Mx Blouse. Photo by Sabelo MKhabela.

The 15 Best South African Songs of the Month

Dope tracks and videos from Kimosabe, Zakwe, Mx Blouse, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Da L.E.S, Cassper Nyovest and more.

Our list of the best South African songs of the month includes new singles that dropped in May alongside those that were highlighted by getting the visual treatment.

Check out our selections below, which feature Kimosabe, Zakwe, Mx Blouse, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Da L.E.S, Cassper Nyovest and more.

The list is in no particular order.

Bonj "Til The Tide"

Bonj's first solo single, which precedes countless guest features, is a song to bump during summer on the beach—it sounds like a holiday, from the bass line to the singer's layered vocals and the percussion the song stands on.

Mx Blouse "Isiphukuphuku"

"Isiphukuphuku" is more proof (if you still need more) that kwaito will never die it just lives through other genres like electronica and hip-hop. Mx Blouse rides the mid-tempo instrumental with the bravado of a rapper and a kwaito artist. The video completes the song with people of diverse races and genders gyrate in a low-end mall.

Anatii "Thixo Onofefe"

The video for Anatii's latest emphasizes the song's meaning—it's in line with its lyrics, and depicts Anatii's spiritual side. Watch him decode the video, here.

RMBO x Morena Leraba "Mzabalazo"

"Mzabalazo" has a huge kwaito influence with skittering drums and buzzing synths. Leraba laces the music with matching flows to give the track more personality.

Kimosabe "For Life"

Kimosabe can do no wrong. His latest single "For Life" is a world class pop song that plays with your emotions as the artist bears his soul and wears his heart on his sleeve. It can also come in handy in the club or at a party.

Zakwe "Sebentin Remix"

The remix to Zakwe's hard-hitting 2017 hit, "Sebentin" is a gathering of some of the finest of South African hip-hop—from Pro, to Blakez, HHP, Kwesta and Pro. They deliver impressive verses whose merits and demerits kept hip-hop heads occupied on Twitter for a minute.

Contra Gang "Blast Off"

Your favorite Cape Town boy band Contra Gang released yet another impressive single. "Blast Off" is a tapestry of the group's personalities and rapping skills. The song is as much suitable for the club as it is for your headphones.

Prince Kaybee "Club Controller Remix" ft. TNS & LaSoulmates, Zanda Zakuza, Bucie, Mpumi, Ziyon, Busiswa, Nokwazi and Naak MusiQ

One of the biggest songs of the year got treated to an even bigger remix, that features the biggest names in house music in South Africa. The song's essentially a pose cut, and every artist showcases their unique style.

The Big Hash ft Riky Rick "Dark Horse"

One of South Africa's most promising young rappers impressed Riky Rick so much the veteran rapper did not only bring him out at Back To The City, but also jumped on his latest single. As is always the case with The Big Hash's songs, the bass bangs hard, and his flows steal the show. Riky also spills some tea on his verse which is delivered in varied flows.

Read: You Need To Hear This 17-Year-Old South African Rapper

Bongeziwe ft. Spoek Mathambo "Bawo Wami"

Bongeziwe Mabandla takes a moment to thanks the man above for what he has done for him. "Bawo Wami" blends folk and electronica perfectly, and Spoek's verse finds a perfect home over the music. The music video is layered without being too busy and is simply striking.

Cassper Nyovest "Push Through The Pain"

Cassper Nyovest's motivational single "Push Through The Pain" from his 2017 album Thuto, just got the visual treatment. The video, which plays out like a short film, tells the story of… well, pushing through the pain.

Robin Thirdfloor "Ethekwini"

The music video for Durban-based rapper Robin Thirdfloor's "Ethekwini" is an ad for Durban as much as it is about the rapper's life. It shows a day in his life and shows the scenery of the coastal city.

Read: Robin ThirdFloor Wants to Tell the Story of South African Hip-Hop's Misfits

B3nchMarQ "Baby Girl"

The single to the duo's upcoming album is a song about father-daughter relations. The rappers each treat their verse as a conversation with their respective daughters.

Da L.E.S "Ballers Freestyle" (ft. A-Reece & TellaMan)

The video to one of the strongest cuts from Da L.E.S' latest album, HOF 2, is infectious. L.E.S, his collaborators and everyone on the video are genuinely happy, and it's contagious.

Bonafide "Slay Queen"

Bonafide, a member of the socially conscious rap crew Last Days Fam, released a song about the "slay queen" culture. It's a tricky subject to cover for a man, as one runs the risk of getting preachy. But a member of a hip-hop crew that hasn't been shy about their affiliation with Christianity, preaching is the point. The music is impressive—mellow boom-bap with sweet keys and a healthy bass line, and Bonafide flows effortlessly. The politics of the song are a subjective debate that we will leave to you.

Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

How Davido's 'FEM' Became the Unlikely #EndSARS Protest Anthem

When Nigerian youth shout the line "Why everybody come dey para, para, para, para for me" at protests, it is an act of collective rebellion and rage, giving flight to our anger against the police officers that profile young people, the bureaucracy that enables them, and a government that appears lethargic.

Some songs demand widespread attention from the first moments they unfurl themselves on the world. Such music are the type to jerk at people's reserves, wearing down defenses with an omnipresent footprint at all the places where music can be shared and enjoyed, in private or in communion; doubly so in the middle of an uncommonly hot year and the forced distancing of an aggressive pandemic that has altered the dynamics of living itself. Davido's "FEM" has never pretended to not be this sort of song. From the first day of its release, it has reveled in its existence as the type of music to escape to when the overbearing isolation of lockdown presses too heavily. An exorcism of ennui, a sing-along, or a party starter, "FEM" was made to fit whatever you wanted it to be.

However, in the weeks since its release, the song has come to serve another purpose altogether. As young Nigerians have poured out into the streets across the country to protest against the brutality of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, "FEM" has kept playing with the vigour of a generational protest anthem. From Lagos to Abia to Benin and Abuja, video clips have flooded the Internet of people singing word-for-word to Davido's summer jam as they engage in peaceful protests. In one video, recorded at Alausa, outside the Lagos State Government House, youths break into an impromptu rendition of the song when the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, tried addressing them; chants of "O boy you don dey talk too much" rent through the air, serving as proof of their dissatisfaction with his response to their demands—and the extortionist status quo.

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