HERE COMES THE NEXT generation
Oskido and Arthur are two of the godfathers of kwaito, pioneers of SA’S dance music scene. They are also the fathers of sons who are following in their footsteps, recording their own albums 20 years into democracy. Lesley Mofokeng reports
Nineteen years ago, Oscar Mdlongwa (a.k.a Oskido), the celebrated House music maestro, named his first-born son Bass. It was in part because he loved the deep, rumbling tones that dominated the sound of his kwaito outfit Brothers of Peace, which he formed with Bruce Sebitlo. Another part was wishful thinking that his child would grow up to make beautiful music.
True to form, Bass has lived up to his name. He is not just a child prodigy under his father’s tutelage, but he is a wizard in the production suite and is fast gaining a reputation in the industry.
Word has got out that he is the next force to watch as a producer; and possibly the future of Kalawa Jazmee, the record company his father set up some 20 years ago.
Seemingly, his son was the best investment Oscar made.
Bass has already lent his considerable talents to rising dance music star Cassper Nyovest’s album, the latest tsunami to hit the music industry. Bass also produced a hiphop remix of Udu’s Nyoso and is working on Speedy and Stoan’s collaborative album.
He has been working hard behind the scenes in the shadow of his famous father, quietly carving a name for himself with some of the biggest names in local music.
Increasingly, Bass looks set to fly the flag for hip-hop at Kalawa.
In between, he travels like a seasoned musician from the party spots in Durban to Joburg, hobnobbing with the cities’ A-listers.
The young man began recording music at 13 and his first commercial outing was when he produced Speedy’s 2011 track, Dressed To Kill, on which he also featured. He is still cloaked in privacy and requests to interview him this week were declined.
But on his Facebook page, he drops hints about the possibilities of working with Nigerian music stars Wizkid and Burna Boy.
He also takes stock of the fact that he has a hit track with his “uncle” Bobsta DaRocksta. “How legend, though?” he posted on his page.
Having time with his father is also something he cherishes. “Always a pleasure and blessing recording with my old man,” reads another post.
He tells his fans he’s taking a while and all, but in the end it will pay off.
Bass also dreams of being nominated at the MTV Africa Music Awards next year.
His views on music are refreshing and as a true born-free, he loves the crossover elements of contemporary pop. “There is no such thing as white music, when black people hear an electro song or dubstep song they say it’s white music, don’t bring your racist bull in something so beautiful,” he commented on Facebook.
On April 30, he wrote: “The song I’m releasing today is called Blowing Kisses. The song is inspired [by] seeing women working hard for what they want. It also encourages guys to support their ladies in anything they’re doing.
“Remember ladies, you got what it takes – without you, the world is nothing. If they tell you that you won’t make it, just blow them kisses and prove them wrong.”
An apt message, especially at this time of celebrating Women’s Month.
Meanwhile, another young artist, DJ AJ, is also steadily becoming a familiar name in music circles.
The son of kwaito king Arthur Mafokate is currently in studio working on his second album after the successful launch of his career last year.
Next week, he drops a new single called This Time as a precursor to the release of the album. The song features Sizwe, a male vocalist discovered at a talent show AJ hosted where he says Sizwe was his favourite singer.
It’s a House single with a hint of old school beats – a love song about a man ready to try love again.
AJ says his album will be more commercial and “less deep” than his first release.
Being Mafokate’s son helped ease his entrance into the music scene, he says, albeit that his father was against the idea of him entering the cut-throat business.
“It helped me because people are interested to know who Arthur’s son is and what he does. It didn’t make life harder,” he says. AJ has nothing but praise for Bass. “Bass is extremely talented. I look up to him. He is a good producer. I like his movement of hip-hop/House.
“Two years ago, we were planning to do something together but we never got around to doing it. There’s a high chance we would be doing something in the future,” he says.
DJ AJ is following in his dad’s footsteps