Inkabi Zezwe released their much-anticipated single ‘Umbayimbayi’ on Friday 24 March and as expected, the track topped streaming charts including the #1 spot on the Spotify South Africa Top 50 chart and #1 on the Apple South Africa Top Songs chart.
On Spotify, ‘Umbayimbayi’ sits at #1 on the Made in South Africa and Bhinca Nation playlists while extensively growing a monthly listenership of 39K in just three days. On Apple Music, ‘Umbayimbayi’ holds the #1 position on the Top 25 Johannesburg, Durban, and Top 100 South Africa Charts, while the track is #1 on iTunes. The track has a placement at #3 across Audiomack South African charts.
The single enters the top 20 charts just 3 days from release, charting at #18 (RAMS) with 39 plays and 5.3 million impressions across all South African Radio.
On YouTube ‘Umbayimbayi’ is currently the number 1 trending sound, amassing over 250K views, and has reached just over 218K across platforms. In a short period of time, Inkabi Zezwe’s social media audience is growing at an exponential rate; TikTok followers are 10.2K with the single boasting over 10.7K creations.
Sjava and Big Zulu’s union as Inkabi Zezwe – which at its core is a torchbearer for love, kinship, and creativity – is the musical moment that the South African entertainment industry has been waiting for. Celebrities have also been enjoying the hit as Focalistic shared an Instagram Story jamming to ‘Umbayimbayi’. Fans are equally as enchanted with one Twitter user tweeting:
‘Amadoda amabili, azinikele entweni (music) angakhathalelwe kuthenjwa azokwenza konje okusemandleni ukufeza iphupho labo ezweni lonke’ – read more HERE.
There is plenty to look forward to as Inkabi Zezwe fans. The pair will release the album Ukhamba on 12th May, therefore, embarking on a nationwide tour performing at Sunbet Arena in Time Square on 24th June, at Grandwest Arena (Grandwest) on 29th July, the Big Top Arena (Carnival City) on 26th August and ending things off the tour in KwaZulu Natal at the Hollywoodbets Kings Park Stadium on 3rd September. Tickets to the tour are now 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 base Mpumalanga’ 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 the connection they have 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.-Zalebs