Catch hip-hop’s District XIII on television

2015-11-03 10:13
From left: Mbongeni Mhlongo (B-Boy), Lunga Bhengu (Snubbz) and Sphamandla Mbatha (Spyz), of local hip-hop group District XIII, all live in Imbali Unit 13. PHOTO: supplied

From left: Mbongeni Mhlongo (B-Boy), Lunga Bhengu (Snubbz) and Sphamandla Mbatha (Spyz), of local hip-hop group District XIII, all live in Imbali Unit 13. PHOTO: supplied

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Pietermaritzburg - Local hip-hop group District XIII will make an appearance on national television on Tuesday.

Consisting of Lunga Bhengu (aka Snubbz), Mbongeni Mhlongo (B-Boy) and Sphamandla Mbatha (Spyz), the group hail from Imbali in Pietermaritzburg.

They were in Johannesburg last week to film a performance that will air on Shiz Niz, SA’s first teen hip-hop television show, on e-tv today at 4 pm, with a repeat show on Sunday at 9.30 am.

Rapping in Zulu and English, they describe their music as a fusion of sounds that consists of hip-hop, jazz, African and Western influences, and said they “don’t stick to one specific sound”.

The inspiration for the group’s name comes from a French movie that they enjoy and the fact that all three members live in Imbali Unit 13.

Cousins Bhengu and Mhlongo started the group while in high school and Mbatha joined them later. “The Eminem movie 8 Mile got us thinking that we could do this and our love for music grew as time went on,” said Mhlongo on what inspired the formation of the group.

They released their first album in 2009. “It was more politically directed and thought-provoking, but from there we have broadened our horizons,” said Mbatha.

They described their second album, which was released in 2011, as “more jazzy, instrumental and chilled”.

Last month, they released a new album titled Unknown Knowns, which is available online through a music downloading site called Fan Distro.

The group first started recording their music using a call centre microphone and Windows Sound Recorder but they now have a fully-equipped recording studio.

Apart from recording their own music, the group also run Zooloo Ink Design — a media production house where other artists may record music. “We have also worked with a few international producers and had our music play listed on UK stations,” said Bhengu.

District XIII have performed at various gigs in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, as well as at many schools earlier this year while working on a campaign with the Road Accident Fund.

Catch them this weekend at Made ­Social at Broadway Lifestyle (Saturday at 8 pm) and at ReViVal’s second ­birthday celebration on November 28 at the Oval cycling field (Alexandra Park). Other performances on the day will include King Dizzo, Aewon Wolf and more. Tickets are at Computicket for R100 (general) and R250 for VIP. Find District XIII on Facebook, follow @DistrictDXIII on Twitter or e-mail district­

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hip-hop  |  music

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