Gqom's global ambassador introduces a new, harder form of the South African style.
"Dimoni" and "Offi Bee" are some of the hardest tunes that DJ Lag has released, the latter built around guttural grunt samples and what sounds like dog barks. "Rich Drop" could be a trap instrumental gone mad, with vocal whoops and incessant cowbells, while "Uhuru Dis" sees Lag reunite with the vocalist Moonchild Sanelly, whose taunting voice makes the hulking instrumental more claustrophobic.
But Uhuru's best moments are in its bookends, which show gqom visiting new places. The opener, "Portland," is said to be inspired by Lag's recent world travels, which you can hear in its Reese basslines and billowing synths, adding unexpected melancholy. The closer, "Amanikiniki," pairs Lag with Unticipated Soundz, a group of newcomers who will release on his forthcoming label, Ice Drop. It features another chant-like vocal, but instead of menacing, it's lilting, navigating gqom's sharp corners with ease. Uhuru might present an ultra-hard strain of gqom, but the more open-minded tracks are the real gems. DJ Lag has become the sound's ambassador. It seems the rest of the world has influenced him, too.