01 June 2013 was the night, Zula Sound Bar was the place. The night in question, Cape Town’s stormiest night of the year thus far, had Ohayv Ahbir bringing the Umzabalazo Tour to Cape Town. Ohayv is a hip hop artist from Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
On the Cape Town installment of the tour, Ohayv had Zanzolo, one half of Uzwi Kantu and Jargon Music opening the show for him. Before the show started the DJ, Adon Geel warmed up the crowd with some old school hip hop jams. One song that stood out that he played was Common’s a song for Assata. The song is about Assata Shakur and how she sacrificed her life for the liberation of black people. It’s a beautiful song. That moment right there was enough to make me cry.
“Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road to emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being _ Steve Bantu Biko”
The Biko quote above is a true representation of the artists that were opening for Ohayv that night. They are on the road to emancipation, as they describe themselves as black and they are using music as a tool to fight against social injustice.
Zanzolo, from Khayelitsha, Cape Town, delivered a flawless performance, which cannot always be said for artists opening a show. He set the tone for the night with his confrontational yet moving lyrics. He moved the place with tracks like ibhokhwe and the clear crowd favorite we going places.
Next up was Jargon Music, the duo from Delft South, Cape Town. They started their set off with a song done on a Zim Nqawana beat, paying homage to the musical genius that is Zim. After the show some people said that they could feel the spirit of tat’uZim amongst us after that performance. Their performance was a musically enticing one. Something that most of us have come to expect from Jargon Music.
Next on stage was usingaye – the man of the moment, Ohayv. Ohavy’s music is a true experience. His first set was with his DJ, performing new and old songs with the well-known song Umzabalazo weRap setting the house on fire. His second set was with his band; Syfo Matsitshi on bass, Yahav on drums and him on vocals and keys. Before he started his set with the band he noted that he doesn’t just do hip hop, he makes hip hop MUSIC. His rendition of Umzabalazo weRap with his band was exquisitely done. He delivered a hardcore hip hop performance, with beautiful musical elements.
All three of the performances were extraordinary. 01 June – a musical experience I will never forget.
These artists have a lot to offer the South African music industry. With such musical gems tucked away, it makes you wonder about the current state and future of South African music.
“I’m more than just a little excited about the crumbling of the opulence in the music industry in South Africa, cos maybe now the shiny reward for being silent on core issues may not be so shiny after all; maybe artists will refuse to trade their influence in for high-priced silence _ Zubz the last letter”
Ohayv’s album is called: something I love: a love foundation LP available from the man himself upon request.
On soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ohayv