Mashayabhuqe KaMamba Teams With Aewon Wolf On Apocalyptic Digital Maskandi Track 'Sukumani'

South African Digital Maskandi artist Mashayabhuqe KaMamba teams with Aewon Wolf on the post-apocalyptic "Sukumani," off the 'Burnt Out' LP.

Photo: Mashayabhuqe KaMamba's URBANZULU: The Legacy project

In 2013 South African musician Mashayabhuqe KaMamba (born Ntsikelelo Christ’ Ndlovu) made his quiet debut with a stunning introduction to the unparalleled world of Digital Maskandi. Conceived as a tribute to his Zulu music elders, the Durban-born/Johannesburg-based artist's sub-genre is a stirring take on traditional maskandi folk music in the time of Mzansi's "Future Sound" renaissance. Though overlooked at the time of its release, The Black Excellence Show EP was one of the most memorable projects we saw all last year. Its follow-up came in the form of a pair of one-off singles, first with a military-pounding tribute to the Queen of Modern Zulu Music, Busi Mhlongo (“TRVPMVSKV (Impendulo kaBaba)”), and next with the Okmalumkoolkat-featuring “Shandarabaa Ekhelemendeh.”

Mashayabhuqe KaMamba is currently prepping the release of his next EP. In the meantime, the Maskandi trap lord recently featured on a track off Durban hip-hop artist Aewon Wolf's new album, Burnt Out. "Sukumani" is a post-apocalyptic explosion of electronic maskandi breaks and absolute falsetto bliss (ala Bon Iver). In an email to Okayafrica, Mashayabhuqe KaMamba shared the story of how the collaboration with Aewon Wolf came about:

"Aewon Wolf is from Durban, he's a Hip Hop artist who loves rare sounds. So early last year he reached out asking for permission to sample one of my songs ('Ungishaya Ngaphakathi' prod by MarazA & myself) from The Black Excellence Show EP. I wasn't sure about it but I let that happen. He then sent the final draft and I felt like there was something missing. I said to him, rather let's make time to do this thing together (I liked his production) in studio. Few months later I went down to Durban for a week (work vibes) and he came to my hotel, we got to spend time with him trying to understand his vibe and then we hit the studio. The set-up is pretty impressive, he's using good equipment there with his producer Sketchy Bongo. They played me a couple of beats which were nice but weren't complementing my style. I just felt like we need to create something from groung up, then Sketchy created a beat; I listened to it then something just hit me with a story 'Xenophobia' so what you hear in this record is almost all Freestyled. I don't remember writing a chorus, hook... It all came from my experiences and I left, went back to the hotel. 2 days later he sent me the complete thing with his verse...I was content and still smiling. S/O to this kid who did this video using our song. It makes sense...."

Over the weekend Mashayabhuqe KaMamba also shared the first of his multimedia projects paying tribute to Busi Mhlongo, who he cites as one of his biggest influences and whose album the forthcoming URBANZULU: The Legacy EP is named after. The Valentine's Day photo series "Heartbroken Women" features quotes from a few familiar SA faces on overcoming breakups. Follow for this and more projects leading up to the release of URBANZULU: The Legacy EP. Listen to "Sukumani" below, and keep up with Mashayabhuqe KaMamba on Twitter, Facebook, and SoundCloud.


Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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