Gqom has captured South Africa, only to go on to grip the world. We have DJ Maphorisa to thank for most of that
This article originally appeared on MTV Base
DJ Maphorisa’s presence is known and felt across the music industry, whether you realise dude is there or not. Some of the more high-flying accolades to his name include international collaborations with artists including Drake, Wizkid, and Major Lazer, among others. But if for nothing else, Lawd Porry is the name we will remember for his efforts in pushing the gqom wave.
In interview with Genius, Maphorisa spoke on his work with Drake – via Wizkid – on “One Dance.” “He’s making other artists be aware of other sounds, to be out of the box, not to do the same thing all the way. Also for him, he’s challenged ’cause now he’s not in a comfortable space that he can just do what he’s supposed to do. Be different and come up with new things.”
He may as well have been talking about himself there. Maphorisa’s versatility is unrivaled, from the work he’s done internationally, as well as work with artists from home, including Black Coffee, Mafikizolo, Professor, and Kwesta. His split from Kalawa Jazmee was probably his biggest declaration for doing what he wants. And it worked.
Branching out on his own has led to hits like Ngempela featuring Howard, Makhe with Moonchild Sanelly and the indomitable, Midnight Starring with DJ Tira, Moonchild Sanelly and Busiswa.
In the last two to three years, the rise of gqom DJs and artists has been one that simply can’t be ignored. Distruction Boyz, DJ Lag, Bhizer, Sho Madjozi, FAKA, Heavy-K and even DJ Cleo have all been responsible for making gqom mainstream. But none have done more work for the Durban-borne genre than DJ Maphorisa.
You could punch in “DJ Maphorisa” on Google to see a lot of the work but his compilation album, Gqom Wave tells the whole story. Porry is the kind of DJ to move and work pretty much under the radar so Gqom Wave does a great job of piecing together the hits you already knew and introducing you to a pure gqom sound.
It’s almost like he feels the need to archive this work properly because he knows future generations will look back on it and study it. That’s a lot of what the Gqom Wave documentary is about. It’s a visual introduction into the world and the people who make this genre as beautiful as it is.
“I am thrilled to be at the forefront of a movement that will see gqom become a global phenomenon,” he told IDM. “The documentary is intended to speak to a worldwide audience that is hungry for an authentic sound from the continent. On Gqom Wave I have tried to capture the hottest tracks in the scene right now with some up and coming producers that I believe will go far.”
His inroads into the international music scene has meant that he’s even been able to introduce gqom to the world. In late December 2017, Lawd Porry shared a clip from an NBA game where cheerleaders performed a full routine to “Midnight Starring.”
“So @poiZonivytheDJ decided to play Midnight Starring at da NBA Dallas vs Phoenix match! ?????? At 1st i thought it was edit i can’t believe it! THANK YOU THANK YOU,” he wrote.
Gqom Wave will be remembered as the album that introduced gqom to the world. And the world loved it. The album debuted on US iTunes and Apple Music charts and with “Midnight Starring” also getting distribution in Canada.
“I am really excited about the release of “Midnight Starring” in the US today. For me this signifies how SA is one step closer to taking gqom to the rest of the world,” he told IDM. “Our music is authentic and people gravitate towards it because of the way it makes them feel. I am grateful that I am supported by many in the movement that will see gqom become a global phenomenon”.
With his Blaqboy Music JV stable, he’s going to continue his mission to take Durban to the world with his gqom wave. And if for nothing else, DJ Maphorisa is the lord of gqom.