Apple Music has launched Isgubhu, the ultimate destination for African Dance and Electronic music. Africa’s bustling and bubbling Dance & Electronic music scene has become a global player over the last few decades and Apple Music is on a mission to spotlight and elevate the work of the DJs, producers and artists in this space.
“Apple Music has been a long-term supporter of the incredible DJs, artists and producers within the Dance and Electronic music community in Africa and we’re very excited about the launch of Isgubhu. Our regional teams are true advocates for the culture and we’re committed to continuing to connect artists to a global audience,” says Stephen Campbell, Apple Music’s Global Head of Dance and Electronic music.
Isgubhu, a Zulu word meaning beat and used to refer to a banging song, pays homage to an evergreen set of genres and the African artists who have played a pivotal role in shaping the Dance and Electronic scene across the world from South African maestros like Black Coffee, Prince Kaybee, Black Motion and DJ Lag, Kenyan producers Euggy and Slikback to Uganda’s prolific group Nihiloxica.
Several sub-genres will live under the banner of Isgubhu includingGqom, Amapiano, Kwaito, Mzansi House, Deep House and Shangaan Electro, as well as a dedicated section for Essential Albums that will highlight seminal African Dance and Electronic albums for easy discovery.
Isgubhu will also house a collection of playlists including Spotlight On: – a focus on boutique African dance & electronic labels like Soul Candi, House Afrika, Stay True Sounds and Uganda’s Hakuna Kulala & Nyege Nyege Tapes), Isgubhu Voices -a focus on the best Dance and Electronic tracks that feature vocals, and an overarching genre playlist that is currently curated by Black Coffee, the first Isgubhu cover star.
“It’s a true honour to be titled as the very first Isgubhu hero artist by my friends at Apple Music. To me, home is everything… the absolute core of my being. Bringing the sounds of South Africa to the world is a life-long mission I’ll never stop chasing after.” – Black Coffee.
There will also be a spotlight on Isugbhu By… where one handpicked artist will curate their favourite African Dance and Electronic albums to feature for the month. The first artist will be DJ Lag who had this to say “These are albums that shaped me. Releases like Big Nuz’s ‘Undisputed’ made me dream big about being a producer one day, I was only 14 at the time. I love South African dance music I think we have a vibrant scene that keeps regenerating and reinventing itself every few years. Kwaito, Afro House, Gqom, Amapiano are movements here, not only music genres.”
Isgubhu will also include a selection of exclusive DJ mixes from the continent’s hottest DJs including: DJ Zinhle, Caiiro, Kabza De Small, Kyle Watson, Stiff Pap, DBN Gogo, Da Capo, Gina Jeanz, and more.
“Apple Music has always shown great interest in my labels and the independent music they showcase from incredibly talented artists around South Africa. The support received from Apple Music really goes a long way in this day and age when non-commercial music has to compete with Top 40 worldwide hits on global playlists. Thank you for always making it about the music and supporting Stay True Sounds & STY TRU BTS and their artists to release homegrown independent music to the world.” – Kid Fonque (Stay True Sounds founder)
“As an independent artist it’s so rarely possible to get your music on most playlists and in my case it was different as Apple Music showed me love and support on my album Agora which got playlisted on a couple of platforms, in addition I got a rare opportunity to do the One Mix which has been so far one of my highlights of 2020. I am so excited about the Isgubhu campaign taking my music to a global audience which will indeed expose our music in South Africa to the global market.” – Caiiro.
“For those who know me well, know that its been my vision & dream to take my music further across borders. Apple Music amplified the reach by supporting my music on editorial playlists, making sure I’m heard by the audience that relates to the picture I’m painting. The opportunity, which I don’t take for granted, to showcase what I listen to & share some of my successful releases on Apple Music’s One Mix show has definitely exposed me & my sound to the global audience. I’m very excited about the Isgubhu initiative, because it will steer my music the direction I want it to go also helping in reaching the global audience far & beyond.” – Cornelius SA
“On the 6th of September 2019 I got the news that Apple Music had crowned me their New Artist Spotlight for the month, giving me and my music a global spotlight. Through their support I’ve gained so many great opportunities, opening for Lionbabe’s Worldwide Virtual tour and landing on a stage with Tom Misch. I’m super excited about Apple Music’s new Isgubhu campaign taking African Dance and Electronic music to the next level and showing the world what we do best.” – Sio