I must admit it was kind of awkward to dress up and step into a theater for a dancehall gig and not see the usual dancehall suspects. But Maximum stylez pulled it off in style. The night was on July, 05 2018 and we were ushered into the fringe theater to be part of the Live DVD recording of the launch of the album ‘High Stylez’ by Pepsin and Fruity at Joburg Theater.
The show kicked off with Mrs Montshe [wife of Maximum Styles Owner Pepsin]warm welcoming speech talking about Pepsin’s journey and how he got where he is today and his love for dancehall. She mentioned that when Pepsin arrived in Jozi, he felt that the type of dancehall he does is different and wanted to share his type of dancehall. Indeed it is.
Pepsin and Fruity then kicked off the show, dressed in tailored 3 piece suits, with the first single “My Love” from their album High Stylez. The 15 track album has only 4 tracks by Pespin and Fruity, the rest are combination tracks with featured artists, who in turn were invited to perform. First off it was Momo Dread who came on stage to give a brief history of Reggae Music in South Africa. It was at this point that we felt we were in a dancehall gig, the formality of the set up was shedding off as we shouted ‘More Fire’! ‘Irie!’ ‘Buss A Blank!’ Black Dillinger came on for the track ‘Oh Baby‘, that they recorded last year before their “Jancro mini Clash” . It was pleasant to see them on stage together. Then it was Elder Muzzla Kartel’s turn coming up for the ‘Sthandwa Sam‘. Well lets just say that the theater and stage were too small and formal for Muzzla, otherwise he would have ran up and down and everywhere, but he was just limited to ‘toyi toying’ on the stage. He is so comical, one tends to forget that he sings. Momo Dread came back for the single ‘Satisfy My Soul’ which got the ladies, some of whom are in the music video, screaming.
Botanist, who is also signed to Maximum Styles came on for the track ‘Give me some more‘. Botanist stage performances are not so exciting, he does not engage much with his audience and seem to be detached. Some artists excel in the studio I guess. Skeleton Blazer was called on for Sgubhu Samasheleni, where we were introduced to ‘Panstula Rasta’ as Fruitystar kept saying. Its a kwaito/sghubu song, with dancehall style lyrics. The show was closed with Cool & Settle and all the artists came back on stage for the finale.
The piece by piece video medley was screened. Throughout their set, Pepsin and Fruity kept on alluring to the fact that this is a representation of Mzansi Dancehall, introducing it to an audience unfamiliar to it. The whole set up was for showcasing South African dancehall to new audiences and particularly to the invited media, hence the venue and the video which has other talented artists. The MC himself was not a dancehall listener, which was a bit weird considering that capable MC’s who are versed in dancehall and its culture are many and available. I was cringing when he himself confessed to not knowing much about Reggae, and I wondered why then was he chosen to MC a dancehall Reggae gig. He was very entertaining and on point though.
Maximun Stylez band was also on point, and the back up singers were cool. The entire show was nice. Maximun Stylez Records put on a stylish show, doing their part in elevating dancehall and pushing for mainstream pop culture entry.
The DVD is set to come out later in the year and the album ‘High Stylez’ will shortly be available for streaming on all digital platforms. Follow them on their page Maximum Stylez Records to stay informed when the DVD comes out.
Photo and Video Credit: FB