For those of you who celebrate Valentine’s Day, we have prepared a little gift for you because we have nothing but love for you.
Brickz – “Sweety My Baby”
Try escaping this song in 2005. Brickz’s first hit single “Sweety My Baby” was ubiquitous, one of those songs radio overplayed to a point where you hated yourself for loving it. Brickz’ high-pitched voice sat well on DJ Cleo’s rubbery bassline and futuristic synthesisers which were then new to kwaito.
Malaika – “Destiny”
Guffy’s one of the best South African producers and on Malaika’s “Destiny”, he made it clear why. Tshedi Moholo’s natural vocals over those keys, wavy pads and a catchy rhythm made for a simplistic addictive tune that, though a tad corny (with lines like “you are the air that I breathe”), thoroughly entertains to this day.
Zola – “Sana Lwami” (featuring Unathi)
Kwaito legend Zola and vocalist Unathi’s duet of love-gone-wrong made for a great listen. Unathi played a suspecting woman to her man (played by Zola) who denied all the rumours of him cheating with a girl named Noxolo. “She’s just a friend, ang’na-address ang’na-bhelas,” he explains. All this over producer KayBee’s clean kicks and basslines married to virtuoso sampling skills.
Trompies – “Sweety Lavo”
The godfathers of pantsula, Trompies’ “Sweety Lavo” had an overt shebeen-ready bubblegum flavour – and that’s nothing to complain about. The four dudes made it clear they weren’t pleased with “Sweety Lavo” knowing of their indulgent habits.
Brown Dash – “Vum Vum”
When Brown Dash and M’du Masilela got together, to put it simply, magic happened. Over those heavy basslines that American hip hop producer DJ Mustard has now made his own, Brown Dash, M’du and then-rookie Brickz serenaded their lucky ladies. Did you notice that Brickz’s first two bars gave birth to his biggest hit to date, “Sweety My Baby”?
Mafikizolo – “Emlanjeni”
A list of South African lovey-dovey songs would be incomplete without Mafikizolo’s “Emlanjeni”. An embellished cover of the legendary Miriam Makeba’s “Meet me at the River”, this song is for those who still believe in that old school love, that fairytale and 90s’ RnB type of love.
Mzambiya – “Of Love and Kwaito” (featuring Percy)
Child superstar Mzambiya, on the verge of adolescence, lets fellow child star Percy in on the pleasures and complications of love. New to love himself, he is conflicted about the feeling. Their conversational “Of Love and Kwaito” is surely one of the best kwaito love songs of all time. What makes it more amazing is that it’s performed by young teenagers.
Mshoza – “Kortes”
Before Mshoza specialised in making tabloid headlines for skin bleaching and gold-digging, she was a kwaito star of note. “Kortes”, one of her best works, assisted by then-label mate Mzambiya saw the tom boy show love to Kortes, a girl who drove her crazy when she adorned a hat. It was probably a spoti. Yes? No?
DJ Bongz – “Sobabili”
Durban DJs changed kwaito, some claim they killed it by turning it into house (that’s a discussion for another day). One of the first acts marking Durban’s coupe on the Soweto-centric kwaito genre, DJ Bongz introduced himself to South African music lovers in pure style. The swaggering female Zulu vocals on that tune just made a lot of guys want to relocate to Durbz.
Pitch Black Afro – “Never Let You Go” (featuring Verd)
After a platinum-selling debut, Pitch Black Afro was under pressure to deliver on his sophomore offering. After parting ways with production maestro DJ Cleo, it was always going to be interesting what he would come back with. “Never Let You Go” was more pop than the hip hop and kwaito hybrid he had impressed South Africans with on his debut album, Styling Gel. But it worked and proved he wasn’t a one-hit wonder… but rather a two-hit wonder. What happened to Verd?
Holding image of Trompies by Andiswa Mkosi