South African record producer, De Mthuda is out with a new project dubbed “The Landlord” album featuring Focalistic, Njelic and others.
Producing amapiano since the mid-2010s, De Mthuda scored his breakout hit with 2019’s “Shesha,” a collaboration with Njelic, whose vocals have gone on to shape several of De Mthuda’s many hits. Tracks such as “John Wick,” “Wamuhle,” “uMsholozi,” and “LiYoshona” came at a fast pace, catapulting Mthuda to national stardom.
On The Landlord, the producer from Vosloorus reached into his arsenal of influences to craft a dynamic amapiano full-length. Featuring Focalistic and Njelic, “Jaiva” recalls kwaito with sprinkles of bubblegum; “Inkomo Zam,” featuring Nomfundo Moh and Sipho Magudulela, is a contemporary take on Sophiatown-era jazz, while on “Emlanjeni,” singer Sir Trill longs for an overdue meet-up with his lover over shimmering Rhodes keys and the genre’s characteristic lush pads.
To create his sonic universe, De Mthuda teamed up with producer Da Muziqal Chef. “His role was to make the album more musical,”. Sometimes I have ideas that I cannot execute well, so he’s always there to assist.” Guitarist Sipho Magudulela also makes frequent appearances here (“Inkomo Zam,” “Roots,” “Mhlaba Wonke,” “Phithizela”)—“just to mix amapiano with other sounds we don’t normally use,” Mthuda explains.
The Landlord features many more vocalists, such as Just Bheki, Sino Msolo, and Murumba Pitch. The lone exception is “Roots,” an instrumental team-up between Magudulela and producer Sam Deep. “Piano was initially instrumental,”. “Vocals are a new thing, so we are preserving the culture by including an instrumental song in the album.”
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