KABELO TSOAKO is convinced his neighbours hate him. Nothing screams conviction like two EPs, unambiguously titled My Neighbours Hate Me.
“I make a lot of noise wherever I live. I can imagine how my neighbours feel,” Tsoako tells me. I can’t imagine the annoyance one would have to live through, having a music producer right next door constantly making music, often in ungodly times.
But I doubt the same “loathing” neighbours imagine that, their noisemaking makhi is one of the country’s most slept on musicians.
Being slept on is,when not a lot of people have heard your material but once they do, they’ll admit that you’re dope. Being underrated on the other hand, is when your material is out there and everybody sees you, but no one considers you dope enough to be in the top five or whatever, said a friend of mine differentiating the two.
Young, gifted artists who put in the work, are rarely celebrated which can trigger mental issues in some creatives. But it’s fruitful for one’s mental state, to learn to define self, outside of their art. “I’m probably depressed three or four times a week [laughs]…but you gotta soldier on bro. I also think this mental health thing affects every artist differently.I know I make nicer music when I’m down and it’s all about trusting the process,” the producer also known as KaeB tells me.
With material that can sit well on most urban radio stations around the world, KaeB has consistently released music, under the radar for a couple of years now. The young man from Tembisa is currently pushing his single, Crown featuring Parley Wang also from the 1632. Crown is on KaeB’s six track EP My Neighbours Hate Me II that came out earlier this year.
He’s been making music since high school days, but ever since his #Cozyfridays where he dropped a track, at the end of each working week, he’s shown growth in his music and consistency.
“…I used these releases to challenge myself to make a song in a week, come up with an artwork and drop it on Friday sort of like a drill. This helped me understand how to rollout a release. The record label/agency transition happened when I had to release a compilation tape for all the #CozyFridays and I kinda just setup my own label/agency,” says KaeB.
The Stay Cozy Group is his brainchild, but he has an external management agency for bookings and his day to day management.
Slept one as the fella is, KaeB is beginning to reap the rewards of his sweat and consistency. His bouncy track Right Now with ECHLN and EMAMKAY has been receiving warm reception from those who’ve been fortunate to hear the re-released song which he first posted on his Soundcloud in Feb this year . While just over a year ago, a track he produced C&L by Melo B Jones, was on the Kaya FM playlist-still is.
“People do like what I’m putting out; I run into people who always have positive feedback about the music. I also think being more visible on social media this year helped a lot and that’s how I connected with ECHLN to redo Right Now and put it out.”
To date he’s released three projects since his first output, the Ruh Tape in 2012. His sound has grown with the pace of pubic hair in adolescence and with the graceful evolution of a caterpillar to a butterfly. When I first came across his music, he was a Hip Hop head who cut samples that would give Boom Bap rappers wet dreams. That was in 2012. In 2016 he produced a song that warranted him airplay on Joe Kay’s show on Soulection. It was a remix of Justine Bieber’s All That Matters. They also play his music on electro music label based in Singapore, Dakerthanwax.
The evolution of his sound is a result of his maturity as a listener of music, who constantly forces himself out of any box.
The Beat Makers Market took place last month in Joburg, which KaeB didn’t attend nor participate in. He never competes in beat making/producer competitions. “[Laughs] I peeped the ‘line-up’ and it was not my type of music. I’ve outgrown that style of music. I wouldn’t even enter such an event I’ll probably lose to someone who is currently making that type of style,” says KaeB.
Melodies and harmonies are a mainstay in all his music. Listening to the first My Neighbours Hate Me EP, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that dope lyrical rappers or any other artist could richly benefit from working with a producer like KaeB. Such collaborations would also dispel notions around beat making competitions which seem to be focus on just Boom-Bab beat makers.
On the same note, you will find that artists who get on these rich soulful, futuristic bouncy beats, do not do the music justice. The feeling of the song is often prioritised over its lyrical content. A balance is needed.
On his music making, KaeB says “The process varies with the mood but I always start with my drums and then I’ll add the melodies and harmonies. I’ve also made it a habit to add a hook, mostly me singing as an idea that I can build on later on.”
Hearing beautiful music come together is a joy. That’s the reason I don’t think KaeB’s neighbours hate him. In fact, the EPs probably should’ve been called I Think My Neighbours Hate Me, because quite frankly, no one from next door has complained to his face about the noise he makes.
· Apart from him, KaeB says these are some of the producers to keep an eye on in the near future. Sheeesh. Skinniez, Tsukudu, Ctea, Tweezy, Trust B1, Benny, Wichi1080 , Enkei, Sptmbr Yngstr, Daev Martian , ECHLN, Hi-Lux, Gina Jeanz, Ben Rasco, Broken Transient, Muzi, Vthevowel and Zuks.
LIKE properly stored muffins in the fridge, The Muffinz band hasn’t lost its freshness despite not having released an album in nearly four years now.
2015’s Do What You Love was their last project, which was akin to their rebellious stage in how they experimented with their sound by simply doing what they love. “We’re growing and learning, but that comes from understanding you don’t know something until you’ve gone in and impacted a change in it…and we’re in making our change, but not as imagined, the force of being rebellious needs to be balanced out with wisdom to create love,” says the Muffinz’s Sifiso ‘Atomza’ Buthelezi.
The band released a single earlier this year, Where You Are, which is a love ditty with strong elements of Naija’s afro beat, together with the Muffinz’s soul carrying it. When the song came out, fans expected a project to follow it. “We’ve been working with younger artists and publishing their songs, we plan on releasing that mixtape before our own album, that’ll come whenever we decide,” Atomza tells me. The Muffinz now have their own publishing and entertainment company, Aural Sense.
They had the Where You Are tour this year which saw them hit various places. “Swaziland and KZN are always great, with us having four sold out shows in a single weekend. This shows the hunger for live music and change from the doof doof on the airwaves.” They also played at Wolf and Co in Tsakane.
Today they’ll be in Tembisa’s Lekaneng Lifestyle Market. This isn’t part of the tour, since that was wrapped up in Nelspruit at the Casambo lodge. This will be the Muffinz’s first performance in Tembisa, despite Atomza saying they played Busy Corner in the past- the latter is technically not in Tembisa, but falls under Midrand.
“Hosting the Muffinz for the first time in Tembisa is part of a pioneering ideas that we have,” says co-owner of Tembisa’s Lekaneng Lifestyle Market, Shibombi Baloyi. “The Muffinz have a fresh perspective on life through their music. We believe they are a breath of fresh air Tembisa needs right now.”
About a year ago the band held a farewell ceremony for their bassist, Karabo ‘Skabz’ Moeketse who decided to leave the group. They’ve had to adjust to life without the quiet Skabz, but have roped in a bassist for their recordings and performances, not a replacement. “The integrity of the music is what concerns us most. Our current bassist received lessons from Skabz and thus in a way, the mantle and power was transferred in the esoteric sense,” Atomza.
BEING one of the last performers last month at the Moshito Music conference has worked to Musa Mashiane’s favour, as that showing landed him a gig in Mauritius, where he performs tonight.
“They[Mauritius Music Expo organisers] discovered me at Moshito, I was the second last act on the day and everyone was blown away. They were so impressed, since then we’ve kept in touch and they had already told me they were gonna have the expo this weekend” says Mashiane exclusively speaking to Tha Bravado from Mauritius about how he landed the gig to represent Southern African countries at the music expo.
You can imagine, an expo with international guests, a line-up had already put together by last month, but Mashiane has forced the organisers to make adjustments for him. “They asked if I’d be keen to come because they are so in love with my music.”
Taking place for the second year, the Mauritius Music Expo (MOMIX)’s aim is to facilitate an exchange of culture and knowledge between local and international musicians, producers, festival organisers and media through conferences, showcases performances and workshops. Mashiane joins a diverse line-up which features France’s Pierre Nesta and local Ziwala among others.
Mashiane landed yesterday, and apart from tonight’s performance he will also take part in a street festival tomorrow while Sunday he’ll be in studio to collaborate with two artists, Mauritian Eric Triton and India’s Lakshman Das Baul. “They are also on the line-up, but I met them e Moshito, we spoke about doing a song together so Sunday that’s what we’re gonna be doing. I’m coming back on Tuesday and before I leave, ngi ngene e studio and maybe do one song.”
Situated 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius is one of the continent’s most beautiful countries and the musician from Mpumalanga has enjoyed how he has been received so far on the island. “Hopefully on Monday I get a chance to relax, because the hotel we’re sleeping in is quite beautiful. There’s a beach inside the hotel, but I haven’t been to the beach because I’ve been quite busy. Hopefully I can go there and wash-off all the bad luck,” quips Mashiane.
Since his return is midweek, this rules out his performance at this Sunday’s Action Painting event at 4ROOM. Action Painting is a monthly event which takes place at 4ROOM gallery in Tembisa each month. This weekend’s line-up features vocalist Towela and band, Trio.
Mashiane is one of the organisers together with MK and Bongani Xego. “I won’t be able to attend this weekend but everything is in order. I so wish I was there but I’m having fun here because I’m still representing this side. So it’s a win-win.”
There’s nothing worse than planning an outfit in your head and realizing that the key component of your outfit looks like you just came from digging graves.
Call them what you will, whether it’s iBathu, Kicks, iSpova or whether it’s the classic Takkies. We all love our shoes and let’s admit it, keeping them clean isn’t the easiest thing to do.
It’s a matter of how time consuming the effort of washing them is. But with the new age aesthetic that come with shoes there’s techniques and products that comes with keeping your kicks fresh.
Enter Drop Shoe, the future of premium footwear hygiene. Founded in 2017 by Lethabo Komane in Tembisa, after having washed his older brother’s sneakers over the years and developing a clientele with his brother’s friends Komane saw a gap in an already existing market. Thus Drop Shoes was born and has since grown from strength to strength with only under 2 years in existence.
With limited resources, his passion for business and together with his homies Smash, Banele and Tebza footwear hygiene in Tembisa found a home in Drop Shoe. The guys have really changed the narrative of self employment in the township by not only employing guys from their community but also having young interns during school holidays to teach entrepreneurship to teens.
Drop Shoe has since grown from just a sneaker cleaning outlet to a premium clientele service provider at an affordable price. With the most beautiful and friendly service that makes you feel at home and at ease with leaving your kicks. They also offer shoe repair, backpack and cap washing. With their impeccable work ethic and professionalism Drop Shoe‘s growth potential is exponential. So show your support to the homies and enter them at parties with fresh clean kicks.
KASI lama kasi can never be a hood’s nickname. Everyone rightfully punts their neighbourhood as the coolest black area. But each township in South Africa has a nickname, approved by its people, which sometimes ties to the history of the place.
I was chilling with a fella this past weekend who told me he was from Vutha. You know when you’ve heard something before, but don’t know exactly know what it is. I went blank and asked where that is. “It’s Daveyton,” he said.
“Because it was the first township in Gauteng to get electricity,” he said. I thought he was bullshitting me, really. I’ve met many people who’ll talk-up their hoods, to a point of which they get frustratingly economical with the truth. But after doing some research, I found that, what he said is true.
Established in 1952, after about 151,656 people were moved from Benoni, to what we know today as Vutha or Etwatwa. It was indeed, the first black area to access ugesi.
The president of the Greater Alexandra Chamber of Commerce (Galxcoc), Mpho Motsumi last year bemoaned to the media, while taking them around the construction site of the R500-million Alex Mall in Tsutsumani Village. What got the business man cranky, was that people still call Alex, Gomorrah- ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ a biblical reference of place linked to hell because of the prevalence of debauchery in the area. Rappers like Flabba popularised the name in recent times, but it’s been a name associated with the township for decades now. There was a time when Alex had a high crime rate, a coupled with the lawless gangsterism that was in the area-despite political movements happening there.
Some nicknames aren’t linked to the township’s past, but are just tweaked so to make the place a tad bit cooler. I’m not certain whether it was a collective agreement but, shortening hood names seems to be the winning formula in most parts of Pretoria. For Mamelodi there’s Mams, Soshanguve which is situated on the north is commonly known as Sosha, even to us who don’t call it home. While the ‘Ga’ in Ga-Rankuwa seems a waste of two precious seconds, so Rankuwa is the more efficient one for residents.
Sowetans have also opted for something similar. Calling the south western townships Sotra. While the number of townships within that area, have nicknames of their own. Guguletu in Cape Town also just switched the swag and just called it, Gugs.
In KwaZulu-Natal, KwaMashu is nicknamed Es’nqawunqawini while Clermont is known as Es’komplazi. Ekurhuleni Township Tsakane, which is a Tsonga word for happiness and joy, is nicknamed Mashona.
If Tembisa was a gang, those thugs would tattoo 1632 on their bodies. What is it? Tembisa’s postal code my friend. Insipid as a postal code is, the youth in Tembisa, particularly those in the Hip Hop community, popularised it in the mid-90s. Tembisa’s older generation and also those who aren’t in the Hip Hop community,still prefer to call it Mambisa. Other hoods that have gone with the number are Kagiso with 1754, Thokoza 1421 or Vosloorus’s 1425. I’ve found that this is a trend, also adopted by Hip Hop heads in other hoods. A random person doesn’t say they are from 1563, they simply say they are from KwaThema, or just Thema.
The common thread in all these townships, sadly is that they were formed after black people were forcefully removed from some areas, to be crammed in one place right near their modern day fields of slavery. But black people have taken what was meant to trap and prison them, and found the beauty in it.