Redefining the Meaning of Genre

Thula Mkhwanazi

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We had a chat with Una to talk music taste, style and who is on his current genreless playlist.

Setting the tone to genreless music

Musicians have moved and started creating in the spaces between genres, bending the convention and creating what they call, genreless music. The genreless wave is made up of a hybrid of sounds, knowing no limits. The style is influenced by artists like Sjava an Una Rams.

Known as the personification of African cool, Thohoyandou born artist Unarine Rambani, better known as Una Rams, is certainly one of the artists who infuse different styles into his music. Una is a new age South African musician, with a rare combination of skills such as rapping, singing, and production that incorporates the beautiful spirit of the Vhavenda tribe.

Genreless music is not about a category or demographic. We are in a time  where music tastes are infused, influenced by music streaming, producing creative music and experimental sounds. This is what makes Una Rams a force to be reckoned with. If the sounds of tracks like Girls Like You, Chocolate and Nobody are anything to go by, he is not to be boxed in.

We had a chat with Una to talk music taste, style and who is on his current genreless playlist.  

1. What’s your take on the age of genreless music?

There is nothing new under the sun. Art has always been about borrowing and re-inventing. The artist has their own array of influences and uses those as a foundation for how they approach their own creative process. Hip-hop heavily borrowed from jazz, soul, and funk when it started out and has continued to do so in this day and age. There were these walls that existed between genres and by being influenced by one other, we kind of broke them down one track at a time. Now we’re at this ‘genre-less’ state because the walls are low enough for us to hardly tell the difference. I think it’s beautiful.

2. Does your music fit into any boxes?

Most definitely. It fits into multiple boxes, as a #WavyBaby I am like the water, gracefully flowing on various types of instrumentals. I do not believe in limiting my abilities and that’s something I’ve come to teach my listeners as well. I think that makes it exciting for them because they don’t know what to expect next. I appreciate that they trust and understand that I’ll deliver and I do. I’m a sonic nomad that’s constantly in search of a new and fresh landscape. The core message will be the same but I’ll use new sounds and styles so I express myself differently. This is why I describe my music as a human. It’s constantly growing…continuously evolving.

3. Top 3 “genre-less” tracks currently

a) Una Rams – Good Intentions

This song is poetic – not just because it starts off with a poetry piece either. In a fortunate stroke of serendipity, this was the last song we created for Wavy Baby while we were trying to come up with a transition for the space between Mood and Murder. When Jayjay hit two particular chords I heard a completely new song. 

Blues, soft rock, R&B and a sprinkle of rap were the ingredients thrown into the musical blender to create a newly flavored emo-milkshake. These made this sound even more like a ballad with Thabsie’s angelic vocals and the strings that accompanied her. Did you hear that transition at 04:00?

b) Ricky Rick – You and I

You can hear the two different worlds come together both giving, not taking away from each other, there are so many layers from different genres stacked on top of each other to create a tasteful experience, sort of like how Walt Disney’s MultiPlane camera works.

Peter CottonTale – Forever Always (ft. Chance The Rapper, Rex Orange County, Daniel Caesar

I wish Frank Ocean was also on this. Peter took 3 completely different artists and let each of them take us on a trip through their own world, kind of like how the different ghosts take Scrooge in the movie, A Christmas Carol.

Check out Una Rams latest visual drop from  his single Nobody. The mid-tempo track shows off Una Ram’s vast range and unique sound.

Tell us, what are your top 3 songs on your genreless playlist?