Radioactive Hip Hop 1.0
//HHP & Pro Tribute; Bonafide; Victor Ateka; ASAPH; Mariachi; AWA; Dumi Right; Munetsi; Phlow; Teck Zilla; Raiza Biza & Remi; Lupe Fiasco//
Wassup wassup fam. I hope y'all are doing good and liking the new blog. We've finally managed to get the first Radioactive Hip hop article off the ground, because we couldn't wait any further to update you on what's been happening on the Hip hop scene. So, we'll get straight into this jam packed article by first paying our tribute to 2 South African Hip Hop legends who passed away this year: Linda Mkhize - "Pro" (formerly known as Pro Kid) and more recently Jabulani Tsambo - HHP "Hip Hop Pantsula" (also known as Jabba).
PRO died due to a rare cause of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract in August, and HHP is said to have committed suicide as he had been dealing with depression late in October. They both played a significant role in the South African Hip hop industry, as well as inspiring and paving the way for many of the well known rappers that we know and listen to today. It's been a great loss for the Hip Hop community, and we hope that their souls rest in peace. The Radioactive Blog decided to share 5 of our favourite tracks from each rapper - tracks that they either produced or featured on.
The Radioactive Blog's HHP & Pro Fave 10 Tracklist:
1. PRO - Soweto (Listen)
2. HHP - Past Time ft. Casper Nyovest, KG & Omar (Watch)
3. PRO - Uthini NgoPro (Watch)
4. HHP - Dream Girl ft. Asheru, Omar & Teepee (Watch)
5. PRO - Makasana (Watch)
6. HHP - Mpitse (Watch)
7. Duncan - Khayalami ft. PRO, Zakwe & Red Button (Watch)
8. HHP & M.anifest - Jigah (Watch)
9. Blaklez - Freedom or Fame Reloaded ft. Reason & PRO (Watch)
10. Proverb - Bread winners ft. HHP (Watch)
The death of HHP has sparked a huge debate in South Africa on the issue of depression and suicide, and you can read more about it here. The SA Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) said it has been receiving an influx of calls (after his death) from people who feel "helpless‚ hopeless and desperate" and in need of help for depression and suicide (read more here). On the other hand, it's quite sad that the ongoing family drama that's now taking place has now taken spotlight over his death.
Moving on, while still in SA, we got "Bonafide" - a member of the Last Days Fam's clique - who's dropped 2 singles lately. The first one "Slay Queens"(Listen) and the most recent one "Arise"(Listen). These are dope joints not only because of the beat selection and the lyrical skill that the songs possess, but also the message behind the music. Last Days Fam is known for producing uplifting music, so after you bump to these joints, I'm sure you'll probably be interested in copping their latest album "Dissent". If I was asked which song I prefer between "Slay Queens" and "Arise", I would say "Slay Queens". The track is definitely a beautiful mellow take on the slaying culture that has been trending for a while. Having witnessed the struggle of black people in the hood and their need to be accepted, Bonafide saw it fit to also address this social ill through the track "Arise".
Moving onto Bloemfontein, the city witnessed the launch of "Scatterbrained Nostalgia" by the upcoming rapper "Victor Ateka". The launch was a success, which was held at Pitseng Restaurant. His definitely a rapper you should keep an eye on. My favourite joints on the tape are "Colour Blinds" and "Remember the name", but overall I feel like he's still got a long way to go (However for a first mix-tape, I believe he did a great job, so his next project can only get better, and the good thing is that he's on the right direction). His beat selection was also on point, and to be honest, for some reason this tape made me reminisce of some of Lupe's old tapes. You can listen to Victor's Mix-tape here.
Now we're going to head over to Zimbabwe, and we're going to start with Mr. Mambo himself "ASAPH", all the way in the city of Kings - Bulawayo ( I miss this city so much). ASAPH recently dropped his latest single "Good Times Anthem"(Download) - and I think it's safe to say that this is the jam for December. I first listened to it just before knocking off from work last week Friday, then had no choice but to put it on repeat on my way back home, and besides, it was a Friday after all. I'm really loving the consistency that's coming from The Boy ASAPH (as well as other Zim rappers) lately. About 6 years ago, it almost seemed like one had to be lucky to be consistently exposed to good hip hop from the city each month, but now, peeps are dropping heat left right and centre. For those that haven't checked out the track "Mambo" by ASAPH, then this link is specifically for you (Watch "Mambo" - ASAPH ft. Tha Dawgg & Fish F McSwagg).
If you're looking for a joint that will be a soundtrack to your December moves, then "Good Times Anthem" is probably the perfect vibe for you - YEYEYEYE!!!
Still in Zim, but heading over to the capital city, Mariachi Mzukuru dropped "Toda Mabasa", a track that hits home on so many levels. He teamed up with the talented Tinashe Makura, and damn, there's so much truth in this joint I'm sure Zimbo's (not only those in Zim, but also those in the diaspora) would agree that they resonate with it. I love it when Hp hop artists don't just rap about real life situations in their communities, but they do so in the most creative and lyrical ways that they can. The Lyric video is dope, the artwork is dope, the beat is dope, the chorus is dope, and the lyrics in vernacular are hella dope too.
The song is basically a "sad narrative of the current disposition of Zimbabwe, with millions suffering with no jobs and hope for a brighter future", and it features on his sophomore album "Mzukuru". The album has been recently nominated in the #GlamAwards BEST HIP-HOP ALBUM category, so if you believe in the project don't hesitate to drop your vote here (I've already cast my vote). You can stream/ download the album here. These are the links to the track "Mariachi - Toda Mabasa ft. Tinashe Makura" (Download/ Listen / Watch Lyric Video).
To be honest, if it wasn't for Plot Mhako sharing the track cover on his timeline, I may not have come across the track yet, so shout out to him. Plot has also been pushing EarGroundZW which is a music website that offers information on Zimbabwean Artists and new music, with interviews and reviews. You can check out the site here.
I'm now gonna go all the way to Germany, to update you on an African Woman Arising to great heights. Yes, AWA - "Awa Khiwe" recently dropped " Snqandamathe "(Listen) , and even Checkout Africa admitted that it was great jam. This song is a "Zimbabwean love song which was inspired by Ndebele pet names that were used during her parents teenage days. While currently rap music is dominated by songs about luxury brands, alcoholic drinks or successful footballer, this is nostalgic about a time Awa Khiwe was living in a village in Matabeleland, where life was easy and teenagers dreamt about innocent relationships, where material things didn’t matter." For those who are wondering what Snqandamathe means, I'll leave that up to you find out. lol (if you navigate through AWA's Facebook posts, you'll eventually find the meaning.
I love the energy behind the beat and the chants, and as usual AWA'S vibrant and enthusiastic flow. She recently performed in London at Rich Mix London with GRRRL (an electronic music collaboration between revolutionary women, brought together by 'In Place of War'). I still can't wait for her to drop her album (I don't know how long I can be patient for, because I've seen a couple of snippets of her performing some/ most of her unreleased joints, so I really can't wait to listen to all of them). It's great to see how she's growing in the industry, and I'm sure she's a great inspiration to many back in Bulawayo.
On to the next artist, but still with a connection related to Zimbabwe, we got the Washington DC based rapper - Dumi Right - who a few months ago dropped his latest album "Doing it the right way" (Download/ Listen). He's a member of Zimbabwe Legit (one of the first African hip hop groups to gain international recognition back in the day). The album got dope beats & rhymes featuring appearances from hip hop luminaries such as Mike G (Jungle Brothers), Mr. Lif, YZ, Toki Wright, and more. My favourite jams on the album are "Progress", "Nightfall ft. Mr. Lif", "Go get that" and both "Great Mindz" remixes .I really love the creativity behind the album artwork, and rumour has it that he'll be dropping a video soon, so be on the look out for that.
He's been keeping his fans preoccupied with his traffic Jam bars which you can check out on his Facebook page, and if you don't have his previous project "Connect the dots", you can get it here. One of my all time favourite joints has to be "Are you ready for this" which features Outspoken and MC Pep (and you can check out the video here too).
Going back to the capital city of Zimbabwe, we've been blessed with Mu Sessions over the past few months, so it would be an injustice for me not to share with you some of the content that Munetsi has been spitting. He's undoubtedly one of Zimbabwe's best lyricists. Mu Sessions is a smorgasbord of visual performances. In Episode Seven - his latest session and my favourite so far - Mu Netsi performs his tribute to Synik, one of the greatest Zimbabwean MCs.
I think I'll only do an injustice if I try to describe this session, so the only thing I'll say is, press play, and feel free to "share, subscribe, like, follow and most importantly, enjoy the culture in one of its most crystallised forms."
Alright. Let's now head over to Nigeria, because Phlow recently dropped a mini-EP "ASUAI Vol. 2"(Watch/ Listen), which is accompanied by some really smooth visuals. The 4 track EP visuals are a 4 act show that depicts Phlow as 4 different individuals. Each track-scene is captured in a classroom, which acts as a motif throughout the playlist., which is something I haven't seem someone do before so that's quite cool and creative. She is gradually learning and growing in every scene as depicted by the different characters she portrays: From the naive “Stephanie” , cynical “Asuai” to the devil may care “Phlow” and finally the matured “Ms Eyime”
My favourite joint has to be the 4th track "BYOH - Be Your Own Hero". It's quite difficult not to fall in love with the mellow beats on the EP produced by Montreal's Dr. MaD, so this is the type of EP I could listen to on a chilled-vibe Sunday afternoon. It was really dope to also see that Dead End Hip Hop featured the EP on their site as well, but I'm not surprised, because that should be normal for a rapper of her calibre (plus, she definitely packs vivid imagery, engaging storytelling, and emotionally stirring nostalgia into her latest project). This EP will most probably leave you wanting to listen to more of Phlow's work, so don't hesitate to also check out Str8buttah TV.
Still on the Nigerian and Str8buttah link , we got Teck Zilla who dropped his latest beat tape "Summer Zilla": "This is the soul-drenched, sun-kissed - 10 track -new beat tape from Nigerian-based beat-smith. The way he flips samples will leave crate diggers yearning for more while heads of all ages will no doubt use this as their next warm-weather excursion. Whether you’re experiencing dreadfully high temperatures or lucking out with some cool breezes right now, 'Summer Zilla' is your new soundtrack." Teck-Zilla dropped the tape a couple months ago, and my favourite beats gotta be "843645", "Vanilla Drenched" and "Beaucoup".
Teck is one producer who never disappoints when it comes to beats and sampling (and although I'm not a producer, he's inspired some of the beats I've produced. lol). If you''re not familiar with his work, you should probably start by listening to "Audio Chemistry- 1st period" (Listen). After bumping to Phlow's ASUAI's Vol. 2, it's safe to safe to say that you can add "Summer Zilla" to your playlist, sit back, relax and enjoy. You can stream / Download the beat tape here.
I did say that it would be a jam packed article, but we're almost at the end. We now just going to New Zealand to check out what Raiza Biza (From Rwanda) has been up to. He recently worked with Remi and Black Milk on the Black Hole Sun EP (Stream/ Download). I agree with Apple Music's Editor when he said "Individually, their fearless approaches to heavy topics and experimental sounds have made Remi and Raiza Biza two of the most compelling boundary-pushers in Australia and New Zealand’s respective hip-hop scenes." Ladies and Gentlemen, when these 2 rappers come together, and work with Detroit’s legendary hip hop and production maestro "Black Milk", we can only expect fire.
It was difficult to choose my favourite tracks from the 6 track EP because I vibe with all of them, however I must say the first four tracks are the songs are vibe with the most. It was great to see Sampa The Great also featuring in the EP. There's a video for the first track on the EP "Runner"which features Melbourne rapper Baro which you can watch here. This track is a high tempo, beat driven out-an-out hip hop track with dynamic production and hooks throughout, and shows why Black Milk is one of hip hop’s most respected producers (as well as why Remi and Raiza Biza are some of the most exciting emcees coming out of the Southern Hemisphere).If you're in Australia, then make sure you catch these 2 rappers on the Black Hole Sun tour - You can find more info about the tour here.
Last but not least, I gotta talk about #DrogasWave . Damn... The concept behind this album blew my mind away, not once, but a couple of times to a point where I lost count. I think so far, Dead End Hip Hop was one of the only few people that have managed to kinda break down the album so that it's easier for us to consume or digest. lol. I personally think this is Lupe Fiasco's greatest masterpiece.
This is Lupe's 7th album which he dropped late in September this year, and Lord knows he did justice to it. The album is over an hour long, so it almost feels like a movie, about a thesis, on slave trade and alternate realities. "#DrogasWave is basically a double album, split into two parts: DROGAS & WAVE. WAVE is part 1 (disc1) & deals with the myth of the LongChains. DROGAS is part 2 (disc2) & deals with a myriad of subjects including drugs, rappity raps & human resilience in the face of ruin. The discs are meant to be listened to as separate bodies of work whoever they also work as one continuous piece. DROGAS is Spanish for Drugs which is used as an acronym for the overall theme of the album: 'Don't Ruin Us God Said' ".
So, in a nutshell, this album is based on a story about a group of slaves that jumped off of a slave ship transporting them from Africa, but the slaves did not drown; instead they somehow managed to live under the sea. They spent the rest of their underwater existence sinking slave ships. Not every track emulates the whole story on slave trade and slave-ships, however I think the common theme is freedom, and how we can set ourselves free if we look at our situations from a different perspective/ alternative reality. It's ironic that this album is also Lupe's first independent album, so it blows m mind how the album also can relate to him being no longer a slave to Atlantic Records.
My favourite tracks on the album are "Manilla", "Kindom ft. Damina Marley", "Cripple", "Jonylah and Alan Forever", "King Nas", "XO ft. Troi Irons" and "Haile Selassie ft. Nikki Jean". I also gotta say that my favourite line in the whole album is from the track Manilla when Lupe said "You can accomplish anything if you survive blackness". This is another album that I can listen to without skipping a track even the first track that's in Spanish. lol You can check out a thorough review of the album on Hot New Hip Hop's website and DJ Booth, and Download / Stream Drogas Wave here.
And we have finally come to the end of our first Radioactive Hip Hop article on our new site, and I'm sure that you now have enough dope Hip Hop to push you through till the end of the year (we'll definitely be bringing you the second Hip Hop article in December though). Do feel free to let me know what you think of the tracks, tapes and albums in the comment section, and don't forget to subscribe to the website and also share the article with other Hip hop heads/fans.