If you haven’t picked up our Africa issue, you should and you should then read about Soweto, South Africa-based Sweat.X, the duo of Spoek Mathambo and Markus Wormstrom, who’ve been jamming up their MySpace with crazy hyperspeed party mixes for the better part of a year now. They’re currently on tour in Europe, so if you’re there, make sure to put on the polka dot Zubaz and check them out. For the rest of you, hit more to read Jace Clayton’s Gen F from the issue, go download some of those mixes and hit up Discobelle for an exclusive track.
Sweat.X‘s Coochie Clash (Now in Hyper-Color!)
Spoek Mathambo is a slippery post-Apartheid glam-rap prince from Soweto who is descended from distant African royalty, or Jewish, or both. In addition to our online communications trail, I have two weeks worth of phone bills—a Paris mobile, a London office number, some digits that connect to a voice speaking Arabic—to prove how hard it is to catch up to him.
Mathambo wasn’t always so busy. “As a teenager I was fucking up with the girls!” he says. “Then I hit this bridge where I started getting mad girls and started getting busier and busier. Now I’m like a slave to my own sexuality and that development is bang with the music.”
Making smart, dirty, overwhelming music—and fucking—is just part of Mathambo’s Sweat.X project with Markus Wormstorm, a white South African he met when they were both actors in a short film. Ebonyivorytron isn’t simply the title of their first EP, it’s also a mission statement that has struck a chord across Africa’s bottom. Now-thing young designers from Capetown and beyond have stepped in to help realize Sweat.X’s wildstyle afrofuturist vision where tailored neon dashikis and cyclops shades jostle with culturally complicated robot minstrel outfits.
Wormstorm spent years on IDM productions and Mathambo started rapping when he was nine, but when Sweat.X was born two years back, they spiked their styles with what Mathambo calls “a speeded-up idea of what that deep heavy funk could be.” That funk is kwaito, South Africa’s hugely popular, blinged-out, slowed-down house. Cop Sweat.X’s free Nuflex Cowabunga Sex Mix online and you’ll realize that, no, it doesn’t sound anything like kwaito, but it’s guaranteed to burn down any house party.
When asked about his favorite performance, Mathambo replies, “A hyper-glamorous show in France.” Then he explains, “My memory of it is skewed because the photography that came out of it was so beautiful. It’s kind of a tainted memory because it looks so fuckin’ glamorous!” Replay that show through digital visions on a computer screen and Sweat.X are easily the most colorful kids in the room. Zoom in: Wormstorm stabs buttons to unleash throbbing nu rave electro that switches up every few bars. Pan left: Mathambo raps about “bulimic bitches wasting my money” and skipping “from Soweto to the mall to the Louvre.” Pullout widescreen: the camera captures girls everywhere and a smiling black man in a dapper suit and sunglasses, the gold chain gracing his neck flagrantly brass. Pre-recorded deadpan chants from Sweat.X conspirator Wendy House tell a compliant audience: Go black, go low, go fast/ Go pussy, go titties, go ass! It’s hard to disobey. African coochie pop redefines Eurochic.