The 22 Best South African Songs of The Month

Here are the South African songs and music videos that caught our attention this month.

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

Check out our selections below, which feature Darkie Ficiton, Golden Black, Maraza, Prince Kaybee, Priddy Ugly among others.

*The list is in no particular order.

Follow our MZANSI HEAT playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Beast ft. Sjava “Hello”

Beast ropes in Sjava for a motivational anthem about persevering against the odds stacked against you. Beast is a great lyricist, and everything Sjava touches turn to gold, so "Hello" couldn't not be great.

Zoocci Coke Dope & Die Mondez “Different”

A standout song from Zoocci Coke Dope and Die Mondez's collaborative EP Die Dope, "Different" is accompanied by clean visuals by Motion Billy.

Stogie T “Original Recipe Freestyle”

Stogie T experiments with mumble rap, and, we hate to admit it, the song knocks.

TRESOR ft. Msaki “Sondela”

"Sondela" is a beautiful duet by two distinct voices. It's accompanied by a fitting music video that plays around with the theme of TRESOR's Nostalgia album of which the song is a single.

Riky Rick (ft. Mlindo The Vocalist) “You and I”

King Kotini's latest single sounds like a chapter from his past; he raps about messing up his relationship with his cheating ways. The video shows the rapper partying it up with strippers in the club while his bae and their kids struggle to reach him on the phone.

Priddy Ugly “Uh Huh” (ft. Nadia Nakai)

Priddy Ugly and Nadia Nakai's big personalities connect on the fun "Uh Huh," which is accompanied by a colorful video that sees Nadia model herself as a snack in a glass.

Priddy Ugly "Smokolo"

Priddy Ugly finally released the video for "Smokolo," a standout song from his 2017 album E.G.Y.P.T. As is usually the case with Priddy Ugly, the video is energetic, and consists of different stories.

​Golden Black (ft. Zakwe) "Cream"

A trap interpretation of Wu Tang Clan's classic "C.R.E.A.M." It may not necessarily go bar for bar with the original version, but it does its job of paying homage and connecting two eras that usually refuse to see eye to eye.

​The Big Hash "Plug Nice"

A standout song from The Big Hash's new mixtape, "Plug Nice" is perfection—it shows the MC's dynamics, he switches flows, and lets the beat breath every now and then while telling his story of choosing his own path and succeeding.

Mass The Difference ft. Cassper Nyovest "What's Wrong With Me?"

"What's Wrong With Me?" is a great mellow joint that brought out the best out of Cassper, as he drops a show-stealing verse. The only flaw everyone should be able to pick up is the sloppy mixing and mastering, as Nyovest's vocals get a bit too loud. But this is probably just an un-mastered version.

​Darkie Fiction "Abazali Bam"

Darkie Fiction pay homage to their parents on their latest genre-bending single.

​25K "Culture Vulture"

"Culture Vulture" was released in 2017, but only started catching onto the mainstream this year. The song is dripping with that Pretoria sauce, and has earned the MC an AKA cosign and a deal with Universal, which he signed this month.

​Prince Kaybee (ft. Msaki) "Fetch Your Life"

Prince Kaybee and Msaki's collaborative song "Fetch Your Life" is motivational. It encourages us to reach for our dreams and do the things that make us feel alive. She sings in the hook, "Fetch your life, go and be alive/ Ain't nobody living out here." The song's video follows the same story arc—you can see a selection of women in different scenarios each reaching that moment when they feel like giving up. But then they have a change of mind, and decide to give it another shot.

Ndlulamthi "Winnie"

Ndlulamthi pays respect to the late Apartheid struggle hero Winnie Mandela with his acrobatic Xhosa raps.

​Maraza "Korobela"

Maraza's releases are always exciting, and "Korobela" is just another instance of this. He drenches his vocals and raps in auto-tune to conjure up a well-crafted tune that deserves a spot on your playlist.

​Seba Kaapstad "Bye"

Seba Kaapstad is one of the most exciting groups out now. The ethereal "Bye" is the third song to be released from their upcoming album, Thina, which will be released by Mello Music Group.

​DJ Speedsta "No Stress" (ft. Zoocci Coke Dope, Una Rams and Da L.E.S)

From DJ Speedsta's latest EP BottlebrushStr comes the piece of art that is "No Stress." The song features two artists who are part of South Africa's new wave alongside Da L.E.S, the leader of the new school.

​Ami Faku "Ubuhle Bakho"

Ami Faku's "Ubuhle Bakho" is sung with such emotion, it can make one shed a thug tear. It's a song about admiring someone's inner and outer beauty, and will melt your heart if you are a sucker for love.

​Indigo Stella "Boss Up"

Indigo Soul commands your attention with a solid flow over a pulverizing instrumental in her latest single "Boss Up." She's definitely one to keep an eye on.

​Yanga "Utatakho"

Yanga treats his 2018 single to stellar visuals that are as explosive as the song itself. The video's grainy vintage effects work well with the video's wardrobe and locations.

​A-Reece "Carele$$"

A-Reece addressed Flame leaving The Wrecking Crew the best he knows how, and that's through raps. While another rapper would have either taken to Twitter or broadcast a press release, Reece chose bars.

​Berita "Ndicel' Ikiss"

The song's title literally translates to "May I have a kiss?" And the music video, which was directed by Callback Dreams' Makere Thekiso, depicts affection through the video's cast and the artist herself, using fashion as a vehicle to convey the story.

Follow our MZANSI HEAT playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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