Following from part 1 of our Most Influential South African Electronic Artists Of All Time series, we go deeper into the elements that make up the South African sonic environment. From the '80s and 90's all the way to recent times, there have been many electronic artists who have paved the way for our current music industry leaders. We take a look at more of the Most Influential South African Electronic Artists Of All Time.
Shameema "Shame" Williams, Elouise "EJ" Jones and Bernadette "Burni" Amansure, were one of the first female hip-hop groups to come out of South Africa. With their short career spanning two albums, their influence has been left in the distant memories of many South African hip-hop artists to this day. Their quick-fire conscious rap lyrics and social commentary leaves much to be desired from today's hip-hop artists but is also a reminder that "deep" context in hip-hop doesn't necessarily amount to record sales. Unadulterated and inimitable, Godessa formed part of a lost era in South African music.
Oscar Bonginkosi Mdlongwa, better-known as Oskido, is one of the pioneers of kwaito in South Africa. Collectively as a DJ, producer, recording artist and business person, he is the co-founder of Kalawa Jazmee, a record label that housed Boom Shaka, Trompies, Mafikizolo and Uhuru. As one-half of Brothers Of Peace, he has played a vital role in the emergence of one of South Africa's most authentic electronic genres. His Church Grooves compilation is one of the most important album series' in South African house music.
Releasing their first single 'It's About Time' in 1993, Junior Sokhela, Lebo Mathosa, Theo Nhlengethwa and Thembi Seete became one of the first kwaito groups to come out of South Africa. Coining the "chop di grass" dance moves and assimilating Kwasa Kwasa from Zaire (now D.R.C) into kwaito, they helped create the unique identity of kwaito as it is known today; bringing world-wide attention to this exciting new genre.
Prophets Of Da City
Ishmael Morabe, Mark Heuvel, Shaheen Ariefdien, Ramone and DJ Ready D kicked off politically conscious hip-hop in South Africa in a big way back in 1990. They became the first artists to record a Cape slang hip-hop song, 'Dala Flat', and took their hard-hitting politically fueled take on US hip-hop to a brand new audience. Embarking on anti-drug and national voter education tours, P.O.C stood as an anchor for the anti-apartheid movement and were invited to perform at Nelson Mandela's inaugural celebration.
Felix La Band
Starting as a guitarist from Pietermaritzburg in industrial music band Fingerhead at the age of 14, Felix La Band became one of the most unadulterated artists in the country - if not the world. With no interest in making popular music, Felix's songs play as a collage of sound and ideas, drawing from various emotions and creating new ones at the same time. Atmospheric and stirring, Felix La Band is in a class of his own.
Hate him or love him, DJ Kent's songs were probably the most played in the country between 2012 and 2014. The Ultimix DJ dominated charts and lineups all over the country, winning 3 SAMAs, 2 Metro FM Awards and 1 Radio Nova Era award (Portugal) for Best Radio Song. His song 'Spin My World Around' could be heard in majority of clubs around South Africa in 2014 and subsequently won him a SAMA for the Highest Airplay. DJ Kent is and has been a dominant force in club culture over the last ten years.
Inspired by metal, techno and techstep, Justin Scholtemeyer and Eaton Crous brought their Counterstrike alias to life in 1998. After returning from London working at The End club, Justin and Eaton created Homegrown, one of the most loved electronic music events in the country. 100 parties, 10 years later and after releasing over 100 songs on labels like Dim Mak and Moving Shadow, the genre-defying duo are hailed as pioneers of the drum 'n bass scene in South Africa.
The lesser known Kalahari Surfers fronted by Warrick Sony played a vital role in the emergence of experimental electronic and dub music in South Africa. Their politically radical satirical music caused a ruckus in 1989 with their album titled 'Bigger Than Jesus'. In a time when the sonic environment in South Africa was particularly linear, the Kalahari Surfers pushed the boundaries of what music was understood to be and laid the foundation for future generations of experimental and dub musicians and DJs.
Check out part 1 here.
[Image by Makhulu]