“A supremely insightful Chuck D spoke for hours on topics ranging from the stagnancy of America’s Hip-hop evolution…”
The last few months have been a whirlwind or creativity and inspiration at the Red Bull Studio in Cape Town. From up-and-coming, Kwaito-inspired Electrorap to reigning South African musical royalty to world famous legends alike, the studio has been blessed with top-notch talent passing through its doors.
Dirty Paraffin – Johannesburg Swag birthed from Durban’s Hustle
Electronic Rap duo Dirty Paraffin are a difficult package to pin down. Originally from Durban, Okmalumekoolkat and DJ Spizzee gather inspiration from South Africa’s rich musical landscape, heavily influenced by House, Kwaito and a more traditional African sound.
Zamani Xolo and Smiso Zwane have been pushing awareness for an afro-street culture inspired sound and visual aspect for some time, targeting an audience who are hungry for knowledge while still expecting a booty-shaking experience.
Okmalumekoolkat’s tongue-in-cheek rhyme style is thickly laden with niche culture references and poignant local jargon. DJ Spizzee is a beat-smith of the highest order with precise, syncopated production akin to early Techno and Electro pioneers such as Cybotron and Drexciya.
Having taken the long trek down to Cape Town to record their Debut EP in the Red Bull Studios, Dirty Paraffin were drafted to an all-star line-up for the Kwikk Stixx Party at the Waiting Room in Long Street alongside fellow Red Bull Studio bass alumni, Voicetag. The show was packed to the brim with revelers to the point that DJ Maramza nearly fell of the third story balcony.
Public Enemy – The Reigning Kings Showing Love To Africa
After years of speculation and rumour the incomparable torch bearers of Hip-hop finally landed on African soil. Public Enemy have been the crowned kings for nearly three decades and are a household name in any true Hip-hop head’s vocabulary. Having lent their voices to many a sociopolitical fight, they are long time legendary advocators of human rights, while still garnering a mainstream sensibility that has seen them top the charts and tour the world.
A full touring schedule was announced, complete with sold out shows at The Assembly and a once in a lifetime discussion with the Master of Ceremony himself – Chuck D, held in the intimate setting of the Red Bull Studio. A supremely insightful Chuck D spoke for hours on topics ranging from the stagnancy of America’s Hip-hop evolution and expounded on how to be a recording artist in the worldwide digital age. Chuck gave a veritable history lesson of a scene most are only able to tap into on television.
Their Cape Town show was pure potency and an absolute treat for anyone who has followed the careers of the Public Enemy trio, who travel and perform with a live band, world famous hype-man Flavor Flav, frontman Chuck D and the aptly named DJ Lord.
Mix n Blend – Evolution Of The Fittest
For years Mix ‘n Blend have been at the forefront of Cape Town’s flourishing electronic music scene. They are in essence, constant boundary pushers – endlessly staying true to their core beliefs of rocking dance-floors with solid production and a meticulous ear for intoxicating melodies and insane beats.
Continuing their passion for evolution, Mix ‘n Blend have added a whole new element to their live show, by assembling one of the strongest bands in the country to amplify their already awesome live performance.
The group now includes a horn section consisting of Ross McDonald and Lee Thomson from seminal punk band Hog Hoggidy Hog, a new visual aspect provided by the inspirational Inka Kendzia of Krushed & Sorted fame, the unique vocal styling of EJ von Lyrik and Crosby Bolani, and of course Kevin Ribbans and Jonathan Arnold at the helm, controlling live samplers and effects units.
Recently, Mix ‘n Blend were in the Red Bull Studios to flex their sonic muscle on an array of analog gear to record a track with Crosby for their twin Drum ‘n Bass Ep releases entitled Lost and Joy available for sale on www.Africandope.co.za.
Currently working on a feature for Black Porcelain’s forth-coming album, plans for a full length album of their own and a slew of exciting live sets and gigs, there are no signs of Mix ‘n Blend slowing in the future.
Progression seems to be the over-all theme in today’s music culture. Artists are no longer satisfied with the “run of the mill” approach to making and presenting their sounds. In a world of such variety and choice, the acts that will stand out are those who work incredibly hard, evolve relentlessly and embrace their own natural approach to sounds and ideas. Public Enemy proved two decades ago that this is the case and acts such as Dirty Parrafin and Mix n Blend are modern day examples of this philosophy.
Written By : Jake Lipman