Sho Madjozi and Sjava are two fairly new artists who have successfully carved out a bridge between local and international markets through their music. The pair have recently dropped new videos, Trickshot and Umama. Phumlani S Langa watches both.
Starring: Sho Madjozi
Director: Garth von Glehn
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The bohemian queen of gqom dropped an extended music video (or short film, as she calls it). Trickshot lauds her love for basketball and fashion. Madjozi isn’t a stranger to gracing the sidelines of the NBA Africa Game or even popping over to America to catch the All-Star weekend, as she did earlier this year.
The location was cleverly selected, as with most of Sho’s videos. She takes us to the heart of town and, if I’m not mistaken, not far from an iconic landmark to the early days of backpackers and battle raps – Gandhi Square. There is a ball court there, surrounded by street vendors, where our star and her friends are maxing out on some brick stands, watching a few brothers shoot hoops.
The story of the empress of gqom is told by a deep voice which narrates how stunning Sho is and how all the brothers in town do their best to impress her (I can’t argue with that statement). The narration is done in rhyme and the sad thing is that this guy’s stanzas are harder than actual verses I’ve heard in this life. The young gqomster flings a cassette of hers out of her bedroom window, which lands perfectly in a trendy-looking lad’s tape deck. Naturally, Huku starts playing at this point.
The story isn’t too intense but at least there is one. One of the guys on the court tries to catch stunts on Sho. Catching stunts is a practice executed expertly on the streets of Johannesburg. It is the act of trying to act cool, usually at someone else’s expense. Madjozi is not about to be stunted on in her own short film and a game of one-on-one basketball begins. It even looks like she has some handles (ball control) and the crossover looked authentic, but the jump shot could use work.
It would’ve been a nice touch to get some national ballers, who are sisters, out there dunking a few. Regardless though, this video is slick. Everyone in it is well dressed and the video is street and unique – two things that used to go hand in hand quite comfortably in the arts of the avenue. Perhaps Sho can steer us back there.
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Mr Touch-my-BET-award brings us visuals from the vaunted album, Umqhele. This solemn-sounding instrumental starts with Sjava’s autotune treated voice in the distance of the song. The man himself appears at a concert venue, taking pictures with his fans.
He walks off and looks sad, suggesting how tough it is to be away from home and his mom while adhering to the demands of the limelight. So, he walks away from the crowd, and we cut to a dirt road in the countryside – Sjava is heading home.
His mom greets him warmly when he arrives at a traditional-looking homestead. The two enter and the track is broken by his mother’s calls to the ancestors in gratitude for his safe arrival as she burns imphepho.
This is his actual mother, Thandi Nkabinde, who beams with joy for most of the video. It’s clever, as this idea will resonate with so many of us who must hustle far away from home.
The scene in the rondavel with his mother is cute, but a bit too static and visually not the best-looking shot you will encounter. The scenes on the dirt road and the shots filmed as a car rolls by the homes and sites of this village in rural KwaZulu-Natal are lovely.
The cutaways of his community gathering and dancing are also warming, but more could have been done with this footage. Something a little more strenuous is needed in this imagery, like the slaughter of an animal, or pause the track for a dusty dance routine.
The song is as undemanding as the visuals, but the recipe is one I must commend Sjava for formulating.
They will love this emakhaya.