South Africa has long been a pioneering force in house music. A wide breadth of subgenres have risen out of the ashes of Kwaito, South Africa's specific brand of house that incorporates traditional drum patterns, paced down for singing and rapping over. In the grand scheme of subgenres, Bacardi House isn't just one of the most exciting, it also has one of the best names. Its godfather, and one of South Africa's most forward-thinking producers, Marvin Ramalepe AKA. DJ Spoko will release his debut album War God tomorrow, September 23 via Lit City Trax. Today we premiere its latest single, "Trigga Happy."
Spoko started producing music at the ripe age of 12, still known then as Ghost. He earned the name when he lived in Ghost Town, the neighborhood that houses the cemetery in the black township Atteridgeville, just outside the mostly-white city of Pretoria. In the early aughts he started traveling more than 40 miles each day to study music under Nojinza. That relationship led him to develop his own take on Kwaito, eventually producing DJ Mujava's "Township Funk" and "Mugwanti," arguably two of the most well-known Bacardi House songs in existence today. Having pushed the genre's boundaries and excavated new spaces for the frenetic, but dance-focused sound for the last decade, Spoko's War God truly crowns him King of Bacardi House.
"Trigga Happy" is a particularly joyous and uplifting single, highlighting the celebratory tones that offset other tense, challenging moments on the album. In full, War God listens like a battle's winding narrative. Moments of restrained, anticipatory energy give way to frantic, explosive drums, only then to dissipate into deeper, more anxiety ridden tension.
"I can't cause the war alone," says Spoko of the album’s title. "Now, I have the right generals by my side. Each and every song is a soldier. They have come together to move the music of the township to another level." Listen to "Trigga Happy" below and cop War God September 23, via Lit City Trax.
And if you missed it, check out "After Party," released late last week below.