DJ Lag

DJ Lag
Birth nameLwazi Asanda Gwala
Also known asKing of Gqom
Born1995/1996 (age 25–26)
Clermont, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
OriginSouth Africa
Years active2012–present
LabelsIce Drop
Goon Club Allstars

Lwazi Asanda Gwala, better known as DJ Lag [1] is a South African DJ and record producer. He is regarded as the pioneer of Gqom,[2][3][4][5][6][7] a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 2010s in Durban, South Africa.[8] In 2019, DJ Lag notably collaborated with Tierra Whack, Beyoncé, Moonchild Sanelly, Nija, Yemi Alade, and Busiswa on a track called "My Power" on Beyoncé's album, The Lion King: The Gift.[9]

Early life

With aspirations of becoming a soccer player growing up in Durban, Lag suffered an ankle injury which derailed his pursuits. His cousin, a rapper within the Durban hip hop scene at the time, then introduced him to FL Studio, on which he taught himself to produce. Following this, he began to explore DJing.[10] He went on to play his first gig at Durban's club Uhuru during a high school graduation event while he was in 10th grade. finished his Matric at located in South Africa in the Wyebank area. [11]


Releasing his first EP on Whatsapp,[12] DJ Lag began is career using methods unorthodox to Western distribution methods common in Gqom's formative years.Fans signed up on the DJ's website with the promise that an exclusive EP would be delivered to them via the mobile messaging app free of charge, with the help of Black Major, an artist management agency based in Cape Town.[12] DJ Lag's specific style is known to be focused on what local producers dubbed "uthayela" (an isiZulu word for "corrugated iron" which describes the rough timbre and hard bass-lines specifically made for listening to in club settings.[13]

Music connoisseurs who were pivotal in influencing the genre's international acclaim included the likes of South African rapper Okmalumkoolkat, Italian record label Gqom Oh owner, Malumz Kole[14] inclusive of music taste-maker and public relations liaison, Cherish Lala Mankai,[14] DJ Tira and Babes Wodumo.

In late 2016 at the age of 21, DJ Lag made his live global debut at the Unsound Festival in Poland[15][16] and finishing up at Seoul’s Cake Shop nearly a month later. Since then, he’s performed at Afropunk New York City and secured a residency at RinseFM. He also embarked on a four-part worldwide tour called #GqomIsThePresent[17] and was featured on BBC Radio 1, including shows by Diplo and Benji B, with a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix set hosted by Pete Tong. DJ Lag was a featured speaker at the 2019 Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).[18]

In 2019, he released a 6 track EP entitled UHURU under Diplo's American record label, Good Enuff Records, under the Mad Decent umbrella. This album paid homage to DJ Lag's hometown club of the same name, which acted as a monumental meeting place for Gqom producers such as Rudeboyz and Naked Boyz, to try out new techniques on larger audiences.[13] In 2019, DJ Lag began to curate and host his own event, called Something For Clermont [19] where new acts are encouraged to experiment with sounds contributing to the evolution of the genre, the first of which was held in partnership with music broadcaster Boiler Room.[13]


My Power from Beyonce's The Lion King: The Gift

DJ Lag co-produced a track that was initially released as Drumming alongside percussionist Moses Boyd, which was later chosen by Beyonce to form part of the collaborative album, The Lion King: The Gift, which featured American rapper Tierra Whack, Busiswa, Yemi Alade and Moonchild Sanelly.[20][21][22][23]

Anywhere We Go with Shekhinah

DJ Lag and Shekhinah collaborated on Anywhere We Go as part of an adidas campaign. The accompanying visuals feature dancer Thami Njoko, and was directed by music video director Kyle Lewis.[24]

Going Modd with Epic B

DJ Lag worked with New York Flex Dance Music pioneer Epic B[25] on the track Going Modd on UK label Swing Ting.

Switz Music Video with Choreographer Mette Towley

Mette Towley, who also appeared in the music video for N.E.R.D. and Rihanna’s Lemon, approached DJ Lag to work on Switz in 2019.[26] Shot and directed in New York by Bon Duke, Towley’s interpretation of the track is "her response to the feeling that dance, and its ability to act as a mode of communication, needed a serious revisit."[27]

Dancers included Orlando Zane, Hunter Jr., Emily Paige, Frankie Gordils “Francoth3artist”, Rudy Legros, Shari Clarke, Ros Hayes, Leal Zielinksa, Ekow Nunoo, Brown Kato, Watz Hunter and Valentine Nicholi White.[27]

Steam Rooms with Okzharp

Steam Rooms, which takes its name from the local nickname for dance clubs in Durban, features South African rhythms with a blend of UK club styles brought on by producer Okzharp, creating a musical dialogue between the two regions' styles.[28][29]

Selected discography

EPs and singles

  • 2016: DJ Lag 12" EP (Goon Club Allstars)
  • 2016: Ice Drop EP (Goon Club Allstars)
  • 2017: Trip to New York (Black Major) – originally via Whatsapp
  • 2018: Jika single with DJ Vumar and Biggie (Ice Drop Records)
  • 2018: 3 Step Culo single (Goon Club Allstars)
  • 2018: Stampit 12" EP (Goon Club Allstars)
  • 2018: Going Modd ft Epic B (Swing Ting Records)
  • 2019: Nyusa single with Okzharp (Hyperdub)
  • 2019: Steam Rooms with Okzharp 12" EP (Hyperdub)
  • 2019: Uhuru EP (Good Enuff)
  • 2019: Anywhere We Go single with Shekhinah (Parametric Records)


  • 2018: The Originators by various artists limited edition vinyl 12" split – "Daisies" by DJ Lag (Gqom Oh!)
  • 2019: WKC012 by Dmtrs We Flaco limited edition 7" single – "Imaginery Drumming" by Heviweit and DJ Lag (self-released)
  • 2019: The Lion King: The Gift by Beyoncé – "My Power" by Tierra Whack, Beyoncé, Moonchild Sanelly, Nija, DJ Lag, Yemi Alade, Busiswa (Parkwood Entertainment LLC, Columbia, Sony Music Entertainment)


  • 2018: "Down Low – DJ Lag Remix Extended, Weird Together feat. Moonchild Sanelly"


  1. ^ Kuta, Phendu (interview); Mahlangu, Bantu (photography) (12 August 2019). "DJ Lag On His Current Tour, Latest EP and More". Unlabelled Magazine.
  2. ^ Angbeletchy, Celine; Cassinis, Tommaso (images) (11 November 2016). "DJ Lag: Godfather of GQOM". GRIOT.
  3. ^ Sawers, Claire (January 2017). "It's all about drug-free fun for Durban's young gqom master". The Wire. 395: 16.
  4. ^ Moloto, Mpho (27 August 2018). "#ManCrushMonday: Gqom pioneer DJ Lag". City Buzz.
  5. ^ Kameir, Rawiya (6 September 2018). "Listen to a new FADER Mix by DJ Lag". The FADER.
  6. ^ D’Souza, Shaad; Burey, Mikey (illustrated by) (10 December 2018). "DJ Lag's Noisey Mix Shows How Fast Gqom Moves". Noisey: Music by VICE. VICE.
  7. ^ Ogunrombi, Foyin (words); Owen, Travys (photography) (26 June 2019). "Anywhere DJ Lag Goes: DJ Lag Interview". The Way Of Us, Superbalist.
  8. ^ Cliff, Aimee (5 June 2015). "What the foq is gqom?". Dazed.
  9. ^ Editor, A. D. C. (25 July 2019). "Durban's DJ Lag Produces "My Power" On Beyoncé's New Lion King-inspired Album, The Gift". maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "DJ Lag Interview – The Plug". Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  11. ^ johnclaude (2019-09-02). "DJ LAG". Africa Is Now Magazine. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  12. ^ a b "Who needs a record deal when you've got WhatsApp". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  13. ^ a b c "DJ Lag Pays Homage to Uhuru, a Durban Club That Played a Huge Role in the Birth of Gqom, in His New EP". OkayAfrica. 2019-08-30. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  14. ^ a b Weichenrieder, Phillip (19 April 2016). "Gqom-Musik aus Südafrika: Townships calling".
  15. ^ "Unsound Kraków 2019: DJ Lag (ZA)". Unsound. 2019.
  16. ^ McNair, Ian (2016-06-01). "DJ Lag to Play Unsound Fest in Poland". Platform. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  17. ^ "DJ LAG on The Global Rise of Gqom". Red Bull. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  18. ^ "Speaker DJ Lag (ZA)". Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). 2019.
  19. ^ "Get down to the dark, tribal sounds of DJ Lag's "Switz"". Bubblegum Club. 2019-04-19. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  20. ^ "DJ Lag co-produces track for Beyoncé on Lion King soundtrack". 2019-07-18. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  21. ^ "DJ Lag talks about producing 'My Power' and working with Beyoncé". Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  22. ^ "Beyoncé enlists DJ Lag for Lion King: The Gift track 'My Power'". FACT Magazine. 2019-07-18. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  23. ^ "DJ Lag Interview: On Beyonce's 'Lion King: The Gift' Album & Taking South African Music Worldwide". Billboard. 2019-07-31. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  24. ^ Mayne, Jane (2019-05-18). "DJ Lag and Shekhina Anywhere We Go". WeekendSpecial. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  25. ^ "DJ LAG & EPIC B MAKE A 'DURBAN x BROWNSVILLE' CLASSIC". AFROPUNK. 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  26. ^ "DANCER METTE TOWLEY HELPS REIMAGINE DJ LAG'S "SWITZ"". AFROPUNK. 2019-03-14. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  27. ^ a b "Watch DJ Lag & Choreographer Mette Towley Video For The 'Switz'". Illsociety Magazine. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  28. ^ "DJ Lag and Okzharp join forces for Steam Rooms EP". FACT Magazine. 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  29. ^ "Review: DJ Lag & Okzharp - Steam Rooms EP". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2020-06-08.

External links