Homage to home and heritage
Available on all music platforms at R89.99
Limpopo gqom is happening – and firmly at the wheel is Sho Madjozi.
This queen of cool has released her debut album, Limpopo Champions League, and the reception has been notable.
Madjozi has packaged her art in a vibrant and refreshing way, from the clothes she rocks to the composition of her sound, and she has been able to merge an edgy urban lifestyle with her traditional heritage.
This has been a trend of late with hip artists looking to tradition for new direction.
Madjozi was at first likened to a rapper, but her delivery is more in the vein of kwaito and, of course, the beats are inspired by gqom.
Last year was pretty big for her as she dropped the video for the smash hit Huku and also played at major festivals, such as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Absolut One Source Live, Afropunk and, naturally, the Global Citizen Festival, sharing a stage with the Carters. To top it off, she dropped her first album and a clothing line through retail store Edgars on the same day.
That is some stellar work and this queen of gqom has cemented her place in the South African soundscape. I wouldn’t be surprised if the SA Music Awards came knocking at her door this year.
With that said, Madjozi has been on the airwaves for a few years now, with her first stab at the limelight coming in the form of the track Dumi Hi Phone, which symbolises the moment when she began to hit her stride.
She understands exactly where her lane is, but she has no problem pushing the boundaries to borrow sounds from beyond the realm of gqom, showcasing her eclectic taste in music.
The opening track, Ro Rali, has such a traditionalsounding break down, I was honestly surprised. When was the last time you heard Shangaan electro used on a mainstream track?
She went straight to the grassroots with singer Makhadzi, who appears with her on this. The same is heard towards the bottom of the album on the popular Kona.
Idhom sees the gqom queen rap a bit, I think. She rides a gqom beat and flexes her poetic proficiency. Something about this reminds me of acts like M.I.A or early Santigold. This playful approach to music makes it hard not to smile just a little.
Iyah is probably the best ad-lib in the country right now, and her fashion line even incorporates that a bit. Limpopo Champions League is her paying respect to her province and I’m sure the streets are loving this track.
Up until you reach Wa Penga Na, the sound is similar throughout. Then, as has been the case with almost everyone’s projects in the past year, the Kwesta feature emerges. This is my favourite joint on this offering.
Things then get very Highveld stereo all of a sudden on Don’t Tell Me What to Do. The beat starts and you could easily be forgiven for thinking she had David Guetta on production. I could’ve done without this. And even though people are feeling the track Wakanda Forever as far away as Canada, I don’t enjoy this arrangement.
If I hold those two songs next to Yaz’ Abelungu – in which Madjozi laces the listener with a little consciousness and a bubbly rant about how joyous it must be to be a white person – those two fall short somehow, at least for me.
It isn’t the perfect album, but it is by far one of the most intriguing things we have out there. She might not be vocally out of this world, but one thing she is mastering before our eyes is just how important having a style can be to the art of a musician. It’s very seldom about what you’re doing, but, more often than not, how you do it.