Kwaito music is iconic to South African party and music culture. With a massively important place in the country’s history, the genre and some of the stories behind it is very fascinating.
Many people around the world, beginning from South Africa, have danced to kwaito, but do not really know its full story.
What is Kwaito music?
“A style of popular music similar to hip-hop, featuring vocals recited over an instrumental backing with strong bass lines,” the Google definition of Kwaito.
Kwaito is much more than just music. it is an expression and a validation of a way of life. Kwaito has been described as the way South Africans dress, talk and dance.
The word Kwaito originates from the Afrikaans kwaai which used as a slang term is the equivalent of the English term hot. Kwaito led a post-Apartheid township subculture into the mainstream. Despite the fact that the Afrikaans language is associated with the apartheid regime and racial oppression, Afrikaans words are often drawn into the Isicamtho vocabulary, reshaped and used in a related or new context.
Kwaito is a music genre that emerged in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the 1990s. It is a variant of house music featuring the use of African sounds and samples. Typically at a slower tempo range than other styles of house music, Kwaito often contains catchy melodic and percussive loop samples, deep bass lines, and vocals. Despite its similarities to hip hop music, Kwaito has a distinctive manner in which the lyrics are sung, rapped and shouted. American producer Diplo has described Kwaito as “slowed-down garage music,” most popular among the black youth of South Africa
From that point on, Johannesburg township street culture is brought into the mix with the lyrics “talk/rapped” on top with a chorus. The genre has changed throughout the years but the key element, bass, always remains.
I can not lie that I have not been listening to Kwaito music throughout the time I’ve been writing this post. The groove is super! I felt like I was having a party all by my with my earphone’s plugged in. Listen to ” Omunye by Desruction Boyz” If you want to get a feel of what I’m talking about here. You can also listen to “Available by Patoranking” it has that Kwaito feel too.
Till next time though, I need to get up and dance well.