An element of hip hop production that goes back as far as the growth of the genre itself, sampling is fundamental to hip hop. In April last year, AKA filmed his episode of MTV Base’s Yo! MTV Raps where he spoke the use of sampling in his catalogue. Where our most prominent memories of hip hop sampling go back to US artist’s samples of funk and soul to reimagine their soundscapes, SA hadn’t reached into the depths of our musical history on the same scale. He wanted to change this, and had already begun doing it on tracks like “Caiphus Song”, where he sampled Caiphus Semenya’s “Matswale”.
Beyond just the sampling of tracks from impactful SA artists, he also felt strongly about sampling tracks that had deeply impacted SA culture – whether those tracks were South African or not. It’s because of this that hip hop songs that have sampled some of the biggest house hits in SA have been as popular as they have. His own “Congratulate” is an example (sampling Harrison Crump’s “Ride”) and Kwesta’s “Ngud” as well, containing a sample of Antena’s “Camino del Sol (Joakim Remix)”.
Fast forward to 2020 and Kiernan Forbes’ “Energy” has sampled one of the greatest house songs of all time, Nick Holder’s “Summer Daze”. A South African classic by a Canadian producer, it’s been a staple of every DJ Fresh set since 1999 when it was released. Makwa’s signature tag follows after the opening keys, letting you know that he produced the beat, before the song goes into the thematic body of reaching the top of his artistic mountain and the headspace that comes with it.
He’s just released the “Energy” video and for it he goes into the hinterland of the Free State, shooting around the Maluti mountain range. From the opening shot showing the road to the top of the mountain, to the expansive visuals of the landscape on the road between Bethlehem and Clarens, the drone work gives a visually captivating take on the track’s thematic arch while displaying some of SA’s breathtaking countryside. Fitting, then, that he used “Summer Daze” as the interpolation vehicle to deliver the message of being at his musical peak.
Check out the video for “Energy” below.