Black Noise is a hip-hop crew hailing from the Cape Flats in Cape Town, South Africa. The crew, along with Prophets of da City (POC), is credited with being a pioneer of Cape Town’s ‘conscious’ hip-hop scene in the late 80s and early 90s. The crew’s line-up has changed significantly since the early 90s, but Emile YX? (aka Emile Jansen) has been the crew’s mainstay. Black Noise is South Africa’s oldest active hip-hop crew and Jansen has been instrumental in employing Black Noise for youth development initiatives, such as workshops for township youth. He went on to establish a non-profit organisation called Heal the Hood and launched landmark hip-hop events; these include the annual Hip-Hop Indaba, African Battle Cry and Shut Up and Dance. The crew has conducted workshops and performed extensively in South Africa as well as in a number of European countries. Jansen and Black Noise have also launched a number of albums, DVDs, poetry anthologies (including the work of school pupils and established hip-hop artists) and books.
In 2001 they released an album called Circles of Fire. It is an ode to Capoeira, the martial art of Brazilian slaves; the ‘circle of fire’ is the sacred space in which this martial art is performed. Black Noise tried to mix the rhythms of Capoeira with urban South African hip hop styles. ‘Don’t speak, just listen’, is an a cappella track talking about gangsterism in Cape Town. The standout track on the album is a remake of Bob Marley’s ‘Could you be loved’. Like POC, Black Noise’s live act includes MCs, DJs and b-boy performances. They have also included live music components at certain events.
Black Noise’s Emile Jansen features in the 2010 South African feature, The Creators (documentary film). In the film, Emile teaches bboy workshops to Cape Flat youth, leads a group of South Africans on a trek up Table Mountain, and spearheads the first African Hip Hop Indaba.
Red Everything Movement