DOOKOOM, the infamous Afro-punk noise rap crew that is currently deadlocked in a historic battle with a white Afrikaans ‘civil rights’ group at the Human Rights Commission in South Africa, accused of ‘incitement to violence’ and ‘hate speech’ for raising issues of inequality, land ownership and structural violence with their track ‘Larney Jou Poes’, are back with their debut album, ’NO!’, on I.O.T Records.
DOOKOOM is a product of a world where governments and corporations have created near post-apocalyptic conditions, exemplified by the infamous Cape Flats, a harsh, dusty wasteland which, to this day, is one of the toughest environments in the world, with gangs, alcohol abuse, drugs, violence, rape, poverty and shitty living conditions forming an intrinsic part of everyday life.
DOOKOOM is a middle finger defiantly raised in the face of oppression - a giant ‘fuck you’ to poverty, hatred, fear and all forms of unwanted control. DOOKOOM are outsiders - a mixture of cultures and backgrounds - a perverted vision of the ‘rainbow nation’. They are a voice that speaks truth to power but they are no self-righteous role models. Their songs are full of references to their own human weaknesses; lust, addiction, violence, dysfunctional relationships and self-hatred.
Anger is a powerful motivating factor in DOOKOOM’s music. It’s an anger that must be expressed to address injustice - it’s defiance - but it’s also a form of catharsis, a spiritual cleansing. DOOKOOM believe that anger is a positive emotion because it creates energy and action. They refuse to sit back and be told what to do or how to think.
As well as ‘NO!’ being a statement of defiance, it is also an abbreviation for ‘number’, a reference to the notorious numbers gangs in the South African prison system (26, 27, 28). The number control the crime world on the Cape Flats and their influence is everywhere. NO! is also a reference to the refusal to be a just a ‘number’ in a system.
Musically, the album is raw, unfiltered, menacing Cape Flats street rap delivered over an aggressive, apocalyptic onslaught of hardcore, industrial strength beats with sonic stains of grime, trap and sexy pervert pop, all held together with a don’t-give-a-fuck punk attitude.
DOOKOOM loosely identify themselves as a hip hop crew, but their music is more about emotion and energy than genre. They have been called ‘noise rap’, ‘afro-punk’, ‘industrial hip hop’, ‘grimy trap-hop’, and perhaps best, ‘the most vile, common gangsta shit’. Maybe all or none of those are right, but their music is a wild emotional ride which is not for the fainthearted. Their intensity and the often-uncomfortable subject matter they deal with doesn’t make for easy listening but, if you’re up for the challenge, you will be rewarded with a ferociously unrestrained cathartic journey into the unknown.