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Joshua The I Am. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 12 Best South African Songs of The Month

Featuring songs by Joshua The I Am, Reason, Sun-EL Musician, Zonke, Solo & BETR Gang and more.

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 J Molley, Zonke, Reason, Rouge, Kwesta, Zoocci Coke Dope and more.

The list is in no particular order.


J Molley "Seven Bottles"

J Molley's life done changed. He's the youngest in club, sipping seven bottles. "Holy shit, think I just took a picture with your bitch/ New money, who this?/ New money 5 digits," he sings on the hook. "Seven Bottles" proves that less is more—the artist is succinct in giving an update of his life, using autotune in his own unique way.

Sun-EL Musician (feat. Simmy & Lelo Kamau) "Sonini"

Sun-EL Musician owned 2017 with "Akanamali," his collaboration with Samthing Soweto. His new album, Africa To The World, proves "Akanamali" wasn't beginner's luck. It's packed with heaters and "Sonini," the latest video single, is a dance floor-ready Afro house banger that deserves a spot in your playlist.

Solo & BETR Gang (ft. Reason, Kid X and Moozlie) "Caffeine And Other Drugs"

From a stellar album, Tour Dates, comes the first single which features three of the best rappers from the East Rand. Each rapper talks about their vices and addictions. In true Solo fashion, it's bars everywhere, and his guests deliver, too. Also, great music video.

Joshua The I Am "Glitch"

Joshua The I Am's latest video single stylistically references 2010 Drake. The artist croons about a relationship gone wrong in a clever way. Read more about Joshua The I Am here.

Shekhinah & Mr Eazi "Suited (Synx Remix)"

The remix of Shekhina's 2017 hit "Suited," features Nigeria's Mr Eazi. Nigerian producer SynX gives "Suited" a new life in which it leans towards Afro pop. Mr Eazi adds a new verse, which transforms the song into a great duet.

Una Rams "Girls Like You"

Una Rams' latest single, which was originally released in 2016, sees the man serenade us with his effortless vocals. The instrumental has subtle dub reggae sensibilities and makes the song an oxymoron in that it makes you happy when it talks about the ups and downs of love.

ProVerb "Heaven"

ProVerb's unmatched wordplay and storytelling shines in his latest single. The song sees the talented MC imagine what heaven looks like. He pays respect to fallen stars ranging from Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Hugh Masekela, Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou, Gugu Zulu and more. And in pure ProVerb style, he finds an engaging way to weave these people's stories together in such a way you can picture his version of heaven. He makes it look so easy, your fave probably thinks they can do it, too.

Rouge "Dololo" (ft. Big Star)

It's the thumping bassline by Wichi 1080 coupled with Rouge's charisma and dynamic delivery that make "Dololo." And that Big Star feature is just cherry on top. Solid song from an equally solid album.

Kwesta "Hyena"

On the video for his 2017 single, Kwesta chronicles his journey to the US to perform at SXSW. The song "Hyena" is Kwesta rapping like his life depends on it as he usually does.

Zonke Dikana "Tonight"

Zonke created a lane and she stuck to it. "Tonight" is replete with soul and wouldn't feel out of place on your party playlist too. It's the somber keys, the light-hearted bass and the reverb applied to her vocals that create the song's wholesome yet contradictory mood.

Zoocci Coke Dope & Yung Swiss "GLDN"

Two of the newest trappers, Zoocci Coke Dope and Yung Swiss, connect and the result is explosive. "GLDN" boasts a bassline that your ear will both love you for and complain about—it's colossal. And that electric guitar solo towards the end is what's right with the world.

Reason ft Swizz Beatz & Sibongile Khumalo

Reason, Swizz Beatz and jazz legend Sibongile Khumalo connect for a moddy collaboration that focuses on poverty, drug addiction and all the ills ordinary South Africans go through. "Azania" is somber in tone and Reason proves yet again that he's a lyrical monster.

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7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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