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T is for Tokollo; K is for Kabelo; Zee is for Zwai. Put them together and what have you got? TKZee: the band that has rewritten the South African musical history books by becoming the biggest selling Kwaito music group ever.
Of course Tokollo, Zwai and Kabelo weren't always TKZee. Back in 1996 they were just a couple of high school friends that shared a passion for music and a desire to go massive. Tokollo Tshabalala's lyrical skillz earned him relative success with Mashamplani under the tutelage of kwaito heavyweight M'Du Masilela. Streetwise, ghetto groover Kabelo Mabalane got his first taste of the international scene from a music education exchange programme in the United States. Zwai Bala spent a year studying music at the Royal Academy in Scotland. His venture was the result of a scholarship he had obtained after a stint with the Drankensberg Boys' Choir as their first black lead singer and a major contributor in altering their repertoire to include African traditional music.
Then they hooked up, combining their eclectic musical talents to create the TKZee sound: An intoxicating blend of hip-hop, classical, dance beats, gospel, sassy funk and even soul. Add large doses of trademark thudding basslines, catchy street-inspired "isicamto" vocals and hip-hop styled lyric and you've got the pumping soundtrack of urban post-Apartheid South Africa.
"What we do is not exactly kwaito," says Zwai, "OK, it is township pop, but... It's music that most of the young people in this country dance to. It's a bit like rap, I suppose, but it is South African; a kind of South African hip hop." They call it 'Guz music', disliking the label of kwaito.
In 1996, the group issued their first release, Take It Eezy, an album that, with its classical samples, hip-hop styling, R&B gloss and kwaito styled lyrics, heralded the beginning of the TKZee sound. The album flopped. In retrospect, considering the group's future, maybe the failure was only because TKZee, as always, was ahead of its time.
In December 1997 the boys released "Phalafala", with an intelligent sample of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi". The EP generated enough momentum to take them through to Easter 1998. The fans wanted more and Tokollo, Kabelo and Zwai delivered big with their next release. Hooking up with Bafana Bafana and Ajax Amsterdam superstriker Benni McCarthy prior to the 1998 Soccer World Cup in France, TKZee & Benni released the sensational "Shibobo" single in June 1998.
The "Shibobo" single also metured smoking hot new TKZee tracks "Guz" (named after TKZee's hybrid sound) and "Serenade" (which introduced guest rapper Gwyza), and sales topped the 100 000 mark in just over a month. All this makes "Shibobo" the fastest and biggest selling CD single by a South African recording artist in history! It kept their names on people's lips from midyear to early spring, and thus Halloween was anticipated with palpable eagerness.
They did not disappoint. Halloween swept the country's townships and urban enclaves, going Platinum and earning the group four FNB SAMA's - Best Kwaito Album, Best Duo/Group, Best Single and Best Kwaito Single. As Billboard magazine noted: "TKZee is confidently showing the way of the future for Kwaito, the enormously popular township pop that dominates the black youth market. An unusual mix of sow house grooves, solid classical backbones and intrinsically Jo'burg raps moves this group away from the plethora of other Kwaito bands on the market."
Next up, amid all the pre-millennium tension of Christmas '99, came Guz 2001 - a compilation by TKZee Family: TKZee members Tokollo, Kabelo and Zwai alongside the names on their record label, TKZ Wrekords. Gwyza, Loyiso, 2 shot and Dr. Mageu share the musical stage with jazz genius Molelekwa and Kutlwano Masote a young cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra. Not exactly who you'd expect to find on a kwaito album? Precisely.
For TKZee, Guz 2001 was about pushing the genre and reinventing its boundaries. " I like the way they rap, the melodies they use, the way they incorporate different styles like classical, dance, hip-hop and whatever. It' s a nice melting pot of sound which is for everyone, which is what I'm trying to accomplish as well." Said Moses Molelekwa.
Trombones, saxophones and trumpets squeal along side a cover Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall", while hardcore kwaito tracks like "Delela" and "Izinjazam", rub up against Latino meets Guz thing going on in their massive hit "Fiasco". Fiasco? "You know how you say 'The Boy is Baaadd' but actually mean it's cool - it's that type of thing." Zwai explained in an interview with Black Rage, "It's like in those movies like Independence Day when New York blows up, we're causing a commotion, making people dance when they don't want to or didn't mean to. People are on this vibe that the world is ending and all of that, and we're saying despite the fiasco TKZee will still have a hit."
And despite numerous fiascos that have included massive media attention around Tokollo's alleged assault of a young woman at the SAMA awards, numerous allegations of club brawls and a series of rumours that the group were splitting up, TKZee continue to pump out the hits. As Kabelo puts it, "F*** the politics, is Tokollo jealous? Is TKZee breaking up? And all that shit - f*** the politics, the question is, is the music good? Do you wanna buy it? Just listen to the music."
Listening to TKZee's 2001 release Trinity is like tuning into both the history and the future of South African pop music. The album slice and dices urban hip-hop grooves with jazz structure and classical melodies. Melting African traditional rhythms, drum & bass explosions and a soul sensibility with typically catchy TKZee lyrics and an infectious pop groove. Trinity covers diverse new musical territory while still retaining the trio's trademark musical magic.
In 1998 journalist Reshma Laka pointed out in 1998: "TKZee fever is controversial, exciting and spreading across South Africa. Enter a nightclub catering for the 20 something crowd, and TKZee is the music playing and the music they want to hear." It's now more than three years later and TKZee are still the biggest kwaito act in the country. When the history books on kwaito get written, TKZee will meture in the second chapter simply titled: "Kwaito - the evolution of the sound."
Game On CDS .................................. 2010 J RECORDS/SONY
1. Game On (The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Mascot Song) - Pitbull, TKZee & Dario G
2. Game On (The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Mascot Song) [Extended Version] - Pitbull, TKZee & Dario G
Coming Home ........ CDHOLA2018 2009 TKZEE WREKORDS
3. Viva La Pantsula! met Gwyza, S'Bu, Loyiso
6. Show Off
7. Bumpa Nathi
8. Let's Go
10. Thata Eezy
11. Coming Home met Joyous Celebration, Ntokozo Mbambo
12. Children Hold on
Guz Hits DVD . DVHOLA2004 2004 TKZEE WREKORDS
3. Dlala Mapantsula (2004 "Song Of The Decade" Nominasie)
4. We Love This Place
5. Izinja Jam
7. Ibola Lethu
8. Gcwal' Iganga
10. Photo Gallery
Guz Hits ....................... CDHOLA2004 2004 TKZEE WREKORDS
1. Come Outro
3. Palafala met S'Bu
4. Shibobo met Benni McCarthy
6. Dlala Mapantsula
7. We Love This Place met Gwyza
8. Mambotjie met S'Bu
9. Izinya Zam met TKZee Family
10. Masimbela met S'Bu
11. Fella Kae met Geuzin
12. Fiasco met TKZee Family
13. Ibola Lethu
14. Moses (Somewhere Up There)
15. Gcwal Iganga
16. Ndinxaniwe (Afrikan Desperados)
Trinity ............................... CDHOLA 8 2002 TKZEE WREKORDS
1. Intro Umdlalo Wethu
2. Ibola Lethu (Our Game)
3. What We Do
4. Hey DJ!
5. The World Is Mine
6. Moses (Somewhere Up There)
7. My Boyz
8. Let's Talk
9. I Got You
10. Ndinxaniwe (Afrikan Desperados)
11. Brotherly Sisterly Love met Angel
12. Ghetto Children
Ibola lethu CDS ................................. 2002
Family - Guz 2001 ......... CDHOLA 7 2000 TKZEE WREKORDS
6. It's My Party
7. Girl Without A Name
8. Mr. & Mrs. Fake
10. It's My Party
Hola 7! They're back ... and it's going to be the summer of Guz! Exactly a year after the release of their sensational debut full-length album, Halloween, Guz superstars TKZee have delivered big time, taking South African music where it's never gone, and this time around, they've had a little help from friends and family. meturing Tokollo, Kabelo and Zwai alongside their Family crew, 2Shot, Geuzin, Gwyza and Loyiso, the Guz 2001 album is another treat for fans, jam-packed with fresh hit songs.
Released on their own TKZee Rekordz label, the album showcases the awesome talents of TKZee, who pop up on every track to highlight the versatile skills of the whole Family crew.
Fiasco CDS ..................................... 2000
Izinja Zam CDS . CDHOLA AS (WS) 708 2000 TKZEE WREKORDS
1. Underdog (Radio Edit)
2. Underdog (Remix)
3. Top Dog
4. Top Dog (The Remix)
5. Izinja Zam (Ina de Jungle)
Halloween ............. CDHOLA3000 1999 TKZEE WREKORDS
1. Come Intro
3. Dlala Mapantsula
4. Sikelela (Sanford & Son Theme)
5. Bona Senzani
6. Mambotjie met 2Shot
7. Palafala met S'Bu (Midnight Lover Mix)
8. We Love This Place met Gwyza
9. Come Outro
Be afraid ... be very afraid, because Halloween has arrived, and the irresistible Guz fever is catching on again. Halloween is TKZee's first full album, and after a string of hit singles, they are again taking Kwaito to another level, further expanding the borders of South Africa's best music. With each track a potential hit single, Halloween has something for everyone, and is set to keep the hordes of TKZee fans slamming on the dance floor, jiving in their cars and taxis, bopping on the beaches and at the bashes ... it is destined to be the album that establishes TKZee firmly at the forefront of South Africa's music industry.
Mambotjie / We Love This Place CDS . 1999
Dlala Mapansula CDS ..................... 1999
TKZee & Benni
Shibobo CDS ............ CDBENNI17 1998
1. Shibobo met Benni McCarthy
3. Serenade met Gwyza
4. Guz Luv
Palafala CDS ............ CDBMGS713 1997 SONY/BMG
1. Palafala met S'Bu
2. Masimbela met S'Bu
3. Happy Summer Song
4. Palafala met S'Bu (Dub Mix)
5. Palafala met S'Bu (G-Spot Mix)
6. Masimbela met S'Bu (Instrumenteel)
Take It Eezy EP .................................. 1996
2. Take It Eezy
skakels : music.org.za...
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