Durban’s DJ Lag goes into the second half of 2019 with a pivotal double release and international tour this Friday.
Beyoncé revealed the track list for her new Lion King-inspired album, The Lion King: The Gift, out on 19 July. Durban-born DJ Lag produced the aptly titled “My Power” which features Queen Bey herself, Nigerian songstress Yemi Alade, fellow South African gqom royalty Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly as well as Philly-born rapper Tierra Whack.
After a rousing speech at Coachella where Beyonce insisted on bringing authentic African music to a world stage for the project, The Gift is an array of sounds made by a long list of talented African musicians dominating their respective scenes at the moment. Along with a string of brand, new solo Beyoncé tracks, the album features contributions from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Mr Eazi, Yemi Alade, Jay-Z, Tekno, Childish Gambino, Burna Boy and our own DJ Lag. “This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa, and I wanted to make sure that we found the best talent from Africa… It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me,” says Beyonce.
The gqom king DJ Lag was placed firmly in her crosshairs after his song “Trip to New York” set the backdrop within an interlude during her performance with Jay-Z at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in South Africa in late 2018. Since then, DJ Lag has been gearing up for his next international tour which started in Barcelona at Sonar on 18 July, and his new EP with Okzharp on the Hyperdub label, “Steam Rooms”, out on 19 July.
Having initially linked up online back in 2012, DJ Lag and Okzharp connected in different places while touring, putting the wheels in motion for the “Steam Rooms” collaboration EP.
The first track so see daylight, “Sambe”, premiered on Toddla T’s BBC Radio 1 Soundsystem on 28 June. The EP’s title originates from the Durban nickname for local clubs. “They used to refer to clubs as steam rooms; a lot of the early gqom-style music was played in these places,” explains DJ Lag. “There were quite a few tracks named after them. The name for the EP is a tribute to that.” The EP features four club heavy tracks made in London in 2018 when DJ Lag was passing through on European tours.