District XIII going places

2016-04-19 10:36
FROM LEFT: Sphamandla Mbatha (Spyz), Lunga Bhengu (Snubbz) and Mbongeni Mhlongo (B-Boy), of PMB hip-hop group District XIII.

FROM LEFT: Sphamandla Mbatha (Spyz), Lunga Bhengu (Snubbz) and Mbongeni Mhlongo (B-Boy), of PMB hip-hop group District XIII. (Zooloo Ink)

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Hailing from Imbali in Pietermaritzburg, hip-hop group District XIII is making their mark on the local and international hip-hop scene with the recent online launch of their album, UnKnown Knowns, and the upcoming release of their music video on television.

Consisting of graphic designer Lunga Bhengu (aka Snubbz), sound engineer Mbongeni Mhlongo (B-Boy) and IT technician Sphamandla Mbatha (Spyz), the group rap in Zulu and English, and describe their music as a fusion of sounds that consists of hip-hop, jazz, African and Western influences.

UnKnown Knowns is available for download and streaming on online stores including iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Store, Amazon, Microsoft Store and FanDistro. Spyz said the album was also selected to feature on Tidal, the subscription-based music streaming service owned by international heavyweight rapper Jay Z.

“We were so excited when we got the e-mail confirming that our album is available on Tidal,” said Spyz, who added that they initially thought it was an April Fool’s joke when they received the notification on April 1. “A few days later when the album was on the site we realised this is not a joke.”

UnKnown Knowns was produced by TwanBeatmaker (Atlanta), DJ Robin (UK), King Dizo (PMB), JMC Beats (PMB) and Knox Brown (UK). It features artists JoeMC, The Goodoz and DeeKay.

District XIII recently shot a music video for their single, Is That Your Lady, which will be aired from next month on music channels on TV, including Trace and Channel O. The song has been played on Pulse FM (UK), Takalani FM (Mpumalanga), and Umhlobo Wenene FM and Vukani FM (both in the Eastern Cape). The video, which was shot at World’s View, Edendale and Scottsville by local production company Slowman Films, can also be watched on YouTube.

District XIII first started recording their music using a call centre microphone and Windows Sound Recorder, and have worked their way to build a fully equipped recording studio. The group also run Zooloo Ink Design — a media production house where other artists may record music.

District XIII have performed at various gigs in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, as well as at many schools last year while working on a campaign with the Road Accident Fund. They also featured on Shiz Niz, SA’s teen hip-hop television show, which airs on e-tv.

Find District XIII on Facebook or follow @DistrictDXIII on Twitter.

• arts@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  music

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