Audio

8 South African Albums & EPs to Stream While Staying Home

Let these South African releases from Bongeziwe Mabandla, Shabaka and the Ancestors, King Monada and others hold you down during lockdown.

This month saw a number of releases from South African artists. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken money away from a majority of artists, this could be the best time for listeners to go through the new music that was released.


If you are fortunate enough to have abundant internet access, below are 8 South African albums that we recommend you give a spin. From The Ape Tape, the long-awaited debut album from rappity-rap rapper Captain_fs to the alternative soul/pop of Kimosabe's Nights Vol. 3, toKing Monada's minimalist cross between house and trap and more.



​Shabaka and the Ancestors "We Are Sent Here by History"

British-Barbadian jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings reconnected with the South African jazz sextet The Ancestors for their sophomore album We Are Sent Here by History. The project is a follow-up to their 2016 release Wisdom of Elders and takes off where its predecessor left off. Over experimental jazz production, South African singer Siya Mthembu recites messages from the ancestors. Some of the songs are prophetic, while others suggest the open-ended route humankind needs to take if we are to survive.

Bongeziwe Mabandla "Iimini"

In his most light-hearted release yet, Bongeziwe Mabandla's latest album Iimini, traces the different phases of love between two people. Him and his producer Tiago Correira-Paulo continue to blend electronic music with South African genres to maintain Mabandla's progressive folk and soul sensibilities.

King Monada "Ex Ya Drama"

King Monada released a collection of 10 songs in which the producer and singer showcases his minimalist style. As fans would expect from King Monada, his catchy vocals are decorated by heavy auto-tune, and they sound at home over beats that don't attempt to hide that they were produced purely digitally. It's the perfect album for a dancing session during the lockdown—just don't forget to social-distance.

​Maglera Doe Boy, 25K & Sliqe "Champion Music"

Maglera Doe Boy and 25K trade egocentric bars over trap production in their collaborative EP with DJ Sliqe. Both rappers have unique styles and meet each other halfway throughout the project making for a great listen.

​ByLwansta "Spijønget (Chapter Two)"

ByLwansta returned with Spijønget (Chapter Two), another diary-style installment of his ongoing series of EPs. ByLwansta's rhymes take the listener through his thoughts, insecurities and updates on his personal life and career. He's an entertaining and clinical lyricist who has the ability to make the complicated sound simple without being mundane.

Read our interview with ByLwansta here.

Captain_fs "The Ape Tape"

The Ape Tape lives up to its name. Captain comes out of the shadows punching his chest like a gorilla as he spits technical rhymes that are rich in wordplay, It makes the project a great gift for fans who like rap for the raps. The beats thump hard and the core focus of The Ape Tape is the display of skill by a passionate MC who's reverence for hip-hop is bone-deep.

LEX "Season 1"

The likes of Mello, B3nchMarQ, Ecco etc.—who are all ex-members of the disbanded collective The Wrecking Crew regroup on Season 1. The EP is a collection of 10 songs by the crew assisted by guests such as Die Mondez, Sibi, Lunah Florentino and Manu Worldstar to deliver smooth trap bangers laced with swaggy raps and melodies.

Kimosabe Nights, Vol. 3

In Nights, Vol. 3, Kimosabe sings about different scenarios that involve relationships—new love and the complications that arise when love gets old are covered, so are situationships. Kimosabe has always conveyed emotion in his singing and he always designs a fitting soundscape inspired by both old and new genres. Every song on Nights, Vol. 3 stands out. But don't take our word for it.

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Photo by HILDEGARD TITUS/AFP via Getty Images

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