16 MAY 2023, JOHANNESBURG: Inkabi Zezwe released their much-anticipated album Ukhamba on 12 May and in just a few days the album has dominated streaming platforms.
On Apple Music, Ukhamba has been featured as the ‘Album of the Week’. All twelve songs off the album are on the Top 100 South Africa chart with the lead single ‘Umbayimbayi’ at the #4 spot and ‘Khaya Lami’ at #18. Ukhamba is also charting on the platform’s album charts sitting at #1 in South Africa and Eswatini, #5 in Zimbabwe, and #6 in Namibia. Still on Apple Music, the album has multiple songs on the streaming platform’s city charts. On the Top 25 Johannesburg chart, ‘Umbayimbayi’ and ‘Khaya Lami’ are charting at #4 and #16 respectively while on the Top 25 Durban chart, four tracks are in the top 10 – ‘Umbayimbayi’ at #3, ‘Intro (Inkabi Zezwe)’ at #4, ‘Khaya Lami’ at #7 and ‘Siyabonga’ holding the #9 spot. Additionally, eleven of the songs from Ukhamba are charting on both South Africa’s and Eswatini’s Singles’ charts. In South Africa ‘Khaya Lami’ is sitting at #18 while Eswatini, ‘Siyabonga’ is at #10, ‘Khaya Lami’ is at #11, and ‘Omunye’ is at #17.
Spotify stats have been equally impressive for the album. Within forty-eight hours of its release, seven songs were charting on the Top 50 South Africa chart with three songs in the top twenty – ‘Umbayimbayi’ at #3, ‘Khaya Lami’ at #12 and ‘Intro (Inkabi Zezwe)’ at #16. ‘Khaya Lami’ took the top spot on several Spotify playlists including African Heat, New Music Friday SA, Hot Hits South Africa, Bhinca Nation, and Made in South Africa. Additionally, all twelve songs charted on Spotify’s Singles chart with ‘Umbayimbayi’ holding the fort at #4 and ‘Khaya Lami’ at #17.
Across streaming platforms, Ukhamba has proved to be a stellar project by Inkabi Zezwe. On Audiomack ‘Umbayimbayi’ (#5) and ‘Khaya Lami’ (#9) is featured on the Verified Afrosounds playlist; ‘Siyabonga’ (#3) and ‘Iskhwele’ (#7) are on the Afropop Hits playlist; and ‘Uthando Lunye’ (#1) as well as ‘Impumelelo’ (#10) are both on New Releases. On Deezer, the project is currently #4 on the platform’s album chart and eight tracks off the Ukhamba are charting on Deezer’s Singles chart (‘Umbayimbayi’ at #5 and ‘Khaya Lami’ at #18).
The success of this album only four days into its release is unsurprising given the positive and broad receptivity the lead single ‘Umbayimbayi’ enjoyed. The hit track is now double platinum in South Africa and the official music video, which premiered on 28th April, has surpassed two million views on YouTube. Fans can also look forward to Inkabi Zezwe’s tour which is fast approaching. Tickets and full details of the four-city tour are available on Computicket HERE.
About Inkabi Zezwe
Sjava, whose real name is Jabulani Hadebe was born in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal in 1984. He began exploring music at age 10, forming his own acapella group ‘Abafana baseMpumalanga’ but his entertainment career was set in motion when he took on acting, starring in popular television shows such as Zone 14 and uGugu no Andile. His debut album Isina Muva (2016) was his major transition into the music industry and earned him ‘Best Produced Album’ awards at both the Metro FM and South African Music (SAMA) award ceremonies in 2017. That same year, Sjava won the first DStv Mzansi Viewer’s Choice Rising Star. In 2018 Sjava was featured in the Kendrick Lamar-curated and Grammy-nominated Black Panther: The Album soundtrack. In the same year the superstar won a BET award for ‘Best International Act’ and released his sophomore album Umqhele which scored him ‘Best Afro-Pop Album’ and ‘Album of the Year wins at the 2019 SAMAs. His recent album Isibuko (2023) maintains Sjava’s dedication to highlighting the human experience with a rich, bulbous, and ethereal soundscape.
Born Siyabonga Nene in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal in 1987, Big Zulu transitioned into rap music in 2008 after a stint in the taxi industry. The rapper’s music is often filled with aspirational subject matter that his fans have long gravitated towards. He melds Maskandi and Hip-Hop with his gripping flow and cadence. Ushun Wenkabi his debut album was released in 2018 but it was Zulu’s third album Ichwane Lenyoka (2021)that helped catapult him to superstardom. The album boasted the hits ‘Mali Eningi’ featuring Ntaba Yase Dubai and Riky Rick, ‘Inhlupheko’, featuring Mduduzi Ncube and ‘Umuzi eSandton’ with Lwah Ndlunkulu. As a testament to his persistence and talent, Big Zulu has won several awards including Song of the year for ‘Mali Eningi’ and ‘Album of the Year’ at the 2021 South African Hip Hop Awards. The superstar has also won in the ‘Collaboration of the Year’ at the 27th annual SAMA awards.
As a duo, Sjava and Big Zulu make up Inkabi Zezwe, a project that celebrates their connection as Zulu brothers and musicians. This collaboration places them at the precipice of an interesting moment in music and culture. Their music as individual artists travel back and forth through traditional isiZulu musical forms and more contemporary musical expressions. Sjava is R&B and Afropop / Hip-Hop inclined whereas Big Zulu uses Hip-Hop / Rap to negotiate his musical identity. This ambivalence of genres is a prime opportunity to imagine and create music that is not only an autobiographical anecdote of their intimate worlds but as artists who are attentive to contemporary South Africa. Their new music explores everything that matters to them, love, intimacy, joy, aspiration, and people. Inkabi Zezwe is about community and the beauty of shared experiences.
UKhamba is out now: Stream Here