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Listen To This South African Kwaito Tribute To J Dilla

The South African collective SPAZABASS' EP 'Kwaito Dilla Jazz' consists of kwaito interpretations of J Dilla's beats.

On the last day of J Dilla Month, the South African collective SPAZABASS released a tribute to the late hip-hop and neo soul producer J Dilla. Titled Kwaito Dilla Jazz, the eight-track project consists of interpretations of some of Dilla's most iconic productions.


Slum Village's "Fall In Love" and "The Look of Love," A Tribe Called Quest's "Find A Way," Erykah Badu's "Didn't Cha Know," and a few others, all take a kwaito form on Kwaito Dilla Jazz. The band played around with the same samples Dilla used on those beats, chopped them and placed them between those bouncy old school kwaito rhythms, and not without a touch of jazz by way of live instrumentation and the boundless approach to production. Think of The Roots' Dilla Joints project, just without the kwaito.

The production is reminiscent of the rich soundscape that sways between house and kwaito with touches of jazz. It's a style that defined the kwaito/house duo Brothers of Peace's albums, especially the Zabalaza series: Zabalaza: Project A, B, C and D.

Read: Hip-Hop & Kwaito's Long Love-Hate Relationship

SPAZABASS is a collective which consists of renowned DJ and producer Papercutt and alternating session musicians Tshepo Venon Mokoena (guitar), Sizwe Maxwell Ndlovu (bass guitar) and Brian Minor (bass guitar). Papercutt, who also executive produced the project, handled the percussion, drums and sampler. The project's session engineer is Bekhi "B.MA" Magangane, while the man who mixes and masters most of your favorite SA rapper's projects Zeph worked his magic.

Kwaito Dilla Jazz is two-stroke nostalgia in that during J Dilla's prime, kwaito was also poppin' in South Africa. The two genres may not have seen eye-to-eye in the 90s and early 2000s, but they have since kissed and made up, and given birth to the subgenre new age kwaito. Kwaito Dilla Jazz is different from new age kwaito, however, in that it doesn't attempt to make a contemporary hip-hop and kwaito hybrid, but celebrates both genres in their vintage form. The catch is of course the fact that you haven't really heard a neo soul and kwaito blend. At least not one of this kind.

Listen to Kwaito Dilla Jazz below (or directly here) and follow Papercutt on Twitter.

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A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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