I believe in Kabza De Small supremacy. And I’ll tell you why. Or at least try to.
My first, proper introduction to Kabza De Small was during the lockdown in 2020. Like every other music lover, I had just absorbed the wonders of this newly found love for Amapiano and I got stuck on Sponono, the hit single off his widely acclaimed sophomore solo project ‘I Am The King Of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust’.
Our part of the world was easing into being back outside, and we just wanted to groove. Boom! This South African producer and DJ releases a project to lay claim to the Kingship title. The project would then become the most popular South African project on Apple Music to-date. He has since come a long way from that feat, championing the Amapiano scene and serving us hit collabs like the club banger ‘Woza’ with Mr JazziQ, Young Stunna’s chart-topping ‘Adiwele’, and more fire singles with DJ Maphorisa, his other half of the dynamic duo Scorpion Kings.
In June 2022, Kabza released ‘KOA II Part 1’ shortly after the 4-track ‘Ziwangale EP’ and I have only just taken it all in (yes, call me a latecomer). However, in one listen, you can tell that Kabza is driven by a besetting need to attain god-level status. A producer extraordinaire and skillful DJ in his prime, Kabza puts his ingenuities to maximum use on this album, piecing together an immaculate music progression. Collaborating with vocalists like Msaki, Ami Faku, Young Stunna, Daliwonga, Nkosazana Daughter and 23 other amazing artists, the selection of fitting bedfellows on each song speaks volumes to the overall theme of the project. Each vocalist’s prowess is concordant with the heavily present gritty percussion patterns on the 2-hour body of work. A rare find in this age of non-cohesive projects.
From the melodic chants on ‘Inagbe’ to that breathtaking beat drop on ‘Khusela’, Kabza kicks off with a mellifluent feel, building up the energy as you dive deeper into the album, and introducing experimental sounds towards the end of the project on songs like ‘Bawo’ and ‘Rekere 2’. A genius move, if you ask me.
The quality of music on ‘KOA II Part 1’ is in the moment, yet bound to become timeless. The sound is less commercialized and more in tune with the spirituality of piano music, boasting strong singles that would remain long after the buzz around this album dies down.
Kabza De Small is taking charge of this up-rise and setting the tone as the forerunner that he is. Fusing classical music, deep house, and dance elements on this project, he returns to his roots—the soulful roots of South African music, unlocking an advanced level of the Amapiano soundscape. A true manifestation of his internal development journey and an expression of his emotions and spiritual beliefs. With this project, Kabza cements his status as an Amapiano maestro and I 100% agree.