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“Bougie Pantsula”: An Ode To The Millennial Pantsula

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Remember the time Beyonce flew in dancers to teach her how to dance ‘pantsula’? In South Africa, Jabba and Matt Ryan, the duo that comprises Bougie Pantsula, are producing their debut album as an ode to South African pantsula culture. The Gauteng natives met at the University of Cape Town in 2015, and today share a friendship and musical bond that has made them as thick as thieves.

Getting any artist to confirm the genre of their style is an outdated form of getting to know them. However, the duo notes that they are influenced by kwaito, hip-hop, and house music. To put it simply, they see themselves best reflected in Afro Hip-Hop.

Becoming “Bougie Pantsula

“I don’t think we really decided [to make music],” Jabba explained laughingly. Jabba is more accustomed to harder rap styles, whereas Matt Ryan identifies more with hip-hop beat production. At the same time, every artist seeks to push their limits. The same can be said for the members of Bougie Pantsula.

Choosing to work together, in first place, was more about pushing the envelope of what they could do as individuals. Cape Town has a way of opening a person’s eyes to themselves; at least, this was the case for Jabba. The young rapper had to break out of his shell where he once maintained ignorance towards his love for making music. “I’ve come to realize that [music] is what I want to be doing with my life,” he says with a definitive tone.

Khanyi Mbau comically taught South Africans that recognition by something you need and love is important on Real Talk With Anele. For Matt Ryan, music has been just as much a love as it has been a need. He was always around music by way of his family playing in bands, having extensive music collections, and exposing him to different genres. However, it was only when he downloaded a music mixing software, in his first year at UCT, and started playing with it that he truly acknowledged his passion for music.

Connecting kwaito to the youth of today

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Jabba (left) & Matt Ryan (right) All images by Lefa Maphalane (@xlefa)

“It’s sad to see such an innovative, ground breaking, genre of music fall to the side in favor of American trap, for example,” Matt Ryan believes. Finding a way to have an international appeal, while maintaining the authenticity of their home is important to the members of Bougie Pantsula. For this reason, finding a way to marry kwaito to today’s social scene and aesthetic.

Making music is equally about collaboration as it is about paying homage. In the music industry, “going to the studio” has often been an excuse to hangout with friends. For this musical duo, it is important to focus when people are co-creating. A person must earn the right to be in the studio; and even though collaborations are about a team effort, one must still earn their place in the room.

What to expect

When asked “What about Bougie Pantsula excited you,” both artists sang each other’s praises. Jabba hyped Matt’s beat, and Matt fawned over Jabba’s lyricism. The quality of their work, however, comes at no surprise. Their singles, “Bhenga” and “Ungajumpisi”, already have over 6,000 plays combined on SoundCloud in just four months.

The self titled tape drops on April 22, 2018. Bougie Pantsula’s debut project also includes guest verses from, Cape Town sensation, Stiff Pap and, Durban native, 6hebhe (pronounced beh-beh). If the singles are anything to go off, “Bougie Pantsula” is not a project to miss!

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