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Fans of South African GQOM pioneer DJ Lag have a special treat coming. The 21-year-old producer is dropping an exclusive three-track free EP through Black Major next month. The project, aptly titled, Trip to New York, will be available exclusively through WhatsApp. Interested parties need only to sign up through Lag’s website and a download link will be sent via the messenger service at midnight on July 14.

The EP was inspired by Lag’s recent trip to New York for Red Bull Music Academy. Ahead of the trip, South African photographer Kristin Lee-Moolman – whose work has appeared in Dazed, the New York Times and more – conceptualized a portrait series starring Lag and fellow GQOM act, Rudeboyz.

During his New York trip, we took the opportunity to chat with Lag about the GQOM movement. Read our Q&A and stream “Khonkolo,” first single from the EP below.

What defines GQOM?

The feeling of the crowd when you hear it and you feel it.

How is it different from Kwaito House?

The kick drum is different, the tempo is faster. The samples are specific to GQOM.

What are the origins of GQOM?

I first heard this kind of sound when Naked Boys put out a track in around 2010 or 2011. They were the first to create a broken beat track in this way. At that stage there was no name for this sound. It was a track and not a genre. I began trying to create something like that sound. In my case coming from a hip-hop background I was using different sample packs to create that kind of a vibe. There were a few producers playing around and soon there was a new genre called GQOM.

How have DJs and parties helped spread GQOM?

In Durban, you go to parties to experience GQOM. I think when I play at parties internationally audiences get a real GQOM experience, instead of hearing the tracks on their own, they experience a whole set.

What do you want the rest of the world to know about GQOM?

It’s the future.


Also make sure to see our editor-selected picks for best songs of the week here


  • Writer: Noah Thomas
  • Photographer: Kristin Lee-Moolman
Words by Contributor