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Gqom /ᶢǃʱòm/ (Igqomu)[pronunciation?] is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 2010s from Durban.[1] It developed out of South African house music, kwaito and hip-hop.[2] Unlike other South African electronic music, gqom is typified by minimal, raw and repetetive sound with heavy bass beats but without the four-on-the-flour rhythm pattern.[1]

The word gqom - sometimes expressed as qgom, igqom, gqomu or variants thereof - derives from an onomatopoeic combination of click consonants in isiZulu and isiXhosa meaning a hitting drum.[3] Gqom was developed by a young generation of technologically skilled DJs producing in D.I.Y. fashion with software such as FL Studio and often self distributing their music on file sharing platforms.[1][2][4] Gqom music is associated with a number of distinctive dance moves, like the 'bhenga'[1], 'vosho'[5] or the 'gwara gwara'[4]. From the mid-2010s the genre gained prominence abroad, especially in London,[6][2] and its dance moves were adopted by famous musicians in the United States. Rihanna performed the 'gwara gwara' at the 2018 Grammy awards[4] while Childish Gambino performs it in his video for 'This is America'.[7]

Music connoisseurs who embraced the new sound included the likes of South African rapper Okmalumkoolkat, Italian record label Gqom Oh owner, Malumz Kole,[8] Afrotainment record label owner DJ Tira, as well as music taste-maker and personal public relations liaison, Cherish LaLa Mankai.[8] Related artists are DJ Lag, DJ Bongz, Lord The Dj, MasterT, Dj Noffoh, Dj Nkaa, Rudeboyz, Distruction Boyz & AudioBoyz.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Oliver, Huw (2016-01-22). "Gqom, the foot-stomping new sound of South Africa's townships". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  2. ^ a b c Le Gal, Anne (2016-08-09). "Gqom—The Sound from the Townships of South Africa". Indie Guides. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  3. ^ "History Of Gqom". CoreHiphop: Gqom Music News, New Afro-House Music. 2018-11-12. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  4. ^ a b c Akyea, Akornefa (2018-07-19). "The Gqom Generation of Durban, South Africa". Afropop Worlwide. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  5. ^ Langa, Phumlani S. (2017-11-26). "Gqom: The rise of a subculture". City Press. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  6. ^ Cliff, Aimee (2015-06-05). "What the foq is gqom?". Dazed. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  7. ^ Zeeman, Kyle (2018-05-15). "Riri & Childish Gambino beware: DJ Bongz 'trademarked' the gwara gwara". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  8. ^ a b Weichenrieder, Philipp (19 April 2016). "Gqom-Musik aus Südafrika: Townships calling" – via
  9. ^ "Gqom: A deeper look at South Africa's new generation of house". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 2016-01-05. Retrieved 2018-10-27.

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