It’s not every day when I get to have a conversation with impactful young players in the fast-growing African music industry. So I was blessed to chop it up with an award-winning and platinum-selling producer duo from South Africa, PLXYGRND. Made up of two undeniably talented musicians, namely Kyle Keyz and Glo TheBeatz, the outfit has a lot of notable placements under their belt, including ‘Everything’ of the Coming 2 America, Rhythms Of Zamunda soundtrack. This week, PLXYGRND was given the nod by Apple Music in the form of their Behind The Boards playlist.
Joining the virtual room a few minutes late because I was battling a sore throat, I found the two gentlemen patiently waiting for me, with a leafy typical Southern African verandah as their backdrop. I thought to myself,” This is going to be a good one.” So we dived straight into it, asking them to share how and why they got into the music industry. Kyle Keyz, who is the gregarious one, took the question by the horns and detailed,” I got into music back when I was 15. I was playing in a lot of rock bands and stuff like that. I will summarise because it’s quite a long story.” Kyle Keyz continues to detail how he took a short hiatus from music at age twenty, then came back two years later, when he started working with one of his friend’s relatives. During working on that album, Kyle Keyz met Glo TheBeatz, who was also working on the same album.
Glo TheBeatz’s musical journey began when he was 14 years of age. He admits to being inspired by Kanye (Ye) West’s ‘Graduation’ album, explicitly singling out the ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ record. Curious to know how such beats came about, Glo TheBeatz began experimenting with FL Studio with his brother’s friend, mostly during break time at school. He kept practising until he sold two beats to the same artist Kyle Keyz mentioned. That’s how Glo The Beatz meets Kyle Keyz. “So we met each other, and Glo was hella-weird”, joked Kyle Keyz.” I am weirdo, haha,” Glo TheBeatz laughed away. Kyle Keyz continued to share how Glo TheBeatz brought such a difference to what he used to make and how they started working together a lot. That’s how PLXYGRND came to be.
Recalling how they got their first placement, the duo shared how they met Reason through an acquaintance and how the rapper gave them a lot of advice. Reason introduced them to Nadia Nakai, producing the smash record,’ Money Back’. Glo TheBeatz explained how they adhere to the delayed gratification philosophy, “With us, I think it never actually hit us. We kept going since it wasn’t our end goal, so we never really felt anything. We were like, okay, cool; we did this. What’s next?” I was curious how PLXYGRND landed on the Coming 2 America soundtrack, so I inquired. Glo TheBeatz advised young producers to aim to build up with small artists, for when opportunities come, it is a given that you will be involved in the bigger picture of things. He further elaborates, giving an example of how they have been successful with Ricky Tyler, their artist, recently signed to Def Jam Africa.
PLXYGRND is releasing its second single as artists,’ Bad News’, on 18 February 2022. The record is already creating demand in the urban Southern African territories, featuring guest vocals from Zimbabwean songstress Gemma Griffiths and their signee, Ricky Tyler. When I asked them why the duo is now releasing records as artists when they are already successful songwriters and producers, the pair made it clear that there is some music they want out in the world, but the piece might not fit any other artist but them.
It’s exciting to watch this South African outfit, PLXGRND, prosper in every business sector, creating a legacy for the generations to come. Watch the entire conversation between PLXGRND and Mufaro ‘Forbes’ Mujuru below.