SHOOK Number 09 : South Africa Special

If the above looks strange to you then it raises the question: how do you not know about Shook? Raised from the ashes of Straight No Chaser, Shook magazine has taken it’s place as the beating heart of the underground scene, stretching it’s wings from London to the States and now South Africa, and pulling together some of the finest creatives to grace the “QWERTY” keys and click on a lens.

It was the stunning cover of Shook No. 2 that first brought my attention to the mag – the drummer on the MPC that remains one of my favorite visual pieces ever. I believe it was also in this issue that the term ‘Beat Generation‘ was coined. There’s way too many photographers and writers involved to start rolling off individual names, but every time I open it up my mind boggles at what’s been unearthed and the style and the skill in which it’s covered.

For film, music, art scenes and culture – Shook stands where previous press lost the point, looking to the future. More important than this is the passion that goes in to the issues, mixed with a refusal to sell-out and the integrity to push forward what they believe in.

Editor Jez Smadja remains the inspirational point behind the whole project, and as such has become one of the most important and unique characters in London. Aside from his gift with words the man’s work ethic and vision to push forward is outstripped only by his inventiveness and creativity.

As I said before, no press is more important than Shook right now and the new issue’s just dropped. Get on it.


South Africa has got it going on right now. Forget football (the country’s footballing heritage was decimated by apartheid), in 2010 it’s South Africa’s young party starters, streetwear entrepreneurs, dance music moguls, grassroots organizations, and Pan-African publishers who are attracting the eyes of the world.

South Africa has never considered itself anything but a First World country and this is what a new generation is out to prove. In our special South Africa issue, headline artists BLK JKS meet guitar hero Dr. Phillip ‘Malombo’ Tabane; international dance music stars Black Coffee and Culoe de Song provide an entry point into the ubiquitous house music scene; and in the beating heart of Soweto we meet the country’s future leaders. We also revisit the radical 1960s jazz players through Basil Breakey’s photography, the multi-racial 1980s hip-hop movement in Cape Town and highlight new movements like the Pan African Space Station.

Elsewhere in the issue, Bilal gets us all hot in the middle, DJ Spinn gives us a brief history of Chi-Town’s Footworkers and how he needs Juke Music All Night Long. There’s Sun Ra’s Arkestra, The Now Sound of Brasil, Colombian soundsystems and much more…

Pick up a copy here or at your local newsagent or record store. For all you readers in the US and Canada, we’ll be available in Borders and Barnes & Noble from next week, so there’s no excuses for missing out on SHOOK anymore.

As a taster, you can preview the whole magazine with this Issuu gizmo (click side arrow to flip page) and download the PDF onto your mobile phone if you roll like that.