Boomkat Product Review:
Crucial comp of raw, darkside early gqom from Durban pioneers Phelimuncasi, aka DJ Mp3, DJ Scoturn, and DJ Menzi, vented on the ever vital Nyege Nyege Tapes. Unmissable for fans of dark, heavy dance music of all stripes!
For Phelimancusi’s overdue first international showcase, NNT follow a number of excursions into this sound from DJ Menzi and Sleeping Buddha for sibling label Hakuna Kulala with a mix of vintage early works and banging new exclusives, produced as recently as 2019 in the downtime after their incendiary performance at the label’s annual festival. Alongside the gqom archaeology of Italian-based GqomOh! label, this lot is a vital piece of the genre’s history, charting the way DJ Mp3, DJ Scoturn, and DJ Menzi shaped Durban’s brutalist “taxi techno” sound on their own terms from their base in the Mlanzi township.
Gqom is a staple sound at NNT’s annual festival in Jinja, Uganda and always brings the best moves out of the SA dancers (and everyone else for that matter). As recently revealed on his shocking ‘Impazamo’ tape for Hakuna Kulala, DJ Menzi is one of the scene’s wildcards, and his joints are a big highlight here, counting the heavy call and response lyrics, signature Zulu trills and hard clang of his ‘Private Party’ anthem, the Terminator-stare drones of ‘GQOM Venus Cemetrary’ and the desiccated bones of ‘Umgido’ among the comp’s heaviest drops.
Racked up beside an infectious introduction to gone-but-not-fogotten producers, DJ Scoturn with the menacing bell hook and bouncing MCs of ‘Umahlalela’, and the starkly martial snares of DJ Mp3’s ‘Sesi Gora’, which sounds like mutant dancehall dispatched via late ‘80s Chicago, this lot is surely more than your RDA of the deadliest stuff, and absolutely primed for skulking deserted inner cities and counting down to the apocalypse.