DJ Maphorisa. Picture: Supplied
Just as I thought it, DJ Tira gave voice to my random thoughts. Why are there so many “boyz” in gqom music? There are the Distruction Boyz (sic) and then there are the Rude Boyz. 

Sure, DJ Maphorisa is not, at first glance, the posterboy - see what I did there - for gqom, but he has made inroads in the dance music subgenre. Lord Phor’s production company is called BlaqBoy Music.

As part of the joint venture between BlaqBoy Music and Sony Music, Maphorisa treated members of the media to a preview of his new short film, Gqom Wave. The film will be aired for the public on Trace on Friday. It is in this film that Tira points out the obvious: that there are many boyz in the mix.

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That aside, one thing is for sure: gqom is not going anywhere anytime soon. Gqom Wave aims to cast a light on what was once a burgeoning scene that has taken over the South African dance scene. 

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The documentary doesn’t paint Maphorisa as the pioneer of gqom. Instead, it delves into the roots and the future of the subgenre from various angles.

As mentioned, Tira appears frequently. The Distruction Boyz also speak at length. As does, among a few others, Refiloe Ramogase, who is the general manager of Sound African (a division of Sony Music), and Gagasi FM’s DJ Vumar. The latter has a lot of insight into the scene that began in Kwa-Zulu Natal as an offshoot of Durban Kwaito.

“Gqom, for me, is the darker side of Durban,” says Da Fresh, a producer. This seems to be a word that comes up a lot when dissecting gqom: dark. But ironically, it has become a beacon of light for many of today’s stars. Babes Wodumo is the gqom queen. DJ Cndo’s Yamnandi Into signalled an entrance of gqom into the mainstream.

Welile Gumede, a dancer from 031 Movement, seems to have a new lease on life because of it. And of course, DJ Maphorisa is also taking the world by storm with his take on it. 

He has just released Gqom Wave, a compilation that features the likes of Kwesta, Oskido, Sjava, Bucie and Sho Madjozi on original tracks. The album also includes Maphorisa remixes of very popular gqom tracks.

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The film is a well-thought-out accompaniment of this album. But for those who may never get to see it, there’s no doubt that the music does enough talking on its own. Some people are still adamant that gqom needs to have international acclaim but DJ Vumar has a different perspective. In Gqom Wave, he says the underground is still the best and goes as far as to say: “The best-sounding gqom is the gqom that you don’t hear on the radio.”

DJ Maphorisa’s Gqom Wave short film will be screened on Trace (DStv Channel 325) on November 24