Arthur Mafokate.
Arthur Mafokate.

Kwaito star Arthur Mafokate's 999 Music catalogue goes digital

By Staff Reporter Time of article published May 14, 2020

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Kwaito heads can expect a glorious ride down memory lane as the music of one of the pioneering stables goes digital.

Arthur Mafokate’s 999 Music catalogue is to be released by Certified Africa division for the celebration of Sony Music’s hip hop, kwaito, R&B and Afrobeat catalogue across all download and streaming platforms over the next eight months.

“I have long dreamed of being able to make the 999 Music catalogue available as comprehensively as possible,” said Mafokate, adding that there’s hardly a day that goes by without someone asking for a certain song or album.

“But sometimes these things are created by God, and so when someone who helped kick-start your career asks you to partner with them, reminds you about who you are - because sometimes you forget over the years - and requests that you make history with them again, you know the time is right.”

Mafokate’s solo catalogue will be the first to be released, starting on May 29 with 10 albums - available to pre-order from tomorrow. The catalogue includes Windy Windy, Kaffir, Die Poppe Sal Dans, Umpostoli, Haai Bo, Clap Your Hands (EP), Oyi Oyi, Chomi, Dankie and The Best of Arthur.

The second part of Mafokate’s seminal repertoire - among them Vanilla and Chocolate, Skulvyt, Hlokoloza, Inja, Yiyo, Mnike, Kwaito Meets House and Seven Phezulu - will be available to pre-order from next Friday and will release on June 5.

“I grew up in a poor family and had spent my formative years in the violent end-days of apartheid, dodging rubber bullets and finding my way out of large groups of policemen. When you’ve fought for freedom and then freedom comes, you realise that you have nothing to fear.

"So I took my belief in my talent and knocked on every door I could until I eventually got a deal,” said the 57-year-old who took hustle to a new level after founding his music stable in 1994.

Sean Watson, chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment Africa, said: “Working towards this moment has also allowed me to reflect on the sheer force of Arthur’s role in the making of kwaito - at a time when no such genre existed.

"Everything that has followed since then, including current genres like amapiano, are a testament to the influence that he and a handful of his peers have had on where we are today.”

Watson added that artists could benefit from going digital, especially now in the time of Coronavirus. “With physical retail stores closed, the only legitimate ‘sales’ outlets for local repertoire are the digital service providers.

"Music is being used and consumed daily during lockdown, so to not have your music present means that effectively you are missing out.

“Many of the digital service providers have excellent ‘discovery’ and ‘search’ tools, meaning that users can look for great music from any era at any time they choose.

"This is part of the fun of having over 55 million songs on a streaming platform,” said Watson.

The third phase, scheduled for release on June 26, includes: Clap Your Hands, Sika, Mamarela, Scamto, The Best of Remixes, Arthur All Stars and 2008 Club Remixes. The label’s extensive roster of recordings includes the likes of Brenda Fassie, Lira, Aba Shante, Makhendlas, Chomee, Chiskop, Ishmael, Speedy, Presss, Thiwe, Purity, Sgonondo, New School, Gazlam and Zombo.

They were among those artists who played a role in turning 999 Music into one of South Africa’s most influential independent labels, Watson said.

Measures were in place through the Recording Industry of SA to help stop piracy. “Our local industry body has a dedicated digital anti-piracy resource that works with its global parent body, the IFPI, to take down illegal music usage online all over the world.

"This remains a challenging task given the scope and scale of worldwide music theft,” Watson said.

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