Playlist of the Week: Toya Delazy
Playlist of the Week: Toya DelazyOctober 25, 2023
Hello, my name is Toya Delazy. I was born in South Africa to the Zulu Kingdom, and I am the originator of ‘Afrorave‘ — a genre that melds contemporary beats with my mother tongue Zulu. When I moved to the UK in 2015, I wanted to share a piece of my culture with the world using rave as a medium, and that is how the genre was born. You can expect to hear Zulu rap over drum & bass, jungle, techno, leftfield bass, and even drill. As a rave lover, I noticed that there was not much Black representation in rave music even though rave originated from Black culture. There was even less representation of indigenous languages in the scene. I chose to use my mother tongue firstly because our languages are dying out. I think language is very important, and through communication, we can connect to each other regardless of where we are from. I started off in the South African industry as a pop star and eventually created my footprint with Afrorave, so you will find that I love having big anthemic hooks. I am very eclectic and draw a lot of inspiration from my heritage. This is why I chose rave as my backdrop of expression, as it reminds me of the Zulu ‘indlamu” — the drums used during ceremonies. The speeds can go up to 175bpm, and the singing and vocals range from dark to bright, and everyone participates, clapping, chanting, or dancing. It becomes a spiritual and healing space where you can let all the pent-up energy go and be present in your essence.
As a DJ, I perform music I get from my people in Kwazulu natal townships, where genres like amapiano and gqom originated. I love bringing this experience to the dance floors as it’s an authentic reflection of what is happening in our local dance scene.
This playlist is a selection of songs I like, that I find influential to the Afrorave genre, and bops that never leave my set.
Toya Delazy, Ahadadream, TashLC – QOBA [Afrorave]
The worlds that collide in this riddim are reflective of the melting pot that South African electronic music has become, Zulu dancehall, meets reggaeton. With TashLC and Ahadadream on the beat, this link-up is my favourite of 2023 so far.
Omagoqa, ZVRI, The Ascension – The Portal (feat. Charisse C & KOEK SISTA) [Don’t Sleep Music]
I haven’t heard a blend like this in the gqom electronic space, and I love how the vocals are psychedelic, dipping and diving through the heavy kick and the synth, which has a flanger that makes you feel like you are in the meat of the rave.
Low End Activist, EMZ, Killa P, Mez – Get Get (Scratcha DVA Remix) [Sneaker Social Club]
I love how Scratcha blends UK grime and gqom, and this tune is a prime example of those worlds colliding gloriously in this remix.
Menzi, Toya Delazy – Inkingo [DRMTRK]
I’ve chosen this track because it is reflective of the electronic dance sound that is coming out of South Africa right now, melded with contemporary rave elements. The song means ‘problems,’ and looking at the climate we are living in as South Africans — having come from a country that experienced apartheid — the song is about how the system divides us all and influences people to hate on each other instead of fighting for a common cause. It reminds the listener that we used to be one before Pangea broke. We are the original givers (‘omanikana’), and I love the instruments the darkness in the bass, the chants, and the heaviness of the drums as they are reflective of the movement of Zulu hymns, especially during indlamu.
Menzi, Desong M, TEEk2 – Not For Kids [DRMTRK]
I chose this song by Menzi of his new album Ingoma because I love the way he creates his beats as a South African in the international electronic dance space – The synth aligned with the snare + kick on this beat is SO gqom with an EDM touch. I love the way it comes together, and it’s a floor thumper.
Toya Delazy, Diezmo – Pah Pah [Fokuz Recordings]
This Zulu drum & bass anthem is what Afrorave is all about. I love how the trumpet transforms the song, the flow of the rap meeting the drums and bass it really doesn’t matter that the main vocal is sung in rap it all works together.
Jay Music – Kanye West (feat. Rosey Gold) [Sky Heaven]
This tune is a crowd-pleaser. I love how this song mixes all the elements I love about amapiano and gqom skillfully. The vocal chants move the music as it would if you were chanting with your mates in the club and it gives you that unity vibe. The log drum just ties it all up. There are many ways one could use the log drum, and this is one of my favourites.
Lemon & Herb – Ankole [Mixed In Motion Recordings]
This is an oldie, but a golden one at that! Lemon & Herb always demonstrate timeless synergy in their Afrotech fusion. “Ankole” struck me because of the way the vocals carry the song while it lays on a bed of melodic minimal tech, another example that sometimes less is more if you know how to create the perfect crossover combo.
Omagoqa – 4th WAVE [The Other Side Records]
Omagoqa came through with a freshness that was crisper than a morning breeze and hit the scene hard, from performing Barcelona Sona 2023 to headlining venues across Europe with their unique blend of gqom. I like “4th Wave” because it’s a heavy and harder end of gqom music. It doesn’t get gqomier than this. The tune takes up space while the synth hypnotically steers you to do something crazy on the dance floor.
KDA, Karnage Kills – Darkskin Queen (Scratcha DVA & Toya Delazy Remix) [The 40 Records]
“Where is the money for the Darkskin Queens?” I love this song. The lyrics are current and topical, addressing equal pay in the industry. It felt good to be on a tune where I could voice how people will use your ideas and not give credit, which happens to a lot of Black women writers in the creative process, meaning they cannot earn long-term.