DJ Lag was invited to join the academy, which numbers about 14 000 members, back in June when he was in Los Angeles to produce for Beyoncé’s album The Lion King: The Gift. While there is still some mileage to cover to be selected for a nomination, being able to submit the first Gqom record to the academy is an honour in itself.
“The World Music I know doesn’t sound anything like what we are doing, so maybe it’s our job to teach people what it can be. Maybe if we think of it as music that can move the world instead, then it’s OK. Because that’s what Gqom is.”
— DJ Lag for Africa Is Now
In June this year DJ Lag bumped into Diplo when they played back to back sets in Little Ethiopia in LA and spent several hours talking about h0w Gqom came to be. Diplo was hugely taken with the sound and in no time a concept album was released on his Good Enuff label. DJ Lag has become the global poster boy of the Gqom movement… which had humble beginnings in Uhuru, a neighbourhood club in Durban’s Clermont township, where party goers would congregate to sweat out the week’s woes. At the time, no one experimenting within Uhuru’s four walls could have predicted Gqom’s dramatic global impact, and after three years of underground club touring throughout the world, today DJ Lag stands at the forefront of a culture that is slowly taking over the world… with a Grammy nomination perhaps within his reach!
Collaborators including Beyonce, art-activists Kelela and Moonchild Sanelly, FDM pioneer Epic B, and Future Jazz percussionist Moses Boyd have all seen something special in DJ Lag and his unique sound… something that deserves reward! So let’s use our collective powers – socials, networks and otherwise – as we begin a week of campaigning to reach out to the Grammy Academy voters.
Highlights over the past 3 months include a stellar performance at Sonar Barcelona, the release of the DJ Lag-produced track ‘My Power’ on Beyonce’s ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ record. Coming up are two pivotal shows at Afropunk Atlanta and London’s Jazz Cafe.
Listen to Uhuru
“Gqom’s Global Ambassador introduces a new, harder form of the South African style.”
— Resident Advisor
“The Guardian of the underground sounds keep radiating light.”
— Red Bull Music