Omunye – Distruction Boyz ft Benny Maverick & Dladla Mshunqisi
Ever heard of gqom? Well if it’s any consolation, neither had I until I came across an article on the BBC’s website entitled ‘The South African sound taking over Europe’. The short article and accompanying video was mainly about Durban’s ‘Distruction Boys’ and how their style of music called gqom was garnering a following in Europe to the extent that they had been nominated for the Best African Act at the MTV Europe music awards (they didn’t win unfortunately).
So what exactly is gqom? Well, judging from the various tracks I’ve heard, its kind of like a clash between kwaito, 1990’s electronic dance music and hip hop (although I’ve probably left off some other influences). The Distruction Boyz, namely Que and Goldmax from the home of gqom, KwaMashu in KwaZulu Natal, are at the forefront of this movement and ‘Omunye’ is one of their most popular tracks.
It has a kwaito beat but overlaid with that sort of vast electronic sound that acts like Leftfield, The Orb and The Chemical Brothers used. On the lyrical front there is not a lot to talk about with the song’s title ‘Omunye’ which means ‘one’ according to Google’s translate function. But, like most dance music, its about the beats, not the words, and this ‘one’ you can surely dance to. Not the bouncing round your bedroom practising your John Travolta moves mind you, this is the jumping around a club with loads of flashing lights kind of dancing we’re talking about.
The Boyz have also been influenced by the American Hip Hop scene and you only need to watch the video for the song with the party at the mansion and loads of scantily clad woman all around the place posing and twerking to see this. While ‘Omunye’ draws on a variety of styles for its influence, there is a sort of freshness to the sound and one that you would struggle to imagine coming from anywhere else but South Africa.
Where to find it:
Gqom Is The Future – Distruction Boyz (2017)