This is Smiso and Zamani, aka Okmalvumkoolkat and Dokta SpiZee of the duo group Dirty Paraffin. Some say their music is electronic, others say it’s electro-kwaito, and magazines have even compared them to Brooklyn’s Das Racist. But the two guys do not want to box their music to a genre.
Smiso breaks it down as primer stove music: a necessary ingredient of music that accentuates all the various elements of culture, style, language, and sound that South Africa has to offer. Zamani on the production and Smiso as the front man performer, Dirty Paraffin’s music is a humorous collection of thumping offbeat sounds, music videos with chickens in the background, and catchy vernac phrases like “siya sebenza after 5 we come alive” (we work but after 5 we come alive).
Outside of Dirty Paraffin, the guys have separate gigs with Smiso collaborating with other artists like London’s LV on the growing popular track “Sebenza”, and Zamani who performs as DJ Dokta SPiZee. But despite that, the two fellows feel they are representing Dirty Paraffin no matter where they go.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Dirty Paraffin over the last month and a half documenting and interviewing them. They are very humble and centered fellows, which can be deceiving with all their retro, slightly flashy, and patterned clothing. They attribute their dress sense to the taxi driver, the notoriously staunch Zulu man who works day and night zipping in and out and through Johannesburg. The taxi driver is known to have the fashion sense the never left the 1980s –leather cab driver caps, gold jewelry, and penny loafers.
Growing in popularity, Dirty Paraffin has enjoyed the spoils of being featured in popular magazines like Spin, Fader, and Dazed and Confused, and they continue to push to spread the word of their futuristic tunes.
A short documentary on the guys will be finished up end of October. But in the meantime you can check out their blogs: