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@KwestaDaKAR and @kabzadesmall_ Meet Each Other Halfway For A Fusion of Kwaito and Amapiano on ‘Speak N Vrostaan’

By @SabeloMkhabela_ on 12/02/2022 in Projects You Should Hear

Kwesta has always had an affinity to kwaito. He’s one of those rappers who fluidly overlapped without sounding out of place. From songs like ‘Thul’ ujaive’ to ‘Ngud’’, ‘Spirit’ and countless others, Kwesta has made some serious kwaito bangers. 

So, when he jumped on amapiano-leaning production on songs like ‘Kubo’ and ‘Ma Se Kind’ in his previous album ‘g.o.d Guluva’, it didn’t feel like an insult. 

But his latest album, ‘Speak N Vrostaan’, produced entirely by amapiano pioneer Kabza De Small, intensifies Kwesta’s connection to the genre via amapiano, a descendant of kwaito. 

“It’s almost insulting to call him an amapiano producer,” Kwesta recently said  about Kabza De Small on Apple Music’s Africa Now show. “He’s, like, a producer all-round. He’s just a dope producer. Yes, he’s the king of amapiano, that’s his chosen route. That man can make anything for anything and anybody. His talents as producer are not limited in that sense. 

“Which helped us with this thing, we didn’t wanna copy and paste amapiano, we didn’t wanna copy and paste kwaito, but we wanted to use the two elements together and find a hybrid and an in-between that represents both sides really well and speaks to the same people that these two genres spoke to, that we grew up amongst, the people we understand.”

The sound on ‘Speak N Vorstaan’ was custom-made for this album and it straddles both genres; the beats are slow for the most part, and Kwesta’s baritone is at home alongside like-minded hip-hop artists Sizwe Alakine and Ma-E. But a majority of the features come from the kwaito and amapiano side of life, ranging from veterans such as Professor and DJ Tira to the likes of TOSS and Young Stunna.  

Kabza De Small steps to the mic as Papta Mancane in a number of songs. On ‘Umbono’, he pays homage to Mandoza, specifically the song ‘Mbono’ from the late kwaito legend’s self-titled 2004 album. It’s one of many kwaito references on the album. ‘Golokoqo’ samples B.O.P’s ‘Manyonyoba’ towards the end, while on ‘Umngani’, Kwesta and Papta pay homage to TKZee, especially Magesh’s parts on songs like ‘Dlala Mapantsula’ and ‘Mambotjie’. Just to mention a few. 

But, kwaito, amapiano and hip-hop aren’t the only genres you’ll find on ‘Speak N Vrostaan’. The reassuring love song ‘Emathandweni’, featuring Young Stunna, has some elements of soft rock and it’s one of the richest songs sonically; Synth and electric guitar layers create a perfect environment for Kwesta to reflect on his marriage which received a bit of attention from the tabloids earlier this year. “Vele z’ningi kabi i’nkinga/ Kodw’ impintshi yami, uyiskeem sami/ Bigger picture, ngeke sizwe nge media,” he raps. 

But, for the most part, ‘Speak N Vrostaan’ is a light-hearted album that will be a perfect soundtrack for Dezemba. “The energy is high-level, it’s positivity,” Kwesta said when describing the album on Africa Now. “You press play and you feel better,” he says. He didn’t lie. 

Stream ‘Speak N Vrostaan’ by Kwesta and Kabza De Small below:

 

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