Tribute: The Artistry of Rhythmic Elements.

Tsoga borokong, tsiboga fa letlhaba, tlhatlhoga dithaba ka pina ya tsholofelo…

Rhythmic Elements ~ Hello Mr

Nostalgia; a longing or sentimental yearning of some period past by, that at times can be stimulated by music. Explained scientifically, it is said that music stimulates many areas of the brain, while also giving us huge doses of dopamine. Given this, hearing the same songs over and over or during particularly memorable events or formative periods in our lives can make them stick, at times for life. We are very good at recognizing music that we’ve heard before, and associating it with certain memories.

For me, the music of Rhythmic Elements is both sentimental and nostalgic. Nostalgic in that it takes me back to the days of my childhood; it leads me back to the imagery of what were my surroundings and reminds me of moments that I now, in hindsight, appreciate. The music of Rhythmic Elements is sentimental to me because it represents a period of transition in my life; a time where I found myself having to learn a whole new language and familiarize myself with a culture that was at the time far off from that which I’d grown as a part of.

Often the music of Rhythmic Elements is easily dismissed given the sometimes gimmicky nature of their delivery, though arguably only a select few of their “mainstream singles” are of such gimmicky nature. In actuality most of Rhythmic Elements’ songs are multi layered with messages, practical scenarios and even underlying master compositions to derive from.

If anything, it is no coincidence that Master T and McKenzie named the duo/group Rhythmic elements; their beats and sound often went beyond just the drum tracks as one could easily assume. They infused tons of bass lines, samples, synths, and other rhythmic elements that made up much of the musical identity of their group.

They made music that was true to themselves, their upbringing and immediate community. The music of Rhythmic Elements beyond the lyricism was composed in such a way that you could hear the influences of not only the sound of the time in Pretoria but also the music from West Africa that they may have been listening to. This is similar to how you hear the Chicago in Kanye’s early sound or closer to home the sounds of the Eastern Cape and eMonti in Simphiwe Dana’s debut album, Zandisile. This of course is when they were not directly paying tribute with songs such as Matswale and Stimela, which again references the influence of the music of their upbringing.

Their music was representative of their lingo and way of life. They, at that period of time took Spitori and music in Spitori to a mainstream level. They did not conform to the typical South African house sound of the time that either just moved from pre chorus to chorus or down right only went straight to chorus. They made proper use of verses delivering messages such as Khumo ke Kagiso, or calling on the inner Spirit Of A Warrior.

There are mountain ranges to climb and the river rages on… We can make it through somehow, we don’t need no reason or an explanation…

Rhythmic Elements ~ Spirit Of A Warrior

The essence of Rhythmic Elements was very much built on brotherhood, this was clear to see and HEAR. Be it between McKenzie and Master T at the forefront as the images of the group, Master T and the late bra TK on percussion during LIVE performances or any of the guys on any of their music videos. The chemistry was clear and was inspiring. It is also no coincidence that once they lost that and had a fall out only then was the group nulled.

The legacy of Rhythmic Elements is engraved not only on accolades from their prime but also in the minds of people like myself in the form of Nostalgia. The music was impactful, it defined a time, it laid ground for the emergence of a sound and inspired the music of others.

To bo grootman: Re leboga mmino.

See David Serame and Adam Glasser’s jazzy reinterpretation of Rhythmic Elements Lesson No. 1 below: