The 15 Best South African Songs of the Month (May)
Here are the South African songs and music videos that caught our attention this month.
Focalistic x Mr JazziQ “GUPTA” (featuring Lady Du & Mellow and Sleazy)
Amapiano heavy hitters Focalistic and Mr JazziQ finally released their long-awaited single “GUPTA”. This aspirational song comes after the recent release of Mr JazziQ’s album Party With The English and the success of Focalistic’s “Ke Star Remix”. Pitori Maradonna has been teasing the song on social media and performing it at shows around the country. “GUPTA” features buzzing amapiano vocalist Lady Du and production duo Mellow and Sleazy.
For his first single for the year, veteran rapper K.O reunites with producer Lunatik, whom he worked with on his iconic album Skhanda Republic (2014). The legendary rapper also shared the song’s accompanying cinematic visuals. Over a nostalgic kwaito and amapiano-inflected beat, the Skhanda Gawd delivers slick raps and impressive flows. The track’s title is a play on Jay Z’s “J-Hova” pseudonym, a fitting name for the rapper with 15 consistent years in the game.
Prolific musician Zahara is readying the release of her upcoming album with a new single titled “Nyamezela”, which translates from isiXhosa to “endure”. While widely celebrated, the singer has had to endure many trials and tribulations that came with fame and the hardships of the music industry, as well as in her personal life. In the song, she sings about endurance and how she can’t wait until she experiences a world filled with love. “I told myself I am not going to give up, I am going to keep on keeping on, despite what happened,” she recently told Drum.
After pushing it back a few times, pop-R&B artist Shekhinah finally shared her sophomore album Trouble In Paradise. One of the album’s standouts “Questions”, “speaks about falling in love with your best friend and the risks that come with it,” she recently told Apple Music. Built on mellow 808s and warm guitar riffs, the song sees Shekhinah ask herself questions like, “What happens if you drop my heart and it falls too hard, and you just can’t put it back?”, as she sings towards the end of the song’s hook.
For the title of his new song, multi-talented artist Muzi plays and fuses the words “intergalactic” and “Black”. “Interblaktic” references old school Detroit house music and Muzi also samples his 2018 song “Boss Mode” off his album Afrovision. The artist has been working on a new album and “Interblaktic” gives a glimpse of what it’s gonna sound like.
Blxckie “Ye x4” (featuring Nasty C)
The hottest South African hip-hop artist right now, Blxckie, teamed up with fellow Durban emcee Nasty C to make an anthem off his tagline “ye ye ye ye”. “Ye x4” is taken from Blxckie’s impressive debut album B4Now. (Read more about it here)
DJ Sumbody “Iyamemeza” (featuring Drip Gogo & The Lowkeys)
Ahead of his upcoming album Piano Ibiza, Pretoria-based deejay and club-owner DJ Sumbody drops a new single “Iyamemeza”. While the vocals have similarities to Toshi’s on Afro Warriors 2016 song “Iyanketeza”, Drip Gogo does a splendid job nonetheless on the The Lowkeys-produced beat.
Sho Madjozi “Jamani”
Sho Madjozi has released yet another music video from her recently SAMA nominated album What A Life. The multi-lingual Madjozi sings the vocals in Swahili. The colorful visuals, directed by Nezzon Montana, were shot in the coastal city of Mombasa in Kenya, where amapiano seems to have taken over.
Elaine “Right Now”
After the major success of her genre-elevating 2019 EP Elements, Elaine shares the first musical offering, which is supposed to usher the new phase of her career. The R&B songstress and Columbia Records signee is set to permanently move to and make her mark in the US. “This song is exactly what it means and feels like to welcome growth, celebrate being a confident woman and find comfort in independence,” shares Elaine in an interview with renowned radio host Zane Lowe.
MFR Souls “Abahambayo” featuring Mzulu Kakhulu, Khobzn Kiavalla and Dj T-Man SA
Pioneering amapiano duo MFR Souls borrow from maskandi on their new single “Abahambayo”. The featured vocalist Mzulu Kakhulu renders maskandi vocals and, at some point, the song breaks into a chant that one would expect to hear at a Zulu traditional ceremony. “Abahambayo” comes after the critically acclaimed 2020 album, Musical Kings which spawned the hits “Amanikiniki”, “Krrrr (Phum’imali)” and “Bathandwa”.
DJ Mr X “Asambe” (featuring K.O, Cassper Nyovest, Loki & Roiii)
DJ Mr X recruits fellow Skhanda World labelmates, K.O, Loki, Roii and Cassper Nyovest for his amapiano-infused single “Asambe”. The Makwa-produced song adds to the growing list of South African hip-hop songs that incorporate elements of amapiano.
Just Bheki “Bameme”
Talented vocalist Just Bheki has released his first official solo single, since leaving his group Eminent Fam. The recently announced Skhanda World signee sings about inviting everyone to a celebration, over an amapiano infused Afro-pop beat. Over the past few years, Bheki has worked with some celebrated musicians from Ma-E to Sun-El Musician and Azana. We are excited to see what comes out of his solo journey.
CIZA x DJ Maphorisa “Bank Notification” (featuring Madumane)
CIZA and Madumane (DJ Maphorisa) brag about bank notifications being their only alarm on their new song. “Bank Notification” marries a euphonious amapiano instrumental with Afrobeats melodies, delivered by the two artists. The song, produced by Tony Duardo, is a great follow-up to his previous singles “Come Alive” and “Adje” which helped introduce the young musician to the public.
Zu. “Emini nasebusuku” (featuring Hip-Naughtic Sean)
After the release of her EP trilogy in 2019, Zu. is back with another addition to the series Ndim Nentshomi Zam. On the EP, Zu. brings along her friends for an amapiano sonic experience, a surprising yet delightful shift for the Afro-soul singer and songwriter. The Hip-Naughtic Sean-assisted track “Emini nasebusuku” is a definite standout from the EP. (Read more about here).
The multi-talented musician and former member of the band The Muffinz released a new single “Akekho”, which sees him, like many musicians in the country right now, lean towards amapiano. “I never thought I’d sing on an amapiano beat. I am proud of myself for singing in a genre/style that I am not familiar with, and I believe I did justice to the culture of amapiano,” shares Kekelingo.