If you thought the days of Pro Kid and HHP were gone, you thought wrong. KZN’s hip hop artist Bandile Maphalala known as Dr Bone is reviving the storytelling and authenticity in hip hop. Just like our late superstars, Dr Bone shares folktales and communicates with his audience in vernac and drops relatable music.
Dr Bone started his career as a dancer with a group called AmaRiffifi and he has humbly paved his way to the hip hop gang. The rapper made his mark when he released the song Fak’umoya, which saw him receive a SATMA for the best rap song in 2014.
Dr Bone has since been releasing music after music, but then went silent on us. He came back this year with his first single titled Phusha. The Afro-Hip Hop single features artist Musiholiq. Dr Bone and Musiholiq’s collaboration is sonically cemented by the production of X-Wise.
Phusha is Dr Bone’s plea for us not to lose hope even as we face our worst days.
“The nice thing about music is that we use it as Africans to uplift each other. When we are sad, happy – we sing. We have been in lockdown for a very long time and people have lost hope in a lot of things. Especially our youth. They have degrees, no jobs and watching people lose their jobs is discouraging too.
“The idea behind the song was to tell people that it won’t stay this way, people should stay in hope because when you lose hope then you lose everything. Something’s gotta give. Things will change, even though we don’t know how long it will take.”
Phusha is one of six tracks on Dr Bone’s long-awaited EP, iGagu.
“In Zulu, igagu is a name used when someone has a gift that moves people, whether you are singing or outshining everyone at Indlamu (traditional Zulu dance) – Someone who can use their gift to warm people’s hearts so I am here to heal people’s hearts.”
The 6-track EP kicks off with poet Zinhler iNdodakazi Yolahleko and Longelo’s strong vocals. They tell us a story and remind us to be strong and firm in our journey.
There is so much love and fun in the EP. Track 3, together with Mnqobi Yazo, is a blend of Hip hop and Mbaqanga, telling the story of a man convincing a lady to be his.
I don’t know about you, but I am sold.
The rest of the features include:
- Eternal Africa
For this EP, Dr Bone has started shooting visuals. He especially wants a music video for track 3 titled Qoma Ntombi with Mnqobi Yazo.
To add to the list of his upcoming plans, Dr Bone plans to take his event Bone Experience to the Durban Playhouse. This event will be his first one-man show. Dr Bone says he will be joined by a few artists, including artists on his EP.
Since lockdown, the entertainment industry has been bleeding, however, like the rest of the world, they have had to adjust and be innovative. Although some artists are venturing into online concerts as a response to these trying times, they are still facing challenges.
“A lot of people are looking into hosting visual concerts. Artists can do that and make money, but you have the issue of data cost. A lot of people would pay to view the concerts, but they still have to struggle to pay for data to sustain them for the duration of the concert.
“Other people may experience a bad network because of where they are and that makes for a bad experience for them. In addition, as we watch the poverty rate increase, people are watching their spending.”
In his effort to help the start of rebuilding our communities as black people, Dr Bone has been working with Social Workers. He is visiting families, making sure they are taken care of. In addition to this, he is working with the principal of his former secondary school in building a library for them.
While the sad news doesn’t end, you can cheer up by streaming iGagu on all digital platforms. The EP is already trending on Twitter, under the #iGagu
Stream or download iGagu.