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Driemanskap and friends to feature at Youth Day Celebration in Gugs

Youth Day Celebrations

Come and celebrate Youth Day (Sunday 16th June) in Gugulethu with Driemanskap and many other of your favourite Cape Town artists including Kanyi, Ill Skillz, The Ruffest and Chronic Clan. There will also be a full DJ line-up, 5-a-side street soccer, basketball and a soup kitchen. It’s a full day of entertainment and it’s totally FREE.

The main aim of the event is to give back to those in need. Please bring any blankets, books, kids toys, clothes or food (preferably tinned or dry). It’s a free event so please give generously!

Time and Date:
Sunday June 16th, 2013.
11:00 – 18:00

Gugulethu Sports Complex
NY1, Gugulethu 7750.

View Gugulethu Sports Complex in a larger map


Live Performances by:
Ill Skillz
Chronic Clan
The Ruffest
Four Seasons Marimba Band

On Decks:
DJ Zwai
DJ Milli Bala
DJ Digital
DJ Sticks
Kaunda Muzical

That’s how we rrrrrrrrrroll!!

Pre-Election Day Special. The Government by Rattex and Ben Sharpa

With South African local government elections tomorrow, we decided to liberate a track that is just as relevant today as the day it came out 3 years ago. On The Government, Rattex and Ben Sharpa break down the government’s failure to deliver on its promises, especially those made around election time.

The Government is another Planet Earth banger. In case you’ve been on holiday in a different universe, Planet Earth is the Guguletu-based producer now famous for creating Driemanskap’s breakthrough hit S’phum’eGugs (We’re from Gugs).

The Government is yours to download for FREE – just click the small black arrow on the right of the music player widget below.

The Government – Rattex Ft. Ben Sharpa by PioneerUnit

Use your vote wisely!

That’s how we rrrrrrrrrrrrroll!!

10 Gems for SA Hip Hop from Chuck D

December 7, 2010 Activism, Culture, Opinion 2 Comments

Chuck D at Red Bull Studios

I first saw Public Enemy Live at the Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1987. It was a mind blowing experience that I will never forget. It changed the way I thought about music forever and is still an inspiration for the work I do today.

Chuck D is an icon of conscious hip hop and a true music revolutionary. Last night I was lucky enough to attend a Public Enemy workshop at Red Bull Studios in Cape Town. Chuck D spoke for 2 hours on the state of hip hop and global music culture. He also spoke extensively on the future of (South) African hip hop. Shaking his hand and listening to him talk yesterday was an incredibly moving and inspirational experience.

Although Chuck D spoke at great length, and in great detail, I thought it would be a good idea to create a list of 10 most interesting things I remember. I originally posted these on Twitter (#10GemsFromChuckD) and Facebook, but Mikko Kapanen suggested that I give them a more permanent home on this blog, so here we go…

‎01. Don’t be an ‘Afrimerican’ – don’t copy the US. Be proudly African

02. SA needs an infrastructure that supports local hip hop (DJs / radio / media / blogs)

03. Don’t let corporations (like MTV or Metro FM) dictate your musical / cultural agenda

04. Be accountable for the music you make – words are powerful and have consequences

05. Africa can be a global hip hop powerhouse if it chooses to be. Believe!

06. Embrace indigenous languages – that’s what makes us unique in the world

07. Focus on your live performance – your live show must kick your video’s ass

08. Groups or movements are more powerful than a single person. Be a team. Up your game!

09. Build strong networks in SA, and throughout Africa. Connect the continent

10. Confront difficult issues of race and inequality in South Africa – these are stories people need to hear

Catch Public Enemy tonight at The Assembly and tomorrow night at Atmospheer.

That’s how we rrrrrrrrrrrrroll!!

Manqoba Recording with Driemanskap at Red Bull Studios

As you may know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, we recently celebrated our 3rd birthday by hosting a series of open mic competitions with Kool Out Entertainment and Red Bull. If you didn’t know, you can read all about it here.

The winner of the competition was a young emcee from Khayelitsha, Cape Town, called Manqoba. His prize was a recording session at Red Bull Studios where he made an EP that will be digitally released by Pioneer Unit.

We spent 3 days with Steve Elsworth, the head engineer at Red Bull Studios, recording 5 great tracks. 4 of the tracks were solo joints with Hipe on production. For the fifth track Driemanskap came through with an El Nino beat and recorded a collaboration.

We’re extremely happy with the work everyone put in and the quality of the music that was created. We have always believed that there is a huge amount of unrecognised and untapped talent in Cape Town. There’s always a concern that a dope street emcee may not have the necessary skills for a professional recording environment, but Manqoba was a pleasure to work with. He came well-prepared, his delivery was on point and most importantly, his attitude was great.

We hope to have Manqoba’s EP, Khaltsha Stand Up, ready for release by September 2010. Watch this space for more information.

Check out some photos and video of the recording session…

Manqoba Red Bull Session_001
Steve sets up the mic (click image for larger version).

Manqoba Red Bull Session_003
Manqoba on the mic (click image for larger version).

Manqoba Red Bull Session_006
Manqoba spittin’ heat (click image for larger version).

Manqoba Red Bull Session_009
Manqoba and his boys (click image for larger version).

Manqoba Red Bull Session_013
Manqoba and Redondo (click image for larger version).

Manqoba Red Bull Session_016
El Nino rehearses his verse (click image for larger version).

Manqoba Red Bull Session_019
El Nino gives Manqoba some advice (click image for larger version).

Manqoba Red Bull Session_023
Manqoba in the booth with Driemanskap (click image for larger version).

Check out some video courtesy of So Real TV.com

Check out the full set of photos (24) on Flickr

That’s how we rrrrrrrrrrrroll!!

Pioneer Unit Creates Soundtrack for Mario and the Rude Boys Documentary

About 2 years ago AfricaSoccer asked us if we had any tracks that might be appropriate for a documentary about an ex-gangster who has dedicated his life to offering young gangsters an alternative to gang life by getting them involved in football.

We loved the project so we submitted some tracks. After some discussion, our very own Pioneer Unit super-producer Hipe was invited to create the sound track for the whole documentary.

Documentaries like this are a labour of love that have to be put together on virtually no budget. Mario is doing fantastic work on the Cape Flats and we believe that this documentary will give some much needed attention to his cause.

In the words of the producers,

“When we met a man called Mario, and heard how in 10 years hitting the streets, he’s already rescued 1,000 kids from the clutches of gangs, drugs & violent crime we were impressed. When he told us he did it through Soccer we were spell bound. When we met the boys and young men that had been changed by him & heard their stories we were humbled and felt that we had no choice but to help.”

After 2 years of hard work Mario and the Rude Boys is almost complete, but still needs some funding to pay for a few final expenses (entries to film festivals, marketing, titling, final post-production etc). The producers have created a page on indiegogo where you can help contribute to the completion of the project. They also have a Facebook fan page.

Take a look a short trailer for the Mario and the Rude Boys

Mario and the Rude Boys on Indiegogo

Become a fan of Mario and the Rude Boys on Facebook

That’s how we rrrrrrrrrroll!!

KOL / Pioneer Unit Open Mic Challenge Champ Crowned at Zula

Last Saturday (29th May), Manqoba won the KOL / Pioneer Unit open mic challenge, narrowly defeating Garlic Brown, Lex Luthor and Nicotine Lung. The winner was decided by crowd reaction but, despite great performances by all four finalists, Manqoba’s punchlines and high energy performance sealed the victory for the Khayelitsha representative.

Manqoba’s prize is a recording session at Red Bull Studios where he will make an EP that will be digitally released by Pioneer Unit. All money earned through sales will go to the artist. Because we felt that all the finalists were so strong, and that no one really deserved to lose, we decided to also record a track featuring all the finalists for inclusion on the EP.

Saturday’s event was part of the Kool Out Live / Pioneer Unit joint birthday celebrations. One emcee was chosen from each of four open mic sessions that were held in four different hoods (Kuils River, Phillipi, Khayelitsha and Guguletu) during the month of May. The winners of each open mic session were invited to compete at a final which was part of the KOL Presents: Pioneer Unit All Stars event at Zula Sound Bar on Long Street that featured Ben Sharpa, Driemanskap and Jaak.

Pioneer Unit is proud to have been part of this initiative. There’s a lot of talent out there and virtually no platform for artists to shine. We’d like to thank Red Bull for playing their part, and of course KOL. Also thanks to Camilo, Caveman, Driemanskap, Illverse, Metabolism and Mingus for hosting the various open mic sessions. Last, but not least, big up all the emcees who came through to take part. Keep your dreams alive and keep doing your thing! Hopefully we’ll be doing this again.

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 083
DJ ID and Mingus enjoying hosting (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 081
Manqoba ripping the mic (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 073
Nicotine Lung asking what’s up (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 082
Lex Luthor takes his turn (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 029
The unmistakeable Garlic Brown (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 038
Manqoba and Lex Luthor wait to hear the verdict (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 001
The crowd showing love (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 057
Jaak setting it off (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 068
Driemanskap sending the crowd wild (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 007
Ma-B working the crowd (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 018
Amandla Awethu! (click photo for larger version)

KOL Ft. Pioneer Unit All Stars / 021
The aliens are coming! (click photo for larger version)

Click here for the full set of photos (84) on Flickr

That’s how we rrrrrrrrrroll!!

Artists Against Crime N Drugs

March 25, 2010 Activism, Community, Live No Comments

Artists Against Crime N Drugs

Come join us at Guguletu Sports Complex this Saturday 27th March between 13h00 and 19h00 for an afternoon of great music and basketball. Artists include: Driemanskap, Rattex, Crosby, Fifth Floor, Ill Skillz and many more.

That’s how we rrrrrrrroll!!

Support Anti-Xenophobia Initiatives

The recent wave of brutal xenophobic attacks on fellow African brothers and sisters in South Africa has left 56 people dead, 650 injured and tens of thousands of innocent people displaced and living in fear. The situation is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis.

The South African government has begun to set up ‘shelters’ to house people seeking refuge from the violence. These ‘shelters’ are being described by international aid agencies as ‘refugee camps’.

The Hip Hop community has come together to raise its voice in protest against this unacceptable situation. We want to let the world know that we condemn these attacks, and that whilst many South Africans are living in situations of unacceptable poverty and hardship, turning on fellow Africans is not the solution.

Pioneer Unit is supporting various anti-xenophobia initiatives. Rattex and Ben Sharpa will be performing at 2 awareness and fund-raising gigs this weekend (see below). We have also contributed tracks to Emile YX’s Heal the Hood CD and book project (more details soon). We will also be contributing to Nymabz’s forthcoming anti-xenophobia mixtape as well as releasing our own material. Keep it locked for more info.

State of Emergency (CPT)_

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Date and Time: Sunday 1st June @ 12.00 – 19.00
Venue: All NYz, Gugulethu Sports Complex, Cape Town.
Cost: FREE! Please donate clothes, blankets, nappies and non-perishable food.
Performances: Rattex, Driemanskaap, Nosisi, Tapedeck Circuitry, Jitsvinger, Sketch, Khanyi & many more.
Speakers: Emile YX, Lizo (Round Table), Xito
DJs: Quake
Dancers: Black Noise
State of Emergency Facebook Event page

Headz Against Violence (JHB)_

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Date and Time: Sunday 1st June @ 12.00 – 22.00
Venue: Baseline, Newtown, Joburg.
Cost: R50 Please donate clothes, blankets, nappies and non-perishable food.
Performances: Ben Sharpa, Tumi, Tuks, The Hymphatic Thabs, Reason, Middle Finga, Snazz-D, Koldproduk, Jub Jub, Zubz, Jozi & many more.
DJs: Papercutt, Bionic, Kenzhero, Beatoven, Redwood & Raiko
Headz Against Violence Facebook Event page

Enforce Music Quotas in South Africa Now!

November 22, 2007 Activism No Comments

This issue really makes my blood boil. South Africa does actually have a 25% local music quota but according to the South African Music Quota Coalition, it is regularly ignored, “due to loopholes such as playing local content in the early hours of the morning, non-enforcement, and being allowed to use gig guides and interviews to offset their quota.”

The government needs to wake up and realise that without a strictly enforced local music quota (personally, I think 70% would be good), they are promoting and sustaining a culture of inferiority around local music and creating conditions that make it almost impossible for our talented industry to grow. A quota imposed on our media would force the majors in South Africa to invest in our local product.

We have been conditioned to believe that ‘local’ is inferior because we are brainwashed by foreign concepts of what constitutes good music. It wouldn’t be so bad if niche music was being imported, but we are subjected to the worst kind of lowest common denominator pop music from overseas.

The local music industry takes the path of least resistance. The ‘big four’ aka the ‘majors’ (Sony BMG, EMI, Universal and Warner) are more than happy to keep subjecting us to this barrage of foreign mediocrity because it’s easy money for them. All the hard work has been done overseas (the slick production, the expensive videos and the marketing campaigns). They are simply maximising the return on their investment and who can blame them?

Total domination of our media is ensured by the fact that our media relies on the major’s content to survive. In effect, the South African media works for the majors. Impose quotas on the media and the majors will be forced to invest locally or die.

The foreign domination of our media also means that South African niche music is effectively marginalised out of existence, distorting our local music industry and killing creativity. Only the most mainstream and superficial South African music has any chance of competing and surviving.

The more effectively you copy the foreign imports, the more likely you are to gain acceptance in this paradigm. Just look at two of our most popular RnB singers, Danny K and Loyiso – they are simply imitating a tried and tested formula from the US.

When the majors do get involved with local music, it is often done with no vision or commitment. Look how ineptly Pro Kid, one of our brightest South African Hip Hop talents, was treated. Gallo half-heartedly marketed him (only producing 1 video for Heads and Tales) before putting out DNA, a rushed second album with even less promotion – no video, no tours and limited radio play (I still haven’t heard one track from that album). Pro Kid is now signed to TS Records, an independent label, where hopefully he will enjoy more success.

It’s a vicious circle of the most simple and effective kind. Our artists struggle to get their music played on radio or TV, therefore the potential fans don’t know their music is out there, therefore they don’t buy it. Distributors won’t support local music because ‘it doesn’t sell’. It doesn’t sell because people don’t know it exists. Only quotas will break this circle.

The problem is definitely not that we don’t have the talent. We have artists on Pioneer Unit whose music is played regularly on the BBC in the UK, and who have performed at Glastonbury (amongst other places). Influential radio DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, who has been likened by many to the legendary John Peel, described our own Ben Sharpa and KONFAB as “two of the most inspired and agile lyricists in the world today” yet neither can get their music played on SA radio because it ‘doesn’t fit the format’.

So what can be done?

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You can go to the South African Music Quota Coalition website and sign their petition.

You can also join their Facebook group.


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