Lists, Reviews, The Booth

The Booth: Mashayabhuqe KaMamba Shares His Influences and Inspirations

Mashayabhuqe KaMamba Platform The Booth Paul Ward Mashayabhuqe KaMamba / Original photo by Paul Ward (courtesy of the artist)

Mashayabhuqe KaMamba has, for some time now, been a burning force amongst the increasingly dominant hip hop space in SA’s music landscape. Despite being a component of this greater scene, he stands out and breaks through the easily digestible rap medium which dominates – and which many performers have fallen back on – with his unique style of ‘Digital Maskandi’. In a similar vein to Petite Noir’s ‘Noirwave’, Mashayabhuqe KaMamba’s invention represents more than just a genre, but a movement – a calling. This can be somewhat summarised as a resistance to the current and careless erosion of Zulu culture by modernised ways of life; but for a more thorough and poetic description, his Facebook page’s ‘About’ section is a great place to start.

He released his debut EP, The Black Excellence Show, just over a year ago, which featured 7 tracks including the intoxicating hit ‘Shandarabaa Ekhelemendeh’. He has also featured on a number of tracks – most notably with Aewon Wolf on ‘Sukumani’ and another highlight would have to be his collaboration with legendary Thandisa Mazwai, ‘Izayoni Tribute to Makhuzwayo’.

He performed yesterday at the Back To The City Hip Hop Festival in Newtown and, in a massive vindication of his cultural invention and global relevance as an artist, has been selected to perform as part of a line-up including Petite Noir, Morcheeba, Michael Kiwanuka, Saul Williams and Angel Haze at AFROPUNK Paris in June. We’re thrilled for him and cannot wait to see the doors it opens for Mahsayabhuqe KaMamba and the greater movement of Digital Maskandi.


We all want to know exactly what our favourite musicians are bumping, to get a sense of where the magic (partly) comes from. The Booth is a taste of all that. Mashayabhuqe KaMamba has shared with us 5 tracks that he’s into, in no particular order:

GAYNGS – ‘The Gaudy Side of Town’ (live from First Avenue)

“This is the song that reminds me I’m not crazy, I’m not really mad… I’m just in touch with my inner HULK…. We all got that green man in us, everyone has it. You just have to dig deeper and discover this. It’s a beautiful song that will always put me into a great, EPIC mood and they use that autotune. I really think Justin Vernon is my big brother.”


Kanye West – ‘Say You Will (Ft. Caroline Shaw)’

Listen here

“I like this rendition more compared to the original song. This album changed my life. I even went to watch ‘Ye at The Dome with my best friend Legend and we were losing our minds when he was performing this song. It is so close to my heart, S/O to him for re-doing this and putting on Caroline.”


SCH – ‘Gomorra’

“I have no idea what my man’s saying but I LOVE it and I tried to DM him about my show in Paris for #Afropunk (June). I want to meet this dude man, he’s so unique.”


Jhené Aiko – ‘Bill Withers Medley’

“She picked songs that I really would love to do covers for one day.”


BCUC – ‘Mr Van der Merwe’

“There’s something about this content. I can’t help but think when I listen to this song.”

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