Who we are: African Dope Records is an independent record label based in Cape Town, South Africa. It is the brainchild of the world renowned beats ‘n breaks DJ/producer duo Krushed & Sorted, who began and ran the record label from its original humble HQ in the centre of Cape Town back in 2000. Since April 2000, Dope has been releasing the phreshest beats and breaks by artists from the Mother City.
Why we are: Seven years ago the South African music underground was deeper and darker than a Gauteng mine-shaft. But down this mineshaft there was gold just waiting to be found. Enter a couple of DJs who had realised from early on that a DJ career in Cape Town was never going to grow beyond back-room raves without access to tunes that weren't available anywhere else. So with mining hats, a pick axe of talent, a stick of dynamite ambition and a box of matches they went digging sub-surface, mining for that definitive Cape Town sound.more
They assembled some basic PC gear and a sampler, and started tinkering with beats. A lucky break arrived in making the music for a large tobacco corporation's cinema advertisement, bringing in enough cash to set up the dream indie label and release the world’s first Krushed & Sorted CD: 'Acid ™ Made Me Do It'.
The album was extremely well received by the local press, and sparked enough interest and well-paid commissioned work for the label to expand its horizons.
The next six years saw African Dope rise to become the definitive force giving voice to the new wave of South African music, music that was colour-blind, bass heavy. With a strong emphasis on high quality production made on low-budget gear, African Dope changed the way South Africans saw -and heard - the alternative electronic part of their new culture.
“African Dope Records has almost single-handedly sparked a mini music revolution for groove-based beats in Cape Town and other African cities.” – DJ Larry.
Dope through time:
Initiate Phase II:
Along came a 6-piece live funk/soul/jazz/hip-hop/dub outfit calling themselves Moodphase5ive; they released a massive debut album 'Steady On' thru African Dope in December 2000.
Following MP5 came an odd but severely talented chap calling himself Felix Laband: an ex-punk rocker turned ambient/electro producer blessed with a unique sense of melody and quirk who brought an equally impressive debut album out on Dope called 'Thin Shoes In June'
It was soon apparent that the African Dope / Cape Town sound could not be confined to territorial borders and in April 2001 African Dope secured a distribution deal through Lowlands Distribution in Belgium, which spread the Dope to the Benelux countries and to most other major territories on import.
In the meantime, African Dope continued to work closely with the booming local film and advertising industries in Cape Town - making original music and providing sound design and licensing services to a wide range of local and international clients, all of whom provided the fuel that kept the label's engine burning.
Towards the end of 2001, African Dope signed and released the original South African electronics pioneer act: The Kalahari Surfers. The album on Dope that followed was the first new album from them in 13 years, called 'Akasic Records'.more back
The scent of success emitted by these few Dope releases inevitably attracted the attention of a major label and in November 2001 African Dope licensed a compilation - 'African Dope Volume 1' - to Sony Music SA. The album featured new tracks from Felix Laband and Kalahari Surfers, remixes of Moodphase5ive, and introduced the world to the next wave of African Dope artists; Ghettomuffin, Anti-Hero, Craig Damster and others…
With the Sony Music brand behind it, the label become the darlings of the SA media, enjoying both street-level and critical cred, with high profile placements in the most mainstream of CD stores across the land. This culminated in unexpectedly walking off with a 2002 SAMA award (SA Grammy) for Best Dance Album (which remains a landmark doorstop in the Dope offices). Despite all this, the label retained absolute independence from the Sony machine and continued developing and releasing itsown roster of acts.more back
2002 saw the release of Felix Laband's 2nd album ‘4/4 Down the stairs’ , Moodphase5ive's remix release 'Superdeluxe Mode' , hip-hop trio Godessa's debut single - 'Social Ills' and the label’s first own compilation: 'The Cape of Good Dope'. All were met with unparalleled acclaim from the growing legion of dedicated dope heads, many of whom were media! Across the sea in Europe, interest was growing; Dope artists toured the continent promoting the distinctive sound and 'vibe' that is uniquely African Dope.
The end of 2002 bought the release of an ambitious project; The Constructus Corporation’s “The Ziggurat” - a hardcover graphic novel + CD concept album (which also included a blank CD on which you could download and burn an entire second album free)
The label would come with further releases, some 12" vinyl releases done in co-operation with Lowlands, also music videos and a return series of tours by Dope acts to Europe, including performances at Belgium’s famous (Pukkelpop festival), and tours of the Czech Republic. 2003
After a difficult year plagued by distribution problems and a financial director who lost the plot on various snortable substances, the label finally sorted a new distribution deal with Sony Music SA for South Africa, and released 3 new albums at the end of 2003:
Kalahari Surfers’ 2nd Dope album “Muti Media”; a dub/reggae/dancehall collaborative album called “African Dope Soundsystem” (a collaboration between inhouse Dope producers DJ Dope and Juan Thyme and the cream of Gugulethu’s roots an dancehall talent Teba, Chronic Clan, Black Dillinger, JJ, Red Lion and more)
And a hiphop compilation on imprint DIY Records called “Silvertab Harambe Dope Sessions”, which featured unreleased material from new unsigned hiphop acts unearthed on a series of radio shows done in collaboration with YFM’s Harambe Drive show, Matchbox Creative Incubator and Levi’s aborted Silvertab brand
A year of restructuring and consolidation for the label – the thriving Krushed & Sorted Studios and African Dope Publishing divisions were moved into separate business units, the label moved home, and shed most of it’s roster of artists in an effort to streamline and gear for the new digital music business realities – setting up digital distribution, a mobile content company Dopemobile , and an online shop . The only release of the year was the limited edition ‘bootleg’ live recording – “The Real Estate Agents – Pizzas (Live in Paris), now only available digitally.
“African Dope’s Greatest Hit” album, subtitled “Krushed & Sorted Re-hash all your favourite Dope joints”. It’s available on CD as a 42 track dj mega-mix by label bosses Krushed & Sorted, showcasing all the highs and lo-slung basslines of the label’s history so far. But it’s also available on a variety of other digital formats, including on Flash Drive and Mobile Memory Card bundles, and as a digital download package including all 42 full tracks plus the dj mix.
This is the new African Dope v2.0 – fully geared for the digital age, global in focus and attitude, and ready to unleash a brand new crop of the Cape’s choicest beats n breaks on your ass in 2007 and beyond.