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CityPress - - Business - PHUM­LANI S LANGA phum­[email protected]­press.co.za Al­bum: Lim­popo Cham­pi­ons League

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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.

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