Is the Mabala Noise empire crumbling?
It was formed in 2015 by DJ Bongz and originally called Mabalabala until the Durban deejay joined forces with ANC Youth League treasurer general Reggie Nkabinde, and it was renamed Mabala Noise. The label soon started signing some of Mzansi’s bestselling artists, such as Riky Rick, Gigi Lamayne, Major League DJz, Khanyi Mbau, Nasty C, Zakwe, Kay Sibiya, Mbali Nkosi, and many more.
But in less than three years many artists have become frustrated with the record company and have quietly made an exit. In July 2017 founder DJ Bongz announced his departure from Mabala Noise on his Facebook page with immediate effect. “Protect your peace. Know when to leave!” he posted. The Durban deejay hinted that he would be starting his own record company called Gwara Gwara entertainment.
Major League DJz – twins Banele and Bandile Mbere – left around the same time, with Bandile recently telling DRUM that their vision was at odds with that of Mabala Noise. “We left last year. We wanted to do our own thing, man. It was a different vision and it wasn’t about the money issue that had been reported,” said Bandile.
Ricky Rick announced his split with the label in March 2017 on Twitter saying he’d prayed about his departure, “After long prayer and conversation with God, I am no longer part of Mabala Noise, blessings to everyone there; thank you for the love.” In a series of tweets Riky Rick also alleged that the record company took back the entire “gift” they had given him.
Female rapper Gigi Lamayne left the label in December and told TshisaLive she left due to creative differences, but that the split was amicable.
Mabala Noise also fired their media liaison officer Mhlo Gumede – Zandi Khumalo’s husband and Kelly Khumalo’s brother-in-law – last year for allegedly extorting money from up-and-coming musicians with the promise to give them record deals. Mhlo had been with Mabala Noise since 2015 and told DRUMthat he was already in the process of leaving the label when they fired him. “I was on my way out of the company anyway because of a few disagreements, but I’ve agreed with Reggie Nkabinde to not go into detail about our disagreements and I will keep my word.”
In February 2018 rapper Nasty C also left the record company for international label Universal Music Group. The break-up allegedly started when Nasty C didn’t attend a Christmas party in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, despite being given a deposit of R120 000.
It was reported by Isolezwe that Mabala Noise’s assets were to be liquidated after owner Reggie disinvested from the label hoping to focus on politics.
Khanyi Mbau has, however, confirmed to DRUM that she’s still with the company. “I’m still very much with Mabala Noise.” Rapper Du Boiz is also still signed with them.
But with the company hemorrhaging talent left and right, what does the future hold for Mabala Noise?