If you’re reading this you’ve probably taken part in the viral #JerusalemaDanceChallenge or at least have seen videos of people dancing to the Jerusalema song online. The global smash hit has taken the world by storm that even celebrities, such as football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, have hyped the song on their social media pages. But, have you ever stopped to ask yourself who’s the person behind the song that has the whole world singing in unison?
Who’s Master KG?
This is one name that has been on people’s lips ever since the world was rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic. Born Kgaogelo Moagi on the outskirts of Limpopo, Master KG is a South African musician and record producer born in 1996. He says he started playing with beats at the age of thirteen using a computer that his late uncle had bought him.
Master KG is not quite new to the music scene. It was his single ‘Skeleton Move’ that shot him straight to local prominence in 2018, bagging him top accolades in several award ceremonies across the continent. The instruments to Skeleton Move had already been buzzing in the streets of Mzansi in 2016. But it was only in summer of 2018, after bringing talented vocalist Zanda Zakuza on board, that the song gained more traction and was played in every corner.
Just as people were still catching their breath after dancing to Skeleton Move the entire summer that year, Master KG wasn’t planning to turn down the volume anytime soon! Later that same year, he dropped another banger called Waya Waya, with Team Mosha dropping mesmerising vocals on the mic.
“The song talks about how beautiful life is and Master KG wishes there was no death and we can live forever, i.e. waya waya,” reads the song’s video on YouTube, currently sitting at a staggering eight millions views so far.
Master KG closed off that year in fashion, and secured the award for Best Artist in African Electro Dance 2018 in Ghana.
Jerusalema comes to Mzansi
The date was 11 October 2019 and Mzansi already had songs that had the potential to cling the record of the year status. Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode then decided to add their names in the hat with an upbeat gospel-influenced house song titled ‘Jerusalema’ and the song slowly gained momentum. Soon after, every radio station, taxi and private car in the country was playing the song and people would just get up on their feet and dance a storm every time it went off.
By the end of that year, even though it was released later than its competitors, the majority of people were now getting more convinced that Jerusalema would become the song of the year. Celebrated for her melodious voice and ability to bring that gospel element to any dance song she touched, Nomcebo was the best choice and deserved just as much credit for the smash hit.
Jerusalema is not particularly a new song to South Africans, as it is sung in most churches and mentioned several times in the bible. But, to point out the apparent, it’s the spin that Master KG and Nomcebo put in the hit that has made it reach heights that no other SA song came close to.
Even though the song wasn’t as popping anymore here eMzansi when it blew up and crossed the sea, it wiggled its way back to the hearts that once vibed to it. Jerusalema went global at a time when the world was hard hit by the Covid-19 virus and people needed something positive to hold on to. The song is loved for its comforting and assuring lyrics that everything will be fine and its rhythm makes everyone believe they can dance their way out of this pandemic.
Speaking of dance, the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge is still trending months after a group of friends, according to Master KG, recorded themselves dancing to the song in Angola.
There’s just not enough space here to list all the records that the song has smashed so far. Its video is currently sitting at a whopping 130 million views on YouTube and has now become the most ‘Shazamed’ song in the world. Shazam is a music identification app with over a billion installations that allows you to identify a song that’s playing with the press of a button.
Master KG comes from one of the poorest and most rural provinces in the country but his success is a testimony that your background doesn’t define your future. Or, in Cassper Nyovest’s words, it doesn’t matter where you come from because success doesn’t ask for a visa.
If you liked this, read here to find out who is Africa’s coolest kid.
Tell us: What do you think about Master KG’s journey?