First Listen: Mafia Boyz – ‘Shabba (Gqom Remake)’ – (Gqom Oh!)

Gqom or ‘Igqom’ – the minimal, no-nonsense offshoot of South African House – has been gaining significant international momentum in recent months. Originating in the townships of the coastal city of Durban, it’s assembled by local teenage artists with a staunch DIY approach and shared on South African file sharing site Kasimp3The word ‘Gqom’ is said to come from the sound you get when you drop a rock on floor tiling, which is fitting considering how unrelenting the drum elements can be. Notable Gqom trio Rudeboyz revealed their debut self-titled EP for London’s Goon Club Allstars in May and we brought you a free download of unreleased belter – ‘Japanese Sax’.

DJ/producer Nan Kolè recently set up the label Gqom Oh! to further spread this fast-growing genre. The imprint will release a sampler EP ‘The Sound Of Durban’ July 24 that epitomises the current crop of emerging talent, with remakes of popular songs like Adele’s ‘Hometown’ by Citizen Boy and Busta Rhymes’ ‘Touch It’ by Cruel Boyz, of Eastern Cape. A 12 track, 10 artist compilation album is also set to be released on the label in November.

We’ve got an exclusive stream from the EP, a frenetic remake of A$AP Ferg’s 2013 Rap anthem ‘Shabba’ by production group Mafia Boyz, who astonishingly possess an average age of 17. Opening with dirty, thudding kicks typical of Gqom, a doomy bass drone lingers whilst percussive layers steadily build alongside yelping vocal chops of the original track. This is thunderous prime time music that avoids dropping into a full on club piece, rather drifting into a mesmeric yet rather unsettling plateau. Have a listen below…

 ‘The Sound Of Durban’ is out July 24 on Gqom Oh! Pre-order it here.

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