During one of those unplanned music sessions we had at home just purely appreciating good music we were in awe at how good upcoming artists from Chicago are. Someone even said, “there must be something on that that Chicago water.” I mean we’re counting Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins, Noname (Noname Gypsy) Vic Mensa, Saba, Smino… the list goes on. Some of these aren’t even upcoming artists anymore, at least in the U.S.
I could now say the very same thing about the Durban music industry, the artistry side of it. Never has been there a time where this City has been this rich with talent that is growing in popularity. By popularity I mean I could stay in central Durban and know and enjoy music of an artist from the North or South part of Durban. I will meet people I have no mutual friends with and find we actually listen to the same ‘local’ artists from the City. I don’t know how common this was back in the day but today, obviously with social media, music travels fast. Good music travels faster, and Durban artists have been cooking some really dope shit.
Some of you may not know some of these names, some of you may, but here’s a short list of artists that have made Durban my South African Chicago when it comes to music right now.
- Nasty C. Nasty is no longer an upcoming artist. It would be disrespect to even suggest he is one. After the major damage he caused with Juice Back in the industry, by the time Capetonians were seeing it on tv, Durbanites with interest of local artists and hip hop heads from the city were already whispering about the song, they were already discussing a kid who goes by name Nasty C. By then the industry was waiting for a new prince. No offense but I personally felt like there was a huge gap for a rapper who is inclined lyrically but still trippy and wavey enough to excite a crowd. And Nasty came and did just that. He ‘disrespected’ (Sway) the industry
- Babes Wodumo. Again, another one who is well settled in the industry now and, like Nasty C, has had a nod even from the BET Awards. Titled as a National Asset, she literally single-handedly blew up Gqom music in SA, with one song. One hit song, and yea Fakhi, Babes deserved at least one award for this.
- OKMALUMKOOLKAT. Many people slept on Mlazi Milano. When the Amalobo visuals dropped, I’d imagine a lot of people went back to listen to it. When I first heard the album, Amalobo was a leading favorite from the beginning. I always felt it could have done well for the album over Gqi. But then again, not many artists drop something slow tempo as the first single before dropping an album. The album is finally receiving, even more, love after the visuals eSlowjam saseMlazi.
Distruction Boyz. I can’t think of a bigger Gqom song than Madness right now. The consistency is so appreciated after their first single Shut Up and Groove.
To the list of artists to look out for:
Shekhinah. After Idols SA, she has really started establishing her name in the music industry.
Raheem Kermet. If you love lyricism, and a funky hip hop sound, this is the guy for you. On September he displays both his amazing ability to rap and sing. We will simply let the song do the talking:
Celestial Mic. With his first single Medicine making rounds on radio, the Durban born Trapper gave music lovers something that was missing in the industry. Pure trap music, no gimmicks. This is one of those songs a club residential DJ that plays Trap/Hip Hop has to have on their set.
Moonchild Sanelly. Originally from the Eastern Cape, and moved to Durban to Study Design, we are proud to claim Moonchild! Ha ha! There is no way to box this artist, she stands out with her own style, and her single Rabubi is a prime example of the type of music she creates.
Rhea Blek. Rhea set the tone for the month of October for me when she dropped her EP, THIIIRD WAV. I couldn’t believe my ears when I was listening to this three track EP. It was the most colorful thing I have heard since Chance’s Coloring Book. Only she colored it the Rhea Blek way, with influence of Jazz, Funk, a bit of Dubstep. Type of shit that makes you want to jam. At a time where most South African female vocalists are squeezed into Afro Pop, House Music or R&B, she sounds like she has found her own genre, that I can best define as singing in floetry, with a hint of rap especially on Clyde.
She explains the concept of the EP here:
Palm Tree Paradise. Unbelievable is still one of my all time favorite songs to come out of of Durban, along with the next track, Sunday by Loki ft Neo Ndawo. Unbelievable is just one of those songs that came out right in every way. I remember watching Palm Tree Paradise perform it live at Sessions in UKZN, Howard College. ‘Ngfun’ ubaycikile noguduza though…’ this rang in my head the whole day and I just had to get this song!
Loki. Loki finally dropped the visuals for his hit single Sunday, ft Neo Ndawo, who is growing as one of the most respected producers in the city right now.
I know there are sooo many more other notable artists that I’ve missed. Do comment on our Facebook Page and mention other artists that are to be checked out from Durban!