The 16 Best South African Songs of the Month

SA tracks and videos that caught our attention this month featuring Ayanda Jiya, KLY, Prince Kaybee and more.

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

Check out our selections below, which feature Ayanda Jiya, KLY, Prince Kaybee among others.

The list is in no particular order.

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

Ayanda Jiya ft. A-Reece “Falling For You” 

"Falling For You" is an old school RnB-inspired tune in which the singer details her feelings for a special somebody who stole her heart. Ayanda sounds at home over an instrumental that leads with a looped 8-bit sound reminiscent of the video game Pacman. A-Reece's verse is cherry on top of an already sweet cake. He raps in sparse lines that allow him and the listener to breathe as he adds his 2 cents on the subject.

KLY “Umbuzo”

KLY's song "Umbuzo" got the visual treatment this month. The music video shows the South African R&B singer playing the roles of the boss and the servant. The video depicts two love stories, happening in parallel. It juxtaposes the two relationships, especially the ability for a man to provide material things.

A-Reece “Everybody Hates Reece”

On "Everybody Hates Reece," A-Reece is introspective, sneering at the whole game. He feels he's stepped on toes unknowingly, and doesn't regret it much. Nothing special, just Reece talking his talk as usual.

Emtee ft. S’Villa and Snyman “Abantu”

Emtee recently dropped a video for "Abantu," one of the standout songs from his 2017 EP DIY 2. In the video, the artists and his collaborators can be seen trekking to an event, first by bus then a chopper.

S’Villa “Thula”

"Thula Mama" is a somber tune with an equally somber video that shows a young man dying and his funeral follows. S'Villa's a great vocalist, and "Thula Mama" is an effective single about surviving pain.

Flex Rabanyan “Y.A.G.U (Young Ass Grown Up)”

Flex Rabanyan cruises around his hood and celebrates family in the music video for his sentimental tune about the anxieties that come with growing up.

Muzi “We Are Growing”

Muzi remade the theme song for the 90s TV series, Shaka Zulu, which depicted the life of the infamous Zulu king. The song comes with loops of samples from the original song, accompanied by a drum pattern reminiscent of Kaytranada.

Prince Kaybee “Fetch Your Life” (ft. Msaki)

Prince Kaybee features one of the smoothest voices in South African jazz in his latest soulful house jam, and it will come in handy on both the dance floor and your living room.

L-Tido “10 Mac”

L-Tido turned Biggie's "10 Crack Commandments" into a 10 Mac Commandments. In the song, the rapper lays down the ground rules for navigating the dating game as a dude. One of L-Tido's top tracks and definitely a standout from 16, his latest album, which also happens to be his strongest album to date.

Boity “Bakae”

Say what you want about Boity, but the rapper knows how to deliver the bars written for her. "Bakae" is an absolute banger in which the rapper goes motswako, rapping mostly in SeTswana.

Shelton Forbez “Right Now”

A smooth R&B jam with a banging trap instrumental in which Shelton has some words for his partner's toxic hobbies.

DemiMa “Sondela”

Demi's latest single blends R&B, soul and jazz. In it, the artist appreciates a special somebody whose love hits them in the right spots. The music video shows the artist traveling in different parts of the city. "Sondela" is what happiness looks and feels like.

DJ Sliqe (ft, Darkie Fiction) “Standat”

"Standat" references old school kwaito, just like most of Darkie Fiction's music. The song's is jovial, and in the video Sliqe can be seen rolling around the hood before he hits the studio. Celebrate what's left of the summer with this one.

Seba Kaapstad “Breathe”

Seba Kaapstad recently got signed to Mello Music Group. "Breathe," which is the crew's first single under the label, seems to be a universal message to the insomniac slashies that we've all become. We live in a world where we have to work our asses off to live a comfortable life. Zoë, writing and singing in first person, seems conflicted about the idea of taking a break. Sonically, "Breathe" is a refreshing combination of the crew's different influences, from jazz to hip-hop and soul, among others. "Breathe" is as much of a Friday/Saturday night jam as it is a Sunday morning one; it will tell you to get down and chill at the same time.

Touchline “Award Shows”

A tongue-in-cheek critique of the game and its wicked ways, "Award Shows" sees the rising MC flex his lyrical skills as he questions how this whole thing works. The video pokes fun at artists who buy awards and those who shoot videos in front of houses they don't own.

B3nchMarQ “Left The City”

The song chronicles the duo's individual life stories, and the video plays out like a mini documentary of B3nchMarQ's journey.

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

Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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