Hip-hop talks to the people

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

A new group comprising the duo Ndumiso "Dezza" Mchunu and S'phamandla "Maraza" Mhlongo has released a new age hip-hop album which pays tribute to South African music legends.

Jus Dat!, an 18-track album, as with most hip-hop lyrics, also deals with social issues such as crime.

Among those mentioned as musicians who shaped the music in their heyday are Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse.

Mazara says: "It is important to pay tribute to those who came before us and who created great music. After doing our own research into the nature of our industry, the music of Mabuse, Chaka Chaka and others had a certain kind of artistic integrity that unfortunately lacks in most of today's music.

"They made music for its artistic integrity. The last thing they considered was money, because money came last.

"But now, it is a different story altogether," says Maraza.

"Our music is the kind of hip-hop that deals with crime, love and cultural values in our communities.

"In a way, you can say what we have done with this album is what other hip-hop artists are not doing.

"For example, we have released several singles that are being played by different DJs on various stations. We have also shot and released two videos, where other groups release one video. In fact, the plan is to release seven videos of this album. That is the kind of image we want," adds Dezza.

He and Maraza have recently toured with Zola 7 on a road show called Zola 7 Make a Difference.

The two, both from KwaZulu-Natal, met at a poetry session at the Horror Cafe in Newtown in 2005.

"The fact that we come from the same province makes it easy to work together.

"We met our producer Victor Malepe at another poetry session at the Windybrow Theatre where we performed recently.

"Our performance was so good some people cried and Victor signed us to Koma Records on the spot," Maraza says.

The duo's album is at selected CD outlets throughout the country. It is distributed independently.