Blaklez 'Don't Be Scared'

South African musician / rapper Blaklez drops the official video for his first single "Don't Be Scared" off his debut album, 'Black Beast' out now.

Pretoria rapper Blaklez - a.k.a. the Black Beast - has released his newest video for the single "Don't Be Scared," off his debut album Black Beast that just hit the shelves. Both the video and the South African music track feature the artist incorporating kwaito inspirations (the beat comes from Mdu's "Mazolo") into his contemporary hip-hop sound to dope effect — made particularly evident in the suited-up dancers. Judging by his nickname and reference to South African dance culture within the context of hip-hop, we get the idea that the self-proclaimed Black Beast likes to use his music to play with expectations of both African music and rap in general, something we're always in support of. Relatively new on the scene, Blaklez released his Stop Complaining: Start Entertaining mixtape in 2011, but this year marks his first major release, so be on the lookout for new material being released throughout the summer. Check out Blaklez's "Don't Be Scared" below.

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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