Audio

DJ Maphorisa’s ‘BlaqBoyMusic’ EP Is a Great Cocktail of Gqom & Trap

The EP features K.O., Moonchild Sanelly, A-Reece, Wichi 1080, Bontle Smith and more.

South African artist, producer, DJ and serial collaborator DJ Maphorisa's latest EP BlaqBoyMusic showcases his diversity. After producing hits for Drake, Kwesta, Shekhinah, and lots more, he ticks more names off his bucket list.


The opening song "Walk ye Phara" is a posse track featuring DJ Raybel, K.O., Moonchild Sanelly and ZuluMakhathini. It's straight gqom, something reminiscent of Maphorisa's smash hit from last year, "Midnight Starring." Moonchild does her thing with a sexually charged verse, as usual. But it's K.O. who steals the show. He sounds at home over a gqom instrumental, which is unfamiliar territory for the rapper. But, for a rapper with one of the most solid flows in SA hip-hop, it's not an unexpected feat.

"Walk ye Phara" will be the last dance song on BlaqBoyMusic until the closing song "Dali," which features Lerato Kganyago and KayLow. It's a cute, heart melting, lovey-dovey track that is both calming and bouncy.

The rest of the project is mostly trap—the bass knocks and the 808s rattle. All songs are curated collaborations, consisting of artist combinations that you wouldn't get anywhere else but here.

Read: The 11 Best South African Trap Producers

Wichi 1080, who you should know as Priddy Ugly's producer, appears on two songs. And both songs that he is featured on bear his signature eardrum-wracking bass line. The producer is also forging his lane as an artist, with an upcoming project in the works.

"She Needs It" is a family gathering as A-Reece brings out his goons from the collective he's part of, The Wrecking Crew.

Every featured artist brings it, but it's Lucasraps who dominates and steals the show with most of his verses. For example, on "Amo," he kills that triple time flow, which is so prevalent in hip-hop it's the standard. But that doesn't mean all rappers excel at it the same.

But this gathering is for more than just rappers and house artists. The singer Bontle Smith, on "Money Calling," provides laidback R&B vocals over cloud trap production.

BlaqBoyMusic is a great gift for a fan of new school rap, with a few diversions that you'll either bump over and over again or skip for your preferred sound. It's a great listen that brings you collaborations you otherwise wouldn't have had for a long time to come.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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