Radio hits - Music radio channel the best music Master KG March 23, 2021

March 23, 2021 - 2225 views

"Jerusalema" is a song by South African DJ and record producer Master KG featuring South African vocalist Nomcebo. The upbeat gospel-influenced house song was initially released on 29 November 2019 after it garnered positive response online, with a music video following on 21 December. It was later included on Master KG's second album of the same title, released in January 2020.[1] A single edit was released on streaming services on 10 July 2020,[2] after it went viral during mid-2020, garnering international reaction due to the #JerusalemaChallenge. A remix featuring Nigerian singer Burna Boy was released on 19 June 2020. It has since reached number one in Belgium, Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland, while peaking in the top ten of multiple other European countries. A second remix featuring Venezuelan singer Micro TDH and Colombian singer Greeicy was released on 17 September 2020.[3]


The song was recorded on 11 August 2019, and after being posted on social media, it received positive responses from fans. Master KG said he called "his sister Nomcebo to come so we can finish the song". The finished version was then uploaded to YouTube in October and officially released on 29 November.[4][5] It surpassed one million views in its first week.[4] The official music video was released on 21 December 2019.

[6] After it went viral, the song was released to streaming services on 10 July by Elektra France and Warner France.[2] Upon its release, some deemed it a "tavern" song. Master KG stated: "Some call it tavern music, and I said, 'It's okay, wait and let me show what tavern music can do to the world'".[7] During late 2019, it had become a favourite in South African clubs.[8] Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, Master KG had travelled to Portugal to promote his album, and said he put more emphasis on the song's dance during his shows.[9]


Although it has "religious-leaning" lyrics, "Jerusalema" is an upbeat[8] disco-house track[4][10][11] containing "deep", "spiritual",[12] gospel lyrics.[13][14] Lyrically, as noted by OkayAfrica's Rufaro Samanga, "it speaks about Jerusalem being the home of many religious believers". The remix sees Burna Boy incorporating his signature Afrobeats style,[8] singing part of his verse in isiZulu, while emphasizing the unity of African artists.[14]

Critical reception

The song received largely positive reviews from music critics. Zkhiphani's Mandisa Ntsindee opined that the song "has reached heights no other South African song has ever in the past", calling Nomcebo a "powerhouse vocalist" and said "the South African music scene has been preparing for this exact kind of exposure with a song that is fiercely ours".[12] Music in Africa named it "without [a] doubt" one of the biggest South African house songs of 2020, with the magazine's Ano Shumba stating "Nomcebo has cemented her presence on the local house music scene".[11] Rufaro Samanga of OkayAfrica called the remix "a straight banger".[8]


Master KG's Spotify followers increased to over 1.2 million following the rising popularity of the song.[6] Various covers performed around the world with different instruments and sung in a variety of languages have also been uploaded on YouTube, attracting their own popularity.[13][9]

Dance challenge

An accompanying dance challenge, attributed to a group of Angolan friends performing the choreography in a candid video,[9] helped the song go viral online.[15] The #JerusalemaChallenge, which has been compared to the Macarena,[16] spawned dance videos from across many countries, including the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Spain, France, Jamaica, Canada, the United States and Israel, including in Jerusalem itself.[6][9][13][17] In Germany, workers paid tribute to Berlin’s Tegel Airport by dancing to Jerusalema on the tarmac and in the now-shuttered terminal.[18][19] The Swiss Federal Office of Police challenged the Irish Garda Síochána to the Jerusalema dance challenge, which they accepted. The video was well received in the two countries with the Swiss police flying the Irish flag at their headquarters for the day.[20]

The challenge faced a major drawback when Warner Brothers began to ask for copyright compensation for using the song.[21]

Music video

The song's official music video was released onto YouTube on 21 December 2019.[6] By 27 August the video had passed 100 million views,[22] half a year later it passed already 300 million views, a rare feat for South African artists.[6]


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