Gqom music is a classification of electronic dance music that began in Durban, South Africa, in the mid 2010s. An isiZulu word that means “hit” or “drum” inspired the name “Gqom.” The music is described by its monotonous, percussive rhythms and the utilization of pre-made sounds, frequently drawn from conventional African music. It is the result of a singular rhythm made up of beats that move quickly and are heavily syncopated. These beats are usually made with software and drum machines.
The beats are typically played at around 130 beats per minute and are frequently constructed from heavily compressed and distorted drum samples. Additionally, the music is well-known for its use of vocal samples that are frequently derived from popular culture as well as traditional African music.
ORIGIN OF GQOM MUSIC
Gqom music arose out of the municipalities encompassing Durban in the mid 2010s. The class is firmly connected with the Durban-based record name Gqom Oh!, which was established in 2014 by Italian DJ Nan Kolè. Gqom Oh!, was instrumental in carrying the sound to a more extensive listener, both in South Africa and globally.
Gqom is frequently connected with the underground party scene in Durban, where youngsters meet up in casual places to vibe to this music. Gqom music has a raw, unadorned sound with few vocals and straightforward, melodic lines. In its early years, Gqom music was primarily produced using free software like FruityLoops and distributed through sharing platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. It is frequently described as a combination of kwaito and techno, incorporating African rhythms and percussion. Producers began to release their music on more formal platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube as the genre gained popularity.
Gqom music has a raw, minimalist sound that is made by using samples, drum machines, and synthesizers in conjunction with each other.
The repetitive, percussive rhythms of Gqom are fundamental to its allure, with the music frequently working in high intensity after some time. Gqom music also places a lot of emphasis on the bass, with a lot of tracks featuring deep, rumbling bass lines.
Gqom is many times utilized as a type of expression and a social instrument to resolve issues influencing the youths. Issues like joblessness, poverty, crime, inequality and social injustice, as well as subjects of love and relationships.
INFLUENCE OF GQOM MUSIC
Gqom music has had a significant impact not only on the music scene in South Africa but also on the international music scene. In addition to the Gqom Oh!’s label success, Gqom artists have collaborated with international musicians like M.I.A. and Beyoncé in a number of high-profile projects.
A new generation of South African producers has also emerged as a result of Gqom’s popularity, many of whom have achieved international recognition for their work. Artists like DJ Lag, RudeBoyz, Distruction Boyz, and Babes Wodumo are some of the most well-known Gqom musicians. They are all credited with pushing the boundaries of the genre and making it more accessible to a wider audience. Gqom artists use the music to talk about social issues and build a sense of community and belonging among their fans.
Gqom music, on the other hand, has come under fire from some quarters for its raw and confrontational sound and the explicit nature of some of its lyrics, despite its growing popularity.
List of Gqom songs
- “Soweto Baby” by DJ Maphorisa ft Wizkid
- “Midnight Starring” by DJ Tira ft Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly
- “Sondela” by DJ Maphorisa and DJ Shimza ft Moonchild Sanelly
- “Gqom is the Future” by Distruction Boyz
- “Soweto’s Finest” by Soweto’s Finest
- “Tropical” by DJ Maphorisa and DJ Raybel ft Moonchild Sanelly and K.O
- “My Dali” by DJ Maphorisa ft Moonchild Sanelly
- “Wololo” by Babes Wodumo ft Mampintsha
- “Uzophuza Amanzi” by DJ Bongz ft Nokwazi
- “Gqom-Gqom” by DJ Maphorisa and DJ Raybel ft Distruction Boyz
Gqom music is a distinct, one-of-a-kind style that originated in the townships of Durban, South Africa, and has since developed a global following. With its use of traditional African music samples and vocal snippets; and its raw, highly energetic, danceable, percussive sound, this genre has become one of the most exciting and innovative forms of electronic dance music in recent years.
Gqom’s impact on the South African music scene and electronic music in general cannot be denied, despite some criticism of its confrontational sound and explicit lyrics. It seems likely that we will see even more exciting developments in the years to come as the genre continues to evolve and adapt.