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10 Dope South African Albums & EPs That Came Out This Month

Here are 10 dope South African albums and EPs that dropped in January and fell on our radar.

January for many of us was just trying to survive on that R200 that was left over from the reckless spending of the festive season.

Luckily, we had some great tunes as our soundtrack while trying to achieve the impossible, from artists such as TRESOR, Wordz, Mr Beef, Chianosky and *Shane Eagle.

Below, are 10 dope South African albums and EPs that dropped in January and fell on our radar. listed in no particular order.

*Shane Eagle's EP came out towards the end of December while we were on break, so we included it in the January list.


Zoocci Coke Dope x Die Mondez 'Die Dope'

Zoocci Coke Dope and his long-time friend Die Mondez dropped a collaborative EP that showcases their chemistry and their abilities. Bass-heavy trap production plays the perfect backdrop for the two to drop witty punchlines in their raps and melodies.

uSanele 'Gangular'

uSanele merged different genres—hip-hop, kwaito, goqm and even folk—in his latest EP. Light on the ear, and full of braggadocio rhymes about looking great and rocking the freshest kicks, Gangular sure deserves a spot on your collection.

TRESOR 'Nostalgia'

If you miss the good old days, TRESOR's album will teleport you back to them, at least musically. Nostalgia sees the Congolese-born South Africa-based musician fuse the different genres he grew up to, from mbhaqanga to disco into his contemporary pop.

Shane Eagle 'Never Grow Up.'

Dropped towards the end of December, Never Grow Up is half celebratory, half introspective. Shane Eagle rides jazzy samples, with varying flows and personality. He raps about his success, his fears, his triumphs, his father, the game and more topics in just seven songs.

DJ Speedsta 'Bottlebrush Str'

DJ Speedsta curated a compilation of unlikely collaborations featuring both established (Stogie T, Da L.E.S, Zingah) and up-and-coming artists (Espiquet, CrownedYung). If you love your hip-hop mixed with RnB, don't not listen to Bottlebrush Str.

Mr Beef 'Strada'

If you love street raps and you are not a Mr Beef fan, you need to question your existence. Mr Beef is the hardest in the game, and Strada (which translate to "street"), is Beef doing what he does best—telling you about the streets in his raw deep voice. The EP features the single "Salad," which features his rap twin Reason. "Don't Quit" (feat. Blaklez, Reason & Kwesta), which appeared in 2016 EP, makes another appearance on Strada. We are not complaining.

Wordz 'Death B4 Dishonor'

The member of The Wrecking Crew, Wordz, dropped his solo EP, and it's a decent offering. Just like with most TWC releases, Death B4 Dishonor has predictable subject matter (money, bitches, weed… that type of stuff), but Wordz is such a great rapper, he will have you admiring the flair you'll look beyond the lack of diversity in the topics he raps about.

Chianosky 'Same Same But Different'

In her debut album, Chianosky sings over different production styles varying from trap to EDM. Guest appearances from the likes of K.O., Kwesta and Kly add to the variety of Same Same But Different.

Beatmochini x Zimkhitha 'ReBirth EP (No plan B: part 1)'

ReBirth EP (No plan B: part 1) by the singer Zimkhitha, is one of two interlinked EPs released by Pretoria producer Beatmochini. His clean production meets the equally pristine and soulful vocals of Zimkhitha. In just four songs, she covers various topics ranging from ambition, spirituality and love, among others, and she showcases the dynamics of her vocal abilities and varied singing styles.

Beatmochini x KhashanE "Finally Out EP (No plan B: part 2)"

Finally Out EP (No plan B: part 2) entirely produced by Beatmochini is by the MC KhashanE, who the producer has collaborated with many times before. As a result, their chemistry is undeniable. KhashanE's one of the most potent South African MCs to come out in last decade or so. And on the EP's seven songs, he displays his great traits—from clever similes and metaphors, great storytelling and crisp and surefooted delivery. His vocal projection sits perfectly over Beatmochini's warm and polished boom bap production.

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Runtown. Photo courtesy of the artist.

How Runtown Got His Groove Back

In the past year, Runtown has had to look behind him to shed the ghosts of his former label. Now he's looking forward to more success.

In May of 2018 with two months left on his contract, the Nigerian popstar Runtown woke up one morning to news that his record label, Eric Many Entertainment, was suing him for damages worth N267 million. A potential local court injunction against him meant Runtown might face the possibility of being barred from making music until the suit was resolved. It was the the start in of a string of legal battles between the singer and his label that threatened his very existence as an artist.

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After the record label tried to prevent a performance in Canada, and sent cease and desist letters to radio stations, asking them to pull Runtown off playlists, something cracked in his camp. His legal team mobilised. They launched an offensive, filing cases and petitions on many fronts across Lagos, Abuja and New York. His boss and aggressor, Okwudili Umenyiora, was arrested twice by the local police on petitions by Runtown. To stop the media harassment, Umenyiora signed a legal agreement promising to back off. With the coast clear, he could then focus on the music.

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Swiss electronic producer Dejot has a fondness for South African and its musicians. "What was really surprising to me was the fact, that when I played my music, my demos or ideas, people started to dance immediately," says Dejot in an email to OkayAfrica. "I was really surprised, that there was something in my music that hit them and made them move. This is very different compared to Europe or Switzerland, where people mostly stand around and just listen to it."

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