Gqom!!! The Origins of Gqom from a Soweto Boy

Good Day everyone I hope you are having a splendid week, this week I opted on researching something that I thought I knew a lot about but in turn I did not know much about it, I hope I somehow get to shed a light on some stuff you might not have known about this genre that went to a lot of foreign countries way before it blew up in our own shores.

Just in case you are lost I am talking about Gqom Music or depending on who you are talking to iSgubu, iGqomu and a bunch of other names this genre might have been given.

In my research of this whole topic, I got to watch a bunch load of YouTube videos and listen to a lot of podcasts so I will try by all means to convey what I learned through those channels and at the end, I will include links to them.

Gqom is a House sub-genre that originates from uMlazi a Township on the outskirts of Durban.

This genre was created by guys my age who where around 16-20 in 2010-2012, they like most people I grew up with used a cracked version of Fruity Loops Studio and unlike my friends these kids where not trying to imitate something that was already on the radio they created a whole new genre. Something that I can say was a direct deeper, darker version of Tribal House Music which you would hear from guys like Culoe de Song in his early days.

Their finished songs were un-mastered so when they went to radio stations asking them to play their tunes they were turned down. Which forced them to be innovative by means of playing them in Taxi’s en-route Durban from uMlazi which gave rise to a sub-genre called Taxi Kick and it was also said that if your songs blew up in this format then it will be played all over Durban from South Beach and so forth and on the other side they uploaded songs to Kasimp3 or even WhatsApp groups where after producing a banger they would just upload it there and people who have the latest songs.

Now lets talk about the kids who made this genre before it blew. I am sorry I do not know their real names but then we have DJ Lag whom I mentioned on that OkMalumKoolKat piece, Citizen Boy, Rudeboyz Audioboyz and Nakedboyz just to name a few and at most these kids are groups of about 2-7 guys per group or so. They say the reason behind that is because of the fact that everyone in the group have their own specialties when it comes to creating songs. I guess you might have noticed that I did not include Destruction Boyz on that list and guess what that comes with good reason.

Way before Tira and DJ Bongz found they were gatekeepers to this whole thing to a certain extant I would say this music blew up in places like France and England way before gates opened this side. Remember that site (kasimp3.com) I spoke about earlier on? Yeah that’s how most of these kids got their big break. There is this guy from Rome, France named Francesco “Nan Kolè” Cucchi or Malumz Kole who fell in love with the raw sound that was shunned upon by Radio and the older generation at large and created a record label named Gqom Oh! which he would use to release their songs to the international stage and guess what they blew up and DJ Tira and them came knocking but I guess when that was happening kids from affluent neighborhoods whom by effect also loved the sound created their own version which is what most of us listen to on the radio at the moment.

I hear you say ahhh Thabang you are lying we all listen to the same Gqom and I am just going to say to you nah that’s not true, the radio plays whats termed iSgubu not Gqom, I am talking about Destruction Boyz, DJ Maphorisa and them those guys create iSgubu and the guys I mentioned earlier on create Gqom. To get Technical I will say that Gqom has Syncopated beats, some will say broken beat or even 3 step kick or something like that and its a bit darker whereas with iSgubu its lighter you can play that on radio and it has 4/4 step kick which said to be what you always hear on radio. Check out the video below to find out more about this specific part.

Make sure you check out the video below for more info on South African Music that is not that known.

Future Sound of Mzansi (Part 1)

Links for more info

Afropop Worldwide

BBC World Service

Redbull Music Academy

Fact Magazine

I hope this piece got to inform a bit about Gqom and so forth. if you feel I am wrong somewhere just hit me up in the comment section or via twitter.

About the Author Thabang Modau

The name is Takalani Modau but for some reasons I go by Thabang, I'm from Soweto. I'm a huge music fan, it doesn't matter what you bring to me as it's great I will bump to it. I live with my wife, son and my younger sister. I have a full time job as a uhm lets say Data Capturer. I spent most of my day with headsets on if I am not listening to something on Spotify then I am watching something on YouTube or Netflix. I have been blogging on and off since 2012, it started as a means of me sharing my views on certain things to people in general and so forth. . I hope you enjoy reading my blog. if you want to get in touch please hit me up on twitter.

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