‘Yizo Yizo’ Soundtrack Albums Ranked

By @SeptemberEleven on 08/07/2023 in Article

With all three seasons of ‘Yizo Yizo’ streaming on Netflix, let’s revisit the show’s iconic soundtrack albums. There’s no divorcing ‘Yizo Yizo’ from the iconic music that soundtracked its scenes.  

Released by Ghetto Ruff (1 and 2) and CCP Records (3), the soundtracks were a showcase of the cutting edge talent in popular South African music, championing genres such as Kwaito, Hip-Hop, House and even Jazz and some experimental sounds. 

As much as ‘Yizo Yizo’ soundtracks didn’t shy away from mainstream acts — Mandoza, Brenda Fassie, Ishmael etc. — the trilogy also shone the light on emerging talent some of whom went to become superstars; Zola, Brickz and Simphiwe Dana are among the artists who were first heard by the masses on the soundtrack. 

Sadly, only the first ‘Yizo Yizo Soundtrack’ album is on DSPs. But that doesn’t erase the existence of the rest. 

Here’s a rank of all 3 ‘Yizo Yizo Soundtracks’: 

3. ‘Yizo Yizo 3’ (2004)

The most eclectic of the ‘Yizo Yizo’ soundtrack trilogy, ‘3’ had everyone from Mandoza to Simphiwe Dana, Skwatta Kamp, H2O, Kabelo and Brown Dash. Brickz, who was still finding his voice and went as Half Brick, occupied the experimental side of the spectrum alongside unorthodox acts like Ndrebele Civilisation and Fatai Rolling Dollar. Slovaz was another of many new voices introduced by the ‘Yizo Yizo Soundtrack’ series with his mellow Kwaito gem ’Sho Sgebengu’. Even Bobo and Gunman had their two minutes with their comical kwaito collaboration ‘What A Mess’. 

None of the ‘Yizo Yizo’ soundtrack albums gave Hip-Hop as much airtime as ‘3’; Cashless Society’s Maggz-assisted ode to Joburg, ‘8-3-1 (I Love You)’, Skwatta Kamp’s ‘Klaima’ and the album’s opening song ‘ILife’ by H2O were signs of a changing musical climate, signs of what would happen in the mid to late 2000s when Hip-Hop blew up in South Africa. 

‘Yizo Yizo 3’ is no doubt a potent offering. Its only problem is that ‘1’ and ‘2’ exist. 

Best song: Mandoza - ‘Respect iLife’ 

2. ‘Yizo Yizo’ (2000)

The first ‘Yizo Yizo Soundtrack’ album is iconic; it was one of the first mainstream releases to seamlessly merge a divergence of genres; from the kwaito, Hip-Hop and Dancehall crossbreed that was the opening song ‘Tlobe Rele Daar’ by Skeem to Amu and Ishmael’s R&B and Hip-Hop collaboration ‘The Good & The Bad’, Prophets of da City’s timeless boom bap gem ‘Da Struggle Continues’, the raw kwaito joints ‘Masukela’ by Kaybee, Mandoza’s ‘Mamgobhozi’ and of course the title track by Kylex.

Ghetto Luv’s ‘I Don’t Want’, an emotionally expressive R&B tune, brought more diversity and freshness while House, which was still at its infancy in South Africa in 2001, was mixed with R&B on Esmile’s ‘Mi House’. Ishmael and Kaybee were essentially the stars of the show as they proved their diversity through the project who could create and fit into any genre.

Best song: Skeem - ‘Tlobe Rele Daar’ 

1. Yizo Yizo 2 (2002)

When it comes to ‘Yizo Yizo’ soundtracks, nothing was as effective as the second installment. ‘Ghetto Fabulous’ still gives you goosebumps to this day. Zola and Kaybee had such great chemistry they would go on to create three classic albums — ‘uMdlwembe’, ‘Khokhovula’ and ‘Bhambatha’ — together. Zola and Nana Magagula’s motivational ‘Uzonqoba’ showed Zola wasn’t a one-dimensional thug. How about Thembi Seete and Wanda’s ‘Sure Ntombazana’ which gave Thembi an identity beyond Boom Shaka and essentially kicked off her solo career? Ishmael’s Gospel hit ‘Avulekile’ was also on this album. So was Mandoza and GP Ma Orange (Israel)’s prison anthem ‘Sorry Sarge’… way too many huge moments on this one, it simply has no competition. 

Best song: Zola & KB - ‘Ghetto Fabulous’




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