When they performed their song, About You featuring ATI on Btv’s Flava Dome, three young men called Ice Cold Mob left many people wondering how such a sound could come from local artists.
It is like they were focused on sharpening and upping the down scores in the R&B and Hip Hop game. For a genre that has been struggling for a long time in Botswana, the trio has come to the rescue with innovation-derived music and perhaps be the new pacesetters in Botswana’s R&B production.
Listening to these young men connects the soul to old school R&B music and gives it an updated sound. Their familiarity with the spoken word of R&B and crossover to many other sub-genres, puts them on the front lines.
Ice Cold Mob arrives during a fortuitous moment when house music has captured many vocalists. So, maybe for them it was more like connecting to R&B music from the past and giving it a contemporary sound.
Their songs pack an emotional punch and give the local music atmosphere fresh air. While studio technology’s fast-moving modernisation has given new cats an opportunity to experiment further, it is people who listened to R&B in the 1990s, who cannot help but miss the golden era every time Ice Cold Mob vocalises their lyrics.
Ice Cold Mob, together with the powerful influence of ATI, have redefined ballads with the release of About You. The lush, and extensive love song is not only a beautiful expression of how love can rip one’s heart apart, but it showcases the trio’s interaction and talent.
The way the trio sing make them come out as those sensitive souls who are not afraid to admit how much love can hurt. Romantically speaking, such a song is powerful looking at the lyrics that can compel any man to admit soaking their pillow in tears. Austin Makala, Thato Montsho, Poloko Bagal make Ice Cold Mob and according to the vocalists, the name came about because they were all born in the winter season.
Looking back, Makala said the group started in 2013 when they first met at Gaborone Senior Secondary School. “We were individual artists at first, and we started doing songs together then decided to form a group,” Makala said. He recalled that the first song they ever madecalled Acting Up, ended up on radio. “Now we have the big songs out right now being About You and Just Do It,” he said. He added that the current
“We just make songs according to the mood. These latest songs are all about love and it looks like a lot of people jam to that,” he said.
Bagal, also known as Angel told Arts & Culture that ATI is the one who approached them after hearing their music. “He suggested that we do something together. ATI wanted something mellow, and that is how he came about,” he said. Angel also said the song was recorded in his room.
“We have a small set up there with a microphone, sound card, monitor and an old laptop. The mixing, recording and mastering we did there,” he said. Montsho also known as Kensisk said despite the fact that people think their product sounds foreign, American artists do not inspire them.
“We just use the foreign language, but we have songs we haven’t released yet, which contain Setswana lyrics,” he said.
Makala whose music name is AUS was quick to admit that they do have fights as a group, but in the end they remember that they sound amazing as a collective. “We complement each other’s styles. We do everything, we all sing, we all rap,” he said. Angel and AUS also told Arts & Culture that the song About You was based on Kensisk who was going through a break up at the time.
“The song talks about someone who comes into your life and has that huge impact on you and when they are not, there things are not the same,” Kensisk explained.
Angel does not possess a big voice, but he sings in a calm, conversational style. AUS has that dazzling expression of pure love in his vocals.
With his straightforward phrasing, Kensisk redraws R&B and Hip Hop boundaries. Together they are Ice Cold Mob, and like visual artists, they use abstract images to anchor songs of love and heartbreak.
Perhaps they can remain together for longer, be a viable force enough to bring R&B back into the local mainstream.