iGqom Never Dies: The Rise and Resilience of South Africa’s Hottest Dance Music

    iGqom Never Dies: The Rise and Resilience of South Africa's Hottest Dance Music

    iGqom, also known as gqom or qgom, is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 2010s from Durban, South Africa. It is characterized by its minimal, raw and repetitive sound with heavy bass beats and no four-on-the-floor rhythm pattern. The name iGqom comes from an onomatopoeic combination of click consonants in isiZulu meaning a hitting drum.

    iGqom was developed by a young generation of technologically skilled DJs who produced their music using software such as FL Studio and often self-distributed their tracks on file sharing platforms. Some of the pioneers of the genre include DJ Nathan_Medee, DJ Lag, Rudeboyz, Griffit Vigo, Mbreshcar SA and Citizen Boy. iGqom also gained popularity through its association with various dance moves, such as gwara gwara, vosho and bhenga.

    Despite facing challenges such as lack of mainstream recognition, censorship and piracy, iGqom has managed to survive and thrive both locally and internationally. The genre has attracted the attention of music connoisseurs such as South African rapper Okmalumkoolkat, Italian record label Gqom Oh owner Malumz Kole and public relations liaison Cherish Lala Mankai. It has also been embraced by influential musicians such as Rihanna, who performed the gwara gwara dance move at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018.

    iGqom is more than just a music genre; it is a cultural expression that reflects the realities and aspirations of the youth in Durban and beyond. It is a testament to the creativity and resilience of South Africa’s hottest dance music scene. iGqom never dies; it only evolves and expands.

    Some of the most popular and influential iGqom artists in South Africa and beyond include:

    • Cairo Cpt: A DJ and producer from Cape Town who is known for his hit song Lakhal’iGqom, featuring King Sdudla. The song has a catchy chorus and a powerful bassline that makes it a club anthem. The music video for the song has over 1.5 million views on YouTube.
    • Muzi: A DJ and producer from Empangeni who blends iGqom with other genres such as hip-hop, electro and pop. He has released several albums, such as Zeno and Afrovision, that showcase his versatility and creativity. He has also collaborated with artists such as Okmalumkoolkat, Sho Madjozi and Tiro.
    • Sho Madjozi: A rapper, singer and songwriter from Limpopo who incorporates iGqom, kwaito and gqomu into her music. She is known for her colorful and vibrant style and her songs that celebrate her Tsonga culture and identity. She rose to fame with her hit song John Cena, which went viral on social media and caught the attention of the WWE superstar himself.
    • DJ Lag: A DJ and producer from Clermont who is widely regarded as the pioneer of iGqom. He started making music at the age of 12 and has since developed his own signature sound that he calls \”gqomu\”. He has performed at festivals and clubs around the world and has collaborated with artists such as Kelela, Beyoncé and Diplo.
    • FAKA: A performance art duo from Johannesburg consisting of Fela Gucci and Desire Marea. They use iGqom, house and kwaito as a medium to express their queer identity and challenge the norms of society. They have released several EPs, such as Bottoms Revenge and Amaqhawe, that feature their experimental and provocative sound.

    These are just some of the many talented iGqom artists who are making waves in the music industry and beyond. They are proof that iGqom is not only a genre, but a movement that is constantly evolving and inspiring others.

    Hi, I’m Adam Smith

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