DJ Zinhle

Clement Gama07/26/2019

YOU hear Bad Boy Records and instantly think New York. The mention of Death Row jogs one’s memory to Los Angeles, California.  But Kalawa Jazmee is synonymous with all townships in all of South Africa. In the 25 years of Nelson Mandela’s democratic South Africa, no record company has been the soundtrack to kasi life as Kalawa Jazmee.

The record company was found through a feud between two stables, Trompies Jazzmee Records and Kalawa Records. The former was co-owned by Spikiri, Mahoota, M’jokes and Bruce while the latter’s owners were Oskido, Don Laka and DJ Christos-who departed in 1995. The dispute was over ownership of Trompies hit song Sigiya Ngengoma.

They’ve gone on to churn out more hit songs as one independent company for more than two decades now, telling stories from the township while making us dance. They’ve introduced and developed a slew of artists like Busiswa, Alaska, Professor, DJ Zinhle, Dr Malinga, Heavy K, Tira, Big Nuz and so many more. It is fitting that this year’s Delicious Festival will honour Kalawa Jazmee’s 25th anniversary.

But if one were to have a Kalawa Jazmee All Stars, many would agree that these five make the starting five.









I know that sometimes one has to fake it until they make it, but I just cannot deal with the fake, especially those who are fake for their own sake. Kiernan Forbes is not AKA, he is too calculating to be such an unapologetic asshole with a narcissistic personality disorder, and I cannot listen to this public persona for 16 songs straight in a single sitting.  Fuck that!

AKA’s boastful swag is taken as inspiration by most of his youthful fan base and I don’t mind it when someone takes pride in the fruits of their own labour but everything has its limits.

This is made worse by the fact that almost all the songs in his new project, Touch my blood, are over four and half minutes long and filled with conceited and egomaniacal verses, which I suspect is due to the fact that it has been almost four years since he dropped an album, leading to an overdeveloped body of work. The man cannot stop telling us how awesome he is, making it clear I’m the one they aim at…we don’t pay the same tax…we ain’t in the building! …rappers in a wack place…niggers got bad taste…try to give me handshakes…I don’t ever feel them on the curiously named song Magriza, which is a boom bappy juggernaut of a joint.

On the record Fully In he stays flossing Niggers askin’ were your hands at…Phillip Ndoe…my closet is full of carture…yours is full of manure. I understand that AKA’s boastful swag is taken as inspiration by most of his youthful fan base and I don’t mind it when someone takes pride in the fruits of their own labour but everything has its limits. He exceeds these limits in his latest offering, always referencing his greatness relative to how shitty everyone else’s life is. I can take it in small doses but I cannot do it over an entire project, especially a project this long.

Don’t get me wrong the man is an aesthetic genius, his visuals are top notch and the melodies he selects almost always deliver in the dimensions of uniqueness and bounce. I personally would have preferred him giving us more pieces of himself in his work beyond the consistent references of his heart break and love for Bonang, which is done almost purely for its marketing value.

With all that said this is one of the best Hip-hop projects to ever come out of Mzansi and I predict that Kiernan will be stacking them madibas to the ceiling in the coming spring and summer, which unfortunately means we can look forward to more conceited content in his records.

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