Got your Afropunk ticket? This is who you need to see

2017-12-10 00:00
Anderson .Paak

Johannesburg - It’s undeniably Joburg’s most anticipated music event: Afropunk, the ruthlessly cool US import that will usher revellers into the new year. With massive international and local acts on the line-up, Phumlani S Langa rounds up the ones you’ve got to see.

Must-see international act: Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals

None other than Beyoncé’s little sis Solange will be headlining Afropunk this year, so it goes without saying that she’s a must-see. However, US rapper Anderson .Paak represents a very important return to the funk. He sounds a bit like Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar rolled into one, and his work with the pen might be stronger than both those brothers. His choices of instrumentation and beat selection are always perfect. Paak is rugged and filled with attitude, but somehow sensitive and romantic. His The Waters, Suede and Link Up are sure to get everybody going.

Notable works:

Paak was all over Dr Dre’s last album, Compton, and his collaborative album with producer Knowledge is probably his standout offering.

Must-see local act: King Tha vs BLK JKS

Thandiswa Mazwai’s alter ego King Tha has joined up with local music superforce BLK JKS to create a band just for Afropunk. We were fortunate enough to get a dose of what they have in the works during the festival’s launch. It can safely be said that you haven’t seen either of these acts in this light before.

Notable works:

Lakeside by the BLK JKS was one of their first bangers and featured on the soundtrack for PlayStation game Fifa 10. Mazwai has so many notable moments. The most recent would be her opening performance for Common at a previous festival this year.

Must-see deejays: Black Motion, DJ Lag

Black Motion is an SA Music Awards (Sama) award-winning duo who have grown in leaps and bounds and will be flying the local flag on the DJ line-up. Their sound is among the best we have in deep House, and they inject a good amount of their South African heritage into the music. The result is a primal, drum-heavy sound that should have the dance floor pulsating with earthy rhythms.

Notable works:

Ya Badimo, released in 2016, clinched them the Sama and the song Bambolwam featuring Simphiwe Dana is a particular high point on this record.

DJ Lag

I had the pleasure of catching this gentleman at Seize the City in Newtown last weekend. He provided the crowd with an edgy brand of gqom and his take on this rising genre sounded like gqom from the future. Sharp synth sounds and rattling baselines – his will be a set you won’t forget. Beware the way he brings the drop in as his timing is known to send drinks flying through the air.

Notable works:

DJ Lag played a hard set at the Boiler Room in London in 2015.

Must-see lesser-known acts:

Dookoom, God Sons and Daughter

Dookoom are like the scary malumes of local hip-hop. Their sound is straight brazen and this group is far removed from what dominates the local scene. They truly represent the underground and don’t seem bothered by it. Their work is political and they always seem to be saying things that rub some people up the wrong way. Expect intricate rhyme schemes and a brash delivery.

Notable works:

Larney Jou Poes, a single about farm workers in South Africa was so controversial that civil rights organisation AfriForum threatened to sue them. Other standout tracks include Kak Stirvy and The Worst Thing featuring American producer David Banner.

God Sons and Daughter

Lindani Buthelezi is the former frontman and lead guitarist of the BLK JKS. He left this collective and is missed by the fans, but the move was not in vain. He created a band that cultivates a sound using indie, folk, jazz and traditional nuances. God Sons and Daughter, or GSAND, make music reminiscent of the classic rock you would hear blaring out of a jukebox in a whiskey hall somewhere in Texas. Rustic-sounding guitar licks combined with the subtlety of jazzy drums reveal a stirring kind of Afro blues.

Notable work:

Lindani Buthelezi has shared the stage with Femi Kuti, The Black Eyed Peas, Angélique Kidjo and Vusi Mahlasela.

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