Who made moves last year and what we can expect from them in 2018
Words: Ndu Donsa | Images: Supplied
2017 was nothing short of amazing for urban culture in South Africa, from the endorsement deals and music videos to mixtapes, EPs, albums, and artists creating their own events.
Last year was the year of the underdog. Forget the gatekeepers: the gates were wide open for anyone wanting to create something new in the game.
The Way of Us spoke to a handful of the players making moves last year and then asked them what their highlights were – and what's in store for us this year.
The most highly anticipated album in 2018 has to be Gemini Major’s. We know he's a super producer and we expect nothing but a banging album from one of the most talented artists and producers in the game.
"2017 was all about finding myself and doing things on my own two feet. To sum up the year I can say that it was all about depending on my self and not anyone else. 2017 was the year I became a boss, creating boss moves."
"In 2018 I'm dropping an album. I really can’t wait for people to hear what I've been cooking up from a sound point of view. The album will be me showing a different direction. I've gone for a more African sound and pushing my music internationally as well. I also got a feature with Patoranking on the album. So expect more and more music from me in 2018."
The Visual Content Gang
The Visual Content Gang has contributed to the culture in a major way. Last year on top of all the great work they did for Superbalist, the gang finished a documentary on Damien Marley, which was a Tidal exclusive. Zunaid The Editor spoke to us about the VCG's moves and plans..
"For the Visual Content Gang, the biggest highlight has to be the Damian Marley documentary, Stony Hill to Addis, that we were a part of. It’s a Tidal exclusive coproduction we did with the Californian-based company Mochilla and saw parts of our gang traveling throughout Africa and documenting the historic tour of a reggae superstar. I was fortunate enough to travel to Kenya and Reunion Island and captured amazing moments with Damian and his entire crew. Batandwa Alperstein was also one of the producers on the project and played a big role in making sure it all came together."
"We’ve just finished production on our first TV show that airs next year on MTV. At this point that’s all we can divulge, but it’s going to be something truly amazing to say the least."
SMB is an urban streetwear brand repping the streets of Durban – and in part responsible for the bucket hat's resurgence. SMB had a dope 2017 with moves on all sides and here's what Wandile Mshengu has in store for the new year.
"Bringing the Castle Lite Ice Bar to Africa with Kulture Kollective fashion spaces was mad dope. It was the first time this one of a kind bar was unveiled on our continent and it was a pleasure to fly the flag for our city and be part of this landmark event. We also got the opportunity to test out our baps store container concept in our home town and launch our #BAP$ Summer range (possibly our best range to date) which sold out in just three days."
"In 2018 we plan to extend the reach of street culture in South Africa by converting non-believers into believers. We plan to do this by collaborating with more brands and more corporates. We want to recruit and mentor more youth to be part of our movement, as well as make more womens apparel. We also plan to take our brand abroad as we now feel like we can compete with the best brands in the world through our original concepts."
It’s been amazing to watch the rise of Psyko Beats as a producer as the dude has put in some serious work. He has rubbed shoulders with great artists and great producers, and the sky is the limit for this guy.
"In June we released a documentary directed by Motion Billy, which featured on Trace. Between June and September I went on a national tour with Russian Bear Vodka as a music producer and sound engineer. In August I released my first official single as an artist featuring Youngsta and Law, which was followed by a music video that was playlisted on Channel O and Trace Africa. I also got to be in studio with my celebrity Crush Gigi Lamayne. That was special. I also got to be on set with Gemini Major and Patoranking for a song I produced. In November Youngsta released a single titled 'Yasis' produced by me, and the response so far so good with over 130k views on YouTube and the song is number 5 on Trace's hip-hop chart."
"Right now we're busy in post-production for a YoungstaCpt x Psykobeats 'Yasis' Documentary which is due to drop early this year. I'm dropping an EP that's fully produced by me and featuring some of your favourite artists and producers. You can also expect a lot of collaboration between myself and a couple of brands."
Jason and Travis are a DJ duo who go by the name Dirty Skittlez, who have grabbed our attention with their taste in music and ability to make the crowds shake every time they step up to the decks.
"Getting booked at RTD was definitely the biggest thing for 2017. It all happened in a short space of time and something we'll never forget."
"We're taking everything to a different level both with the music and the brand side of things. We know where we're at and what we wanna achieve, so we don't talk much, we just dala. You know? Also, we got booked for Ultra 2018 which is pretty mind-blowing. The main goal is to make our parents proud, because they low-key didn't believe in what we're on about."
Ever since we heard Manu rap we've been fans. Last year saw him align with Punchline, which is more of a movement than a record label, and you can expect some serious fire in 2018.
"My 2017 was kinda crazy with a lot of good moments. The first highlight is obviously the creation of Punchline. Performing at Back To The City was my first major production performance and was hella lit, man. I also can’t forget breaking the TV barrier when I was on Vuzu Hustle."
"I have a lot of plans, both solo and with my team, starting with a project that I'm dropping in the first quarter of 2018. We have more Punchline collab EPs on the way, more videos, and I've already booked a show in March."
Vybez plays on the decks and mixes videos, playing on PH’s show on 5FM and doing the TV thing with MTV base.
"My residency on 5FM’s #PartyWithPH was nothing but amazing. In 2017 I also joined the MTV Base team as a resident on Mixology, allowing me to showcase my video mixing capabilities to a wider audience. I also played at the Fill Up FNB afterparty and just being part of that historic weekend for SA hip-hop was nothing short of amazing."
"In 2018 I look forward to a fruitful year at 5FM as well as MTV Base. I recently announced being added on the lineup for Ultra Fest 2018 so that's something to look forward to, as well as going on the road with my Party with PH team from 5FM. I also have a new relationship with a premium vodka brand and a new show on MTV Base that’s dropping in 2018."