Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

With 'I Know What You Did Last Lockdown' beat-tape, Speeka encourages artists to keep creating "if not for your own sanity, then for the rest of the world."

Speeka Encourages Artists to Keep Creating With ‘I Know What You Did Last Lockdown’ Beat-Tape

South African producers team up for 'I Know What You Did Last Lockdown' beat-tape compiled by Speeka.

South African hip-hop producer Speeka invited fellow producers to submit beats they have created during the ongoing national lockdown enforced by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The end product is a recently released beat-tape featuring contributions from the likes of NapTune, TeezyOnTheBeat, DJ Pringle and others.

"The idea for the beat-tape came about literally a day or two before the lockdown began," says Speeka in an email to OkayAfrica. "I figured most beatmakers/producers like myself would be indoors making beats, so I might as well challenge everyone to keep creating and submit the beats they've done and turn it into a project."

Read: Meet Speeka, the Soweto-Based Producer Keeping Kasi Rap Alive

The sound on the 23-track I Know What You Did Last Lockdown varies from boom bap to trap, amapiano and other production styles.

South Africa has a long lineage of talented producers who have shaped the country's hip-hop sound. The lockdown has proven the perfect time for fans to appreciate artists they would normally overlook. The lockdown has given most people time to pay more attention to artists' contributions to music. For instance, the number of Instagram live battles have reminded fans of how far back some artists and producers' contributions go.

But the lockdown has been a challenging time for artists, just as it has for most working professionals. "The lockdown has been quite an experience," says Speeka. "Some days I get amped up and work for hours (on music and other stuff like script writing and video editing, etc). Other days I get all emo and uninspired and just get to thinking, 'damn, the world is really about to end?' An emotional roller coaster, basically."

Speeka encourages artists to just keep creating "if not for your own sanity, then for the rest of the world," adding, "It's clear that our work as artists in general plays a major role in the entire world being able to cope with what's been going down, so let's just keep at it."

Stream I Know What You Did Last Lockdown on SoundCloud.


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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