the romantic inclination continues on "Patience," "Friendzone," and "Finesse" cuts like "Been A While" and "Suppose" take on a regretful tone.

"Red Forest" is itself distrusting and is a standout joint that embodies the trap soul sound KLY has perfected. The production perfectly compliments his songwriting as it does on the Ycee-featuring "Local," which fuses a dreamy soundscape with recurring guitar strums. It's on tracks like these that the character of Keep Love Young comes to the fore. The added dimension of intriguing melodies, local slang and vernacular lyrics to 808-laden beats is a feature of "Umbuzo," "Intombi," "The One' and 'Bite."

Kly - Umbuzo youtu.be

A surprising collaboration occurs is "The One," with electronic/pop duo Locnville adding their 2 cents on the dancehall-tinged afropop tune. These tracks are where KLY shines the most as an artist, separating himself from his influences and carving out a distinct sound. The texture of these tracks places them in a general sonic area code but localises them enough for his primary fans. It's South trap soul—an exploration of having to navigate relationships as "a Zulu kid with some passion."

Keep Love Young isn't so much KLY coming into his own, but daring to lead the direction of bass-heavy, soulful RnB in South Africa. The album doesn't alienate early fans, but sees him mould his varied inspirations into a richer sound. It's interesting to see how his sound will develop, but for now the lush production, textured storytelling, thumping 808s and dreamy soundscapes are worth several replays.

Download Keep Love Young here.


‎Keep Love Young by KLY itunes.apple.com

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The front page of The New York Times on January 16, 2019

Kenyans Are Furious at the New York Times for Posting Photos of Terrorist Victims

After the the deadly attack on Tuesday, many are accusing the American newspaper of having a double standard on which dead bodies they allow into the paper

Is the New York Times guilty of a double standard when it comes to publishing images of dead bodies?

Kenyans, and others fed up with the coverage, took to social media in the hundreds to denounce a Times article that included an image of victims of Tuesday's Nairobi terrorist attack, bloodied from bullets, and lying hunched over their laptops, dead.

It has cause enough debate online to where the Times' incoming East Africa Bureau chief Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura felt the need to explain their photo policy, which is to show the dead only if their faces cannot be seen in the image. The photo in question fits the policy as the faces are facing away from the camera. She would later apologize before posting the official policy to her Twitter account. The photo remains up.

The Times' official response, as those tend to do online, has only created more anger. But unlike many unruly Twitter mobs, those responding to the official statement have a rather coherent message—"you wouldn't do this with photos of the American dead."

Some of the responses to the Times' official statement.

In a response to the controversy from the Poynter Institute, a typically astute observer of journalistic practice in the United States, they run through the typical American journalism school approach to publishing photos that might shock or offend. They write:

Should the Times have run the photo?
There is no easy answer.
The first question any news organization must ask when deciding to publish violent images is: WHY show it?
In other words, what is the news value? Does the public need to see such an image to fully grasp what happened? Does the public need to see such a photo to confirm or disprove the official account of the events?
An argument could be made that a writer's words could accurately describe the scene without being as disturbing as the image. In addition, when it comes to an act of terrorism, might publishing such a photo actually advance the cause of the terrorists, showing the damage they caused, thus fueling dread and panic?
Also this: The photo on the Times website came without warning. As a reader, you didn't know you were going to see a photo of dead people until you actually saw it.
Those are arguments to not run such a photo or, at least, warn readers of its graphic content.

While it's a fine analysis of when to show a violent image, it misses the central issue at play for those aggrieved by the Times' posting—that the American news-gaze values certain lives differently. Black, brown, foreign, poor—American journalism organizations, including the New York Times, cannot escape a base ethnocentrism in their coverage. It's so embedded into how these institutions operate, and the gap in understanding is so wide, that to much of the world, the Times' official response is laughably wrong at first glance.

"We take the same approach wherever in the world something like this happens--balancing the need for sensitivity and respect with our mission of showing the reality of these events"

And while there are examples from the Times that complicate this feeling, like these images of the dead in the terrorist attack in Nice, France, it doesn't discount the wider and correct feeling that the white victims of American mass shootings are treated differently than their African counterparts. And while there are complicated and systematic reasons for this which will always make discussing it difficult, to simply deny that different standards exist, does not increase the Times' credibility with Kenyans or the newspaper's growing online audience which will only become more vocal about how they're portrayed.

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Falz 'Moral Instruction'

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Falz, King Monada, Zlatan, Yemi Alade and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music 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 OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

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Violent Attack at Kenyan Hotel Ends With 14 Dead

The remaining hostages were freed after a 17-hour standoff between militants and Kenyan security forces on Wednesday.

The final hostages in the violent terrorist attack which took place at the DusitD2 Hotel in Naoribi's affluent Westlands district yesterday have been freed after a 17 hour standoff between Kenyan security forces and Al Shabab militants.

In a speech this morning, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the rescue mission over, stating that there were 700 people rescued and a total of 14 casualties. He also stated that all of the attackers had been killed in the operation, according to Quartz Africa. "Every person that was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act will be relentlessly pursued," added Kenyatta.

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