There’s a tendency here in South Africa of not celebrating our music, but I don’t blame it much on us the consumers, I blame it on the record companies. I was looking at Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album, the album was released in 1982, after that the album has been reissued/re-released several times into different editions, containing remastered songs, alternate versions of the songs, previously unreleased songs. The album is celebrated, it’s heritage to the Americans. So this got me thinking, why there isn’t something like that here in Mzansi? There are so many local albums that I consider classics and I would love to see them being remastered and reissued. I had most of these albums on cassettes but they are nowhere to be found on CDs! Especially the 90’s kwaito, and mid-tempo house era.
So this year I want to celebrate an album that I think it’s significant, ”Mkhukhu Funkshen” by Skwatta Kamp. The album was released in 2003 in the era that local Hip Hop was on the rise. For me ”Mkhukhu Funkshen” was one of the first local Hip Hop albums to do well commercially. The first single “Umoya” was such a smash hit, everybody loved it – even my O’lady loved it. “Umoya” was one of those songs that hit you instantly weather you’re into Hip Hop or not. The album was well made, well produced and I just couldn’t skip a track! I remember Lira sang the chorus for “Eskhaleni” and honestly back then I never thought she would be this far (Not in a bad way though). Listening to “Eskhaleni” now just made me realise how far she has come. When ”Mkhukhu Funkshen” came out, everybody wanted to be a rapper, even I wanted to be a rapper. The album became a land mark for Mzansi Hip Hop from 2003 to now, it kind of opened doors for other Hip Hop cats because they wanted to compete with Skwatta Kamp. A lot of underground Hip Hop cats came out on the surface, cats like H20, Zulu Mobb, Cashless Society and others. I am not that clued up about Hip Hop but I think Skwatta Kamp made people appreciate local Hip Hop more, after ”Mkhukhu Funkshen” people began to appreciate movements like Motswako. Unfortunately I had this album on cassette when it came out, now I can’t seem to find it anywhere and I know if there are people who still have it on CD, chances are it might be super scratched.
It’s been a decade since the release of this great classic album and I know Skwatta Kamp released several albums before ”Mkhukhu Funkshen” and after. Bozza, Flabba, Shuga Smaks, Nemza and Slikour have done some solo albums, but I wonder what happened to Infa and Nish? So this year I commemorate this album and I wish it could be reissued as a 10th anniversary deluxe edition, and if there was a way, it would be gold plated. Big Up, I Salute Ma’gents.
By Peter “P.Mash” Mashabane