Listen to TNS’ Long-Awaited Sophomore Album ‘Phupholetu’

Stream TNS' new album 'Phupholetu'.

Multi-talented South African musician TNS has finally released his sophomore album Phupholetu, the follow-up to his 2019 gold-selling Madlokovu: King of African House.

The double album consists of 30 songs, which TNS has been working on since the beginning of lockdown, including the previously released singles "iBhari," "Nyathela," "Zodwa Wabantu" and "Umhlaba Wonke".

The 20-year old vocalist, deejay and producer has grown into and learned to trust his peculiar voice more. As a result, he has a vocal contribution on almost all of the songs, on top of being behind a majority of the production.

The album, named after his son, boasts plenty of impressive collaborations, from veterans such as DJ Tira, Danger, Bhar and Professor to talented young producers like Dlala Thukzin, GoldMax, Skillz, Drega, Funky Qla and BlaQRhythm.

Phupholetu is filled with Afro-house bangers, with a few dabbling into a bit of gqom ("Shova" and "Taquila") and elements of other dance music genres. His voice is the piece that ties everything together and makes for a seamless listen.

Songs like "KwaMashu," "Ezase Durban," "Ethekwini," "Egoli," "Soshanguve" and "eMthatha" make mention of, and are titled after well-known South African townships.

The album was initially supposed to drop late last year but was pushed back a few times due to the lockdown, which, in TNS' own words, "make it really difficult to promote (my) new music". Leading up to the full release and as part of the album's roll-out, a host of the songs were dropped almost every Friday between December and January.

In his debut album, the "Umona'' hitmaker crowned himself the King of African House and on Phupholetu he strives to prove that he is the king indeed.

Stream Phupholetu on Apple Music and Spotify.

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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