This is an article series where I cover independent songs and artists who I believe are releasing great stuff and have amazing potential. At the end of each of these articles, there’ll be curated playlists with the featured artists’ music and other hidden gems. Without further ado, this is the Fifth Edition. You can read on the first, second, third and fourth edition here, here, here and here respectively.
Basic Info: Our first artist is a 19 year old hailing from Pretoria North, Jay Hood. Born Jeremiah Pitso, Jay Hood is an artist whose musical output is comfortably based within the hip-hop realm, with influences that come from the classic era (read 90’s hip-hop) New York styled hip-hop and contemporary hip-hop as well as other genres like old-school R&B. Consistently monikered as a Twitter sensation, Hood has released a slew of singles as well as a body of work titled For Those Who Listen, released on 6 August 2018.
Recommendation: Permanent Problem. Jay Hood is a rapper with an unabashed sense of bravado running through his persona. He’s an adept storyteller with a precise sense of cadence and flow running through his lyricism coupled with the ability to adequately sell you his current state of mind; whether that’s a space of fragility and confusion to peak braggadocio. One of my favorite performances comes with Permanent Problem, a braggadocios call-out mixed with revealing storytelling. At the beginning of the song, Hood primes the audience for a diss track by jokingly telling us ‘This is not a diss track, I swear’ before launching into a skewering attack on his adversaries as best showcased in the first verse and chorus. Thereafter, the song segue-ways into more introspective spaces about his journey as a rising independent act and the nuances that come with it. The track is littered with one-liners, affirmations and flows that effectively paint as a rapper unwilling to back down and relent on his space, effectively asserting himself as a permanent problem to his adversaries. One of Hood’s greatest qualities as an entertainer is that he appears to genuinely be having fun in his music and it seeps into his delivery. He currently stands as one of the stronger voices of the new wave steadily cementing his space in the game.
Basic Info: Coming from Johannesburg South is our next artist; Deepal Trikam, more commonly known as Deep$. This 23 year old Intrapreneurial Management graduate juggles a nine-to-five job in the fabric industry whilst building his career as a musical act. Deep$ is a contemporary hip-hop artist with influences within trap to early 2000’s era of hip-hop. He’s currently released two singles and a body of work late last year titled Nightshift.
Recommendation: Nightshift. Deep$ is a student of hip-hop whose current biggest asset lies with his ability to craft engaging hooks which would sound amazing within concert settings as well as within gym playlists, as seen in songs like Switch It. As a rapper, Deep$ is extremely competent in the techniques of hip-hop and his debut body of work works as a canvas to explore the different strands of where his potential may lead. One of his most promising showcases comes with the project’s title track, Nightshift, featuring YoungstaCPT. Sonically, the track is an eerie, dark and propulsive Ganja Beatz production that requires an audacious performance to match it. With allusions to Dragonball Z, the Higgs Boson and Indian imagery, Deep$ provides his most playful performance as he waxes lyrical about what exactly he wants to achieve and proclaiming that he’s ready for a shot at it. YoungstaCPT then takes over with a feature that paints him as a dogged outlaw reeling from a successful yet bloody heist. The collaboration not only provides a fire banger but also provides a peek into imagery that’s relatively unexplored within the genre’s mainstream. As an artist at the start of his journey it’ll be interesting to see what he grows into the further he hones in on his messaging, stylistically.
Basic Info: Our next artist is a songbird who was raised in Pretoria and is currently based in Cape Town, Refentše Solo. An alumni of the University of Pretoria Youth Choir, Solo is a full-time singer-songwriter. Her style of music is quite experimental with a strong base within the neo and afro-soul space. She infuses this with sensibilities from other genres including opera, house, hip-hop and blues. Solo has released a slew of standalone singles and two bodies of work thus far; Genesis, which dropped 11 January 2019, and Moretiadi, released 22 March 2019.
Recommendation: Sweet November. Solo is a vocalist with an astute sense of what her voice can do and her music acts as a canvas for that. Full of warm vocal tones and sensuality, she invokes a similar style of soul and cadence as the likes of Jill Scott with defiantly South African sensibilities. One of her greatest strengths is her ability to create soothing earworms and one of the best examples of this is found in Sweet November. Conceptually, the track is a summer call-out to listeners to bask in the joy of the outdoors, as referenced in the title’s month. Sonically, Solo is backed by a tribal mid-tempo production that’s both progressive yet open enough to give Solo room to play. The song is anchored by the two colliding refrains that make up its chorus; Enjoy, let’s just enjoy/Let’s go outside and play, enjoy a brand new day, but the song continues to layer itself with other harmonious refrains that act as commands and affirmations. The result is a listen that is indulgent, catchy and might have you singing along by the end of the first play. Refentse is building her catalogue with a quiet confidence of a songbird ready to continue the development of the art of soul into the new wave.
Basic Info: Originally from Harrismith in the Free State we find one of the entertainment industry’s most prominent rising stars, Thabang Molaba. This 24 year old Logistics graduate has gradually been making waves as a model and actor and has now broadened his focus to music, under the moniker Kale Dinero. As a musical artist, he’s sonic pallet is extremely contemporary across the rhythmic spectrum, having a strong base in trap-soul with infusions from afrobeats, R&B, hip-hop. Dinero recently released his first body of work in March 2019, titled Soul Ties.
Recommendation: Bad For Me. Kale Dinero is proving to be an incredibly savvy player in the school of leverage and branding. In a relatively short span, he’s been able to build the foundations of him being a multi-hyphenate with the imaging that surrounds it. Thus far, he’s crafted his brand as a modern heartthrob/bad boy and his foray into music uses that as its launching point. Dinero’s first project, Soul Ties, is a concept project that details the breakdown of a tumultuous relationship through the space of one night through the use of songs and dramatic skits. It feels like a merging point of the two worlds he wants to inhabit; acting and music. One of its highlights is the project’s lead single, Bad For Me, an ode to baddies that finds Dinero at his most playful. Dinero taps Elizee and Benny Afroe, two of this blog’s favourite rising acts, for a steamy song that finds each of them throwing their best flirtations at their sexual conquests. Sonically, the track is a genre-blending pop production that incorporates multiple contemporary genres like trap, afrobeats and dancehall. All of this culminates in a well-crafted, legitimate, fun, radio-ready tune that introduces Dinero as a capable musical performer who’s on trend. At this point, Dinero’s only scratched the surface of his musical identity. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with the deeper he digs and the more he has fun with it.