Kwaito

kwaito

Kwaito is a music genre that emerged in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the late 1990s. It is house music combined with local African sounds. Typically at a slower tempo, Kwaito often contains catchy melodic and percussive loop samples, deep bass lines, and vocals. Although bearing similarities to hip hop music, a distinctive feature of Kwaito is the manner in which the lyrics are often shouted, ‘blabbered,’ and chanted. American music producer, Diplo described Kwaito as ‘slowed-down garage music,’ popular among the black youth of South Africa.

The word kwaito riginates from the Afrikaans word kwaai, which traditionally means strict or angry, although in its more common and contemporary use, the word is a translation of the loose English term ‘cool.’ Despite the fact that the Afrikaans language is associated with the apartheid regime and racial oppression, Afrikaans words are often drawn into the indigenous vocabulary, typically reshaped and used in a related or new context.

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