The past two weeks have been an exciting time for all music lovers, with album releases of many genres making their way onto local airwaves. You can support local artists and listen to their fresh new sounds by buying their work. Below are five exceptional albums you definitely need to get your hands on!
Mandela Money is Jozi rapper Da L.E.S’s latest studio offering, which features 16 songs – two of which have already become chart toppers since the album’s release on 4 July. Da L.E.S’s second studio album was initially scheduled for release in December last year but was delayed because the rapper wanted to perfect and polish up Mandela Money, most likely to avoid the bad ratings his first offering received.
He certainly delivers a more mature sound with thought-provoking lyrics, however, he also has songs which appeal to the urban youth on chasing money, loving girls and being a prominent figure on the party scene.
The album already has two club bangers which were released late last year and January this year. Heaven featuring AKA and Maggz, and Fire – currently on Gagasi FM’s Top 10 list – are good examples of the kind of sound and lyricist Da L.E.S is.
The launch party, which was held on 15 June, featured performances by some of the most notable rappers right now, namely AKA and Khuli Chana, who are also featured in the album. The album is available at Musica for R86.
The self-proclaimed South African king of hip hop, AKA, celebrated six months of 2014 by releasing his much anticipated album Levels. The album initially debuted on iTunes on 20 June and was only available as a pre-order. However it is now available for purchase from Musica for R99.99. It reached number one on the iTunes SA hip hop chart minutes after its release, which is unprecedented in the South African hip hop industry. The album’s first single “Congratulate”, has also been a success.
‘Run Jozi’ featuring Teargas rapper K.O. is the latest offering from the album. When asked how he feels about his latest masterpiece AKA said, “While there is no doubt that other local releases will be dope, none of them will be different. I’m proud to be pushing boundaries and challenging myself to make even better music. This album is for everyone who has achieved something positive in their lives.”
Levels delivers a high standards of beat production and lyrics which show off the rapper’s growth as well as his level of skill which has earned him the great honour of sharing the stage with some of the world’s biggest rappers, namely Kendrick Lamar, Neyo, D’Banj and Rick Ross. One of AKA’s representatives and Vth Season director, Raphael Benza, said prior to the album’s release, that Levels will showcase AKA’s verbal acuity and will certainly be well received by those who are celebrating various successes and milestones in their lives.
iTunes South Africa has just unleashed their second exclusive release, Deep House Chronicles vol. 1, a digital album only available from itunes.comsoulcandi for R59.99. Soul Candi has always been at the forefront of releasing the country’s most successful house albums. The 45-track album includes songs by most of the house music industry’s top DJs and you can expect club bangers such as Bah Samba’s ‘Moonlight’, Racido’s ‘Brighter Days’ and Da Capo’s ‘In Need’, among others. Other artists who stand out are Atjazz, Andre Lodemann and The Steals, making their debut on a Soul Candi disc.
A band that’s just popped up on the scene with their unexpected sound are Bye Beneco. The band has just released their debut album Space Elephant. After gaining momentum on the Cape Town and Johannesburg live music scene, the band decided to head into studio and give their fans a well deserved EP. Songs that have helped the band gain momentum include ‘Vampire’, ‘Overwhelm’ and ‘The Snow’. Their unique indie folk rock sound won’t have them mistaken for ‘just another hippy band with a narrow sound’, but rather something fresh with a synaesthesia-inducing journey of psychedelic and spiritual sounds. Although a challenging album to listen to, Space Elephant isn’t mainstream but definitely has the potential to appeal to a broad audience.
Band members Lenny-Dee Doucha, Jenny Dison and Bergen Nielson all agree that the album’s unique sound is a testament to the band’s record label Just Music. Expect to hear a complex, layered compilation that draws inspiration from different genres, from hip hop beat foundations to rock sounds lain over, topped off with impressive and haunting vocals by Doucha and Dison. “We’re an alternative band,” says Dison. “But what does that even mean? I mean anything that isn’t pop is alternative really. We have so many elements to our sound that to call us one thing or another would be to pigeonhole us,” she adds. Space Elephant is available from leading music outlets for R124.
Mr ‘Doc Shebeleza’ himself is hyping us up for his debut album Tsholofelo, which hits stores at the end of July. This is Cassper Nyovest’s latest offering which took three years to record and put on the table. Expect to hear hip hop and Motswako lyrical genius in this much anticipated 19-track album. The hype surrounding the release of this rap masterpiece is growing by the day as Cassper reveals the artists and producers that have been involved in the making of his first offering. The producers of the album include Ricky Rick, SAMA award-winner Uhuru and Ganja Beatz – so fans are in for a treat.
In April 2013 Cassper released Gusheshe. In January 2014 he released Doc Shebeleza and last week gave us Phumakim, all of which have made it to number one on radio charts and will also be featured in the album. The album is due out on 31 July, however the most stand out aspect of it is having Nigerian composer Masterkraft on a few beats. His production credits include Wizkid and Sarkodie.
You can also expect The Order’s Brian Soko, who co-produced Beyonce’s critically acclaimed ‘Drunk In Love’, on the album–quite impressive for a first-timer on the music scene. Other rappers you can expect to hear on the album include HHP, iFani, PRO, Okmalumkoolkat and more. The album artwork was released on 10 June. It features an illustration of Cassper’s portrait designed by street artist Freshboi. Phumakim is said to be the highlight of the album as it addresses the criticism that celebrities receive on social media. It makes references to his highly publicized feud with rapper AKA.
The beat for Phumakim was originally made for American rapper Future, but he declined, and the rights to it were then sold to Cassper. This single alone got 15,000 downloads within minutes of its release, going on to trend on Twitter in both SA and the UK. This will undoubtedly be one of the country’s biggest music successes this year.
If you’re a fan of the abovementioned artists and producers then head over to the Cape Town World Music Festival from 18 to 19 July at the City Hall where some of these artists will be performing live. Expect brilliantly lit stages, illuminating music by the likes of Thandiswa Mazwai, DJ Clock, Beatenberg, The Brother Moves On, Okmalumkoolkat and many more. Tickets are available from Computicket and www.ctwmf.com for R280. All profits made from the festival will go to charity.
Source : GroundUp