Dank Neighbourhood -Recording their first album in Betty’s Bay, 2020. Photo: Marcel van der Veen.

Dank Neighbourhood – The New Kids on the Block

BY EMMANUEL EKENE OKERE

This coming spring season will definitely be a busy one, as musical band Dank Neighbourhood (DN), comprising of 10 members of talented artists, gets set to release their first single on 3 September. A list of members of the band includes: Josh “Easy Tiger” du Plessis, Paul “Plascon Dog” Twekye, William “Blueboi” Kingwill, Nic “StratosFear” de Jager, Thomas “Tee Sawce” Edwards, Thomas “Channel Profound” du Plessis, Marcel “Zwoog” van der Veen, Linda “Neptune State” Mahlangu, Ryno “Courtsyde” Smit, and Evan “Uncle Evz” Williams.

Dank Neighbourhood, which began back in 2016, is a team of creative minds who decided to kickstart an art crew. While describing the band, Twekye said, “At the onset, poetry and music were our initial arts of choice but, with time, we became inspired and now we have expanded to be a more inclusive collective.”

According to Twekye, one of the activities that sparked the formation of the band was freestyle rapping to 90s hip-hop beats after a night out in Stellenbosch, where most of the founding members studied. After this experience, they blossomed as a group and soon began attracting members from the surrounding areas, who shared their same love for art.

Narrating how and what inspired the band name and their choice of music, Josh du Plessis, one of the founding members of the band, said, “We had already decided to start this creative, but we couldn’t think of a name for days on end. One sunny Sunday afternoon Natedogg [Nate van Wyk, a former band member], Plascon Dog, and one of their other homies were hotboxing a golden CitiGolf through an avenue in a wealthy estate pumping rap music, when Natedogg said something like, ‘wow, this is a Dank Neighbourhood’—then it clicked!” 

He then explained that the name signifies a family-like community of friends that share the love of art. “Dank”, like the word “dope”, is used to describe something as outstanding, extraordinary, or cool.

With the pandemic, and the social restrictions and lockdowns that came with it, the members of Dank Neighborhood have continued to create music together—seemingly naturally—and to collaborate from a distance. “It’s really how we started doing our thing,” said Edwards.

He further elaborated that, as a group, they always have individuals who are making beats and looking for lyrics, and others who are writing lyrics and looking for a beat to add. According to Edwards, “COVID went by largely unnoticed in terms of writing and putting together our music. But, as it stands right now, we can’t wait for COVID-19 regulations to come to an end so we can start thinking about potential live shows!”

Responding to the question of what their fans and music lovers are to expect in the coming days, and maybe even years, Smit said, “Between inception and now, we have dropped our first album, titled Anthropology; and ever since, the team have been hard at work. The big news from the band is that, as from this spring, starting this Friday (3 September), a single will be released every month until the end of the year! There is also an EP (extended play) coming sometime this year, consisting of the remastered SoundCloud tracks.”

It sure will be a busy last quarter of the year. Fans and lovers of rap, hip-hop, and good music in general should expect the release of an amazing body of music work. 

“Dank Neighborhood is not tied to a particular genre, but rather explore[s] whatever sounds intrigue [the band members’] eardrums. Our genres have spanned from drum and bass to jazzy hip-hop. It also helps having three beat-makers for a big range of sounds and styles,” Smit concluded.

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