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You Need to Hear This Throwback South African Kwaito Track

Professor Rhythm's 1991 release is the perfect blend of mbaqanga, house, hip-hop and kwaito.

Professor Rhythm was the production moniker of South Africa's Thami Mdluli, who made "club music with a township style," as he's mentioned.

His third album Professor Rhythm 3, which came out the same year apartheid ended in South Africa (1991), is a clear reflection of what the nation's urban centers were listening to at that pivotal time.

"Our music gave hope to the hopeless," Mdluli mentions about his sound, which sought to unite black South Africans.

It was a time when the "dominant mbaqanga and American R&B-based bubblegum sounds being produced in Johannesburg and other urban centers were transforming into house and hip-hop-inspired kwaito," the label Awesome Tapes From Africa, who are re-releasing the album, explains.


"We were Influenced by foreign bands and so people updated their sound," Mdluli mentions about the influence of American house music on the growing house scenes of Pretoria and Johannesburg. All of which was happening as he was producing Professor Rhythm 3.

It was a new sound that was also aided by the increasing availability of house and hip-hop records from outside of South Africa and pushed forward by a sense of positivity from the public, who felt that apartheid was finally ending. "1991, '92, '93… Mandela was released. People were upbeat, they were happy, the music was good," he mentions.

Awesome Tapes From Africa will be re-releasing Professor Rhythm 3 on June 1. The album is available for pre-order now.

Listen to our exclusive stream of "Professor 3" below ahead of the release.


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Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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