premiere: stiff pap represent black genius in the “mkokotelo” video

November 15, 2019

Never let it be said that South Africa doesn’t have the sauce. If you need more proof that artists from S.A. are innovating in sounds and style, look no further than Stiff Pap. The duo of producer Jakinda and songwriter-vocalist AyemaProbllem bring together hip-hop, kwaito, gqom to create a synth-y danceable sound that inspires head nods and footwork. Their new video for “Mkokotelo” is the perfect representation of that sound and energy.

Featuring a 2019 South African take on b-boy culture, the duo and their dancers rock Adidas tracksuits and get loose with some acrobatic choreo and do donuts in hoopties on a race track. It might seem like a disconnect until you realize that this is a joyful, proud celebration of Black genius and our ability to take lemons and make lemonade in almost any circumstance. They make their intention clear in an artists’ statement:

“‘Mkokotelo’ is a word which basically refers to making something out of nothing. We wanted to create a visual representation of that, from the cover art right through to the music video. We take influence from our environment, and the various pieces we gain along the way are what made us. So basically it’s an ode to our journey so far and our determination to make our dreams come true despite all the adversity we have to overcome as young, Black artists. It can literally be interpreted as, ‘one person’s trash is another’s treasure.’ We use what’s accessible to us and we make art. Our sound takes inspiration from past, present, and future and we wanted that represented in the visuals as well. We wanted to incorporate symbols and objects familiar to Black South Africans with an alternative edge and above all we wanted the song to provide people with hope for the future. It’s the last song on our EP for that reason, too.”