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The 10 Best Brown Dash Songs

By @SeptemberEleven on 05/09/2023 in Article

Today marks 11 years since the passing of Kwaito legend, Brown Dash. He was one of the first artists to be signed under TS Records and reportedly gave the label its first gold plaque for his debut album ‘Puff N’ Pass’ released in 2002. Brown Dash would go on to drop multiple hits from albums such as ‘Mthandazo Wabolova’, ‘Dashboard’, ‘Skhathi Sakhona’ and ‘Back 2 Kasi’.  

Brown Dash’s influence is still seen in South African music today; Riky Rick famously claimed on his single ‘Nafukwa (Fok Julle Naaiers)’ that if Brown Dash was alive in 2015, he would have been a member of BoyzNBucks. Recently, Amapiano/Kwaito artist Reece Madlisa reference the cover of Brown Dash’s  ‘Mthandazo Wabolova’ for the cover of his EP, ‘Kwaito Nama Medi’. You can hear his influence in modern-day pantsulas like Reece Madlisa himself and the likes of Toss and others. 

Let’s take a moment to look back at what we think are Brown Dash’s 10 best songs. 

NB: This list is in no particular order. 

‘Vum Vum’ (featuring M’Du & Brickz) (2004) 

Album: 'Mthandazo Wabolova'

Producer: M’Du Masilela


Arguably the best song by Brown Dash, ‘Vum Vum’ is one of the most iconic South Africans songs of all time. Mellow production by M’Du Masilela and strong appearance from Brickz and M’Du himself complement Brown Dash’s big persona and chesty vocal projection. An appearance from late soccer Orland Pirates, Mamelodi Sundown and Bafana Bafana mddlefilder Gift Leremi made the video a cultural moment. ‘Vum Vum’ was later sampled by Ruff for Emtee’s ‘Mamie Game’, another beautiful love song from Big Hustle’s debut album ‘Avery’. 

‘Phants’ Komthunzi Welanga’ (featuring Mzekezeke) (2004)

Album: ‘Mthandazo Wabolova’ 

Producer: M’Du Masilela


The beat here is pure audio crack; that whizzing whistle and M’Du’s trademark bassline was met halfway by Brown Dash and Mzekezeke who referenced a childhood folk game in what’s one of Brown Dash’s biggest hits. According to DJ Cleo, who worked closely with Brown Dash, the hook was written by Thembi Seete. 

‘Puff N’ Pass’ (featuring Zola, Mzekezeke) (2002)

Producer: DJ Cleo 

Album: 'Puff N Pass' 


Brown Dash’s breakout hit, produced by DJ Cleo is more than just a song about puffing and passing zol, but also the sharing of ideas which is depicted in the music video which shows the grootmans convened around a fire in the street corner discussing life around a fire. 

‘Umngena Ndlini’ (2005)

Producer: Spikiri 

Album: ‘Dashboard’ 


A deep cut from ‘Dashboard’, ‘Umngena Ndlini’ saw Brown Dash and Izinyoka member Msashman encouraging to hustle for their families, doing whatever job they can find to put food on the table. 

‘Miki Mouse’ (2005)

Producer: DJ Mphulo 

Album: 'Dashboard'


The title track to Brown Dash’s third album proved that regardless who was on the boards, Brown Dash was just an undebatable talent. After multiple hits, Brown Dash declared that a party without him or his music was a Miki Mouse party, which wasn’t far from truth. DJ Mphulo, who was working closely with Izinyoka and TS Records had a unique sound; his bassline was unmissable and he always added elements like keys, synths and digital choirs like he did here and other songs like ‘Ngoma Yam’, ‘Njenge Ndoda’ and ‘Ama Fluit’ by Izinyoka. 

‘Mthandazo Wabolova’ (2006) 

Producer: Guffy  

Album: 'Mthandazo Wabolova' 


The title track and opening song of Brown Dash’s sophomore album is a hustler’s anthem that comes with lessons (“eJozi kuyanyobwa, kuhanjwa kancane, boss, kuhanjwa njengo nwabu”) and street tales (“Sash ngiyak’saba mngan wami, wangithatha wangihlanganisa namabonda”) over Guffy’s refined bassline and musical approach to kwaito beatmaking. 

‘Ayoba Yo’ (2006)

Producer: M’Du Masilela 

Album: 'Skhathi Sakhona' 


In the 2000s, M’Du’s sound had naturally progressed but still maintained its essence. Brown Dash and M’Du’s chemistry had been proven over and over before and on ‘Ayoba Yo’ was another day in the office for the artist and producer. 

‘Akekho Ophethe’ (2002)

Producer: DJ Cleo 

Album: ‘Puff N’ Pass’


DJ Cleo was among a crop of Kwaito producers who moved the genre forward by using new instruments and contraptions that hadn’t been used before. As a result, there was an inimitable freshness to his sound and his beats on the ‘Puff N’ Pass’ album are a great example. ‘Akekho Ophethe’ was a standout from the album. Brown Dash was one with the beat on this one, as he drop some expressive lines like, “Sakhulel’ emkhukhwini thina, lakugcwele amaroto”. 

‘Back 2 Kasi’ (2008)

Producer: Spikiri  

Album: ‘Back 2 Kasi’


In 2008, Brown Dash was one of the last Kwaito artists standing as the genre had run its course. ‘Back 2 Kasi’, produced by Spikiri, was a nostalgic Kwaito banger that showed Brown Dash in good shape and was one of the last Kwaito hits at a time when House and Hip-Hop had taken over. Being a Kwaito artist was a lonely practice. As Brown Dash rapped, “Ngathi awasekho amapantsula” in the song’s first verse. 

Brown Dash & Kabelo - ‘Amasoja’ (2004) 

Producer: Guffy 

Album: ‘Yizo Yizo 3 Soundtrack’ 


A collaboration no one really saw coming, ‘Amasoja’ is a song about fortitude from two of Kwaito’s best lyricists over a bouncy beat from Guffy. Brown Dash recycled a whole verse from ‘Akekho Ophethe’, an album song from ‘Puff N’ Pass’, which we will let slide because it was standard practice in Kwaito which Kabelo also did a few times. 

More Brown Dash heaters to check out: 

Ungalahl’ Ithemba’, ‘Ezayizolo’, ‘Yenzokwakho’, Ez’khiphayo, Nomalizo, ‘Makhandakhanda

 

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