TKZee is ZWAI BALA, KABELO MABALANE and TOKOLLO TSHABALALA. Announcing themselves in 1996 with their debut release TAKE IT EEZY, a mini-album considered by many musically ahead of its time, these three school friends shot to prominence in late 1997 and early 1998 with their smash hit singles PALAFALA and SHIBOBO.
The self-produced TAKE IT EEZY, with its catchy fusion of R&B, Rap, Hip Hop and Kwaito flavours, was largely ignored by the booming Kwaito market but laid a solid foundation that established TKZee as musical innovators. Zwai Bala is a musical prodigy, who became the first ever black member of the Music in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the classically trained Zwai mixing his talents with the street-hardened rapping skills of Tokollo (TK) and Kabelo (Bouga), TKZee forged a totally unique and addictively fresh music style. Guz had been born.
TKZee exploded back onto the scene in November 1997 with the release of the PALAFALA single. Guz fever had begun within weeks the PALAFALA track was smoking up the radio airwaves nationwide. TKZee hit the road hard with their energetic, in -your-face live performances creating a huge buzz. Included on TKZee produced single, with it’s innovative slimline CD packaging, were the tracks MASIMBELA and the PALAFALA single clocking up sales of over 100 000 units.
PALAFALA also featured a guest appearance by fellow Kwaito star S’BU, who along with TK, had been a member of the once popular group Mashamplani. TKZee recently repaid the favour by all popping up on S’bu’s recent solo album Mzala with Zwai also producing three tracks. Tokollo had also found time to put out solo album Gushesha, and Kabelo had appeared on the debut album by hot local R&B act Soul’d Out.
The fans wanted more and TK, Bouga and Zwai delivered big with their next release. Hooking up with Bafana Bafana and Ajax Amsterdam superstriker Benni McCarthy prior to the 1998 Soccer World Cup in France, TKZee & Benni released the sensational SHIBOBO single in June 1998. SHIBOBO, meaning to dribble or shoot the ball between someone’s legs, was produced by TKZee and featured guest rapping by Benni recorded by Zwai in Amsterdam. SHIBOBO quickly captured the imagination of a Kwaito crazy and soccer mad country competing in it’s first ever Soccer World Cup.
Bafana Bafana didn’t fare too well in the tournament, but history was made when Benni scored South Africa’s first ever World Cup goal, during the drawn pool match with Denmark. Not just any goal, but a “shibobo” between the legs of star Danish and Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.
The SHIBOBO single also featured smoking hot new TKZee tracks GUZ (named after TKZee’s hybrid sound) and SERENADE (which introduced guest rapper Gwyza), and sales topped the 100 000 mark in just over a month. All this makes SHIBOBO the fastest and biggest selling CD single by a South African recording artist in history!
TKZee are currently hard at work on the Kwaito live circuit, and busy with recordings for their highly-anticipated full album HALLOWEEN, which will hit the streets in late October 1998. There are also plans for 1998 launch of TKZee Rekordz, a joint-venture label deal with BMG Africa, that will enable TK, Bouga and Zwai to actively develop some of the many talented young musicians who approach them on a regular basis. First amongst the planned releases from the TKZee Rekordz family will be singles by rap artist GWYZA and Zwai’s hugely talented younger brother Loyiso.
“Born two years out of the creative energies of three township boys, TKZee fever is controversial, exciting and spreading across South Africa. Enter a nightclub catering for the 20 something crowd, and TKZee is the music playing and the music they want to hear.”
Reshma Laka, True Love Magazine, June 1998
“TKZee is confidently showing the way of the future for Kwaito, the enormously popular township pop that dominates the black youth market. An unusual mix of sow house grooves, solid classical backbones and intrinsically Jo’burg raps moves this group away from the plethora of other Kwaito bands on the market”
Diane Coetzer, Billboard magazine, April 1998