Pietermaritzburg isn’t exactly known as a hotbed for local talent. That’s not to say that there aren’t countless talented people from Maritzburg, it’s just that the rest of us don’t know about them until they leave. It’s the whole if a tree falls in the woods thing. If a dope album is made in a small town but nobody outside that town hears it, is it still a dope album? Thankfully, we live in an era where we can live stream monks chanting in the Himalayas (I don’t know if this is true, but it probably is) so you can definitely listen to music made in Maritzburg.
There seems to be a thriving DIY hip-hop scene in PMB these days that’s actually been developing talented young rappers and producers. Ill Societiii is one such product of this scene and his debut album Joyriiide features up-and-coming talent that you should know about. Although hailing from Maritzburg, if one were to judge purely by their sound, one wouldn’t arrive to that conclusion so easily. Joyriiide takes direct influence from modern international rap and R&B, high-hats and a liberal use of autotune included. Personally, I’d like to hear more local flavour and to hear about what life in PMB is really like (Old Sylvan Road touches on it, but not enough). You can tell they’ve grown up listening to the big names overseas and local youngsters like Nasty C so their sound is more on that international tip. That being said, they do it well and Joyriiide features a quality of production high-quality production than I was expecting from a debut independent release coming out of one of SA’s smaller towns.
Joyriiide hits the marks for a modern rap release with songs about the high life, God, and girls. It’s full of machismo and praise to the most high, with emotional tales of love lost sprinkled in between. While there are 13 songs, they fly by quickly as most of them are under 3 minutes. With Joyriiide, Ill Societiii and his collaborators Trippy Bastion, Icomeinpeace, Xntisxcial, Abbie, 2573, and KB prove that there’s plenty of talent in Peitermaritzburg. Don’t sleep on them.