Music duo Venom and Shishiliza believe their smash hit Sondela has set the tone for the hip-hop genre in 2022.
Sondela dropped on February 14 and has done wonders in the streaming avenue in the past four weeks.
Released at the right time to pick up where Umlando frenzy left off, the single was certified with a gold plaque last week.
The single – featuring Yumbs, Raspy, Blxckie, the late Riky Rick and Tshego – scored 1.4-million streams across all streaming platforms.
Since its release, Sondela occupied position one on Apple Music hip-hop chart, it further sat at number one spot in the Apple Music Charts (all genres) and was at number two on Spotify.
It is also dominating in the radio airwaves by being in the Top 30 on radio across both local and international.
That is not all, the single received over 400,000 streams in its first week of release. Both artists, who have 10 years’ experience in the music industry doing different things, believe the success of Sondela was a combination of hard-work, creative genius and tenacity.
Shishiliza, whose real name is Sebastian Jameson, has managed artists like Nadia Nakai, Reason and Boity, while Pretoria-born Venom Nkosi has worked with artists such as Rouge, Chad Da Don, Focalistic and Omarion.
The two music masterminds share what it took for Sondela to become a success. Shishiliza believes that the song has set the tone for hip-hop scene for 2022.
He says initially, they wanted to release the song in December but realised that by end of January people would have forgotten about it.
SA rapper Riky Rick has died, aged 34
Rapper Riky Rick, real name Rikhado Makhado, has died. He was 34 years old.
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Venom agrees that February 14 was a perfect time to drop the song. “I think we have set the tone with an amapiano and hip-hop-inspired sound. I am hoping that other hip-hop artists will be inspired by how the song is performing on digital platforms and use the same formula. I think Sondela has set a tone for and helps hip-hop to come back in a big way.
“I just want people to outdo themselves this year and produce good music. What sets you apart is when you bring something different and unique.”
The experience music composer says they knew from the start that they were working on a hit. Even the late Ricky Rick had bought into the song and was pushing for its release.
They had been working on the song since June.
The idea of the song started small with a beat from Yumbs. They then began brainstorming and started working on the concept. After a couple of weeks the recording started, it was then sent to Tshego who added the beautiful vocals. For the longest time, the song was just a hook and Tshego’s voice.
Born in Zimbabwe, raised in Botswana and moved to Johannesburg at the age of 14 , Shishiliza explains that the inspiration behind the song started with them exploring a fusion of amapiano, hip-hop and RnB.
He says with the chorus they wanted to have something nostalgic that appeals to different generations.
“For many months we were not sure who to add on it. Ricky was a big part of the song from the beginning. While in a studio working with Blxcks for something else, he ended up dropping verses for Sondela. About a week before we dropped it, Ricky sent us his verse. Honestly, it was a bit frustrating because it was last minute but we had to understand he was our big brother.”
Now that Sondela has done well, the duo want to capitalise on its success by releasing a full album. They have already started, having recorded nine songs already and hoping to finish the whole album in a few weeks.
Both believe their collaboration will grow and benefit the SA hip-hop scene.
Venom says the collaboration started when he was looking for a manager. When he met Shishiliza, he was branching out to producing his own music.
Shishiliza entered the industry as an A&R, DJ and photographer for Cassper Nyovest’s Family Tree Label.
In 2017, he signed Nadia Nakai to Family Tree.