How Uno July recorded and released an album in 24 hours

Originally published on the Africa Hip Hop Blog

On the 17th of November, the Cape Town-based rapper Uno July set out to record and release an album, The Zero Hour Zone LP, in 24 hours. He did it, and the album came out great. But not everything went as planned.

A short video of the events that took place on the day. (Video by Sabelo Mkhabela)
Uno July recorded 11 tracks at Red Bull Studios. (Image: Tseliso Monaheng)

While recording the adlibs to the 11th song in the afternoon at Red Bull Studios Cape Town, where he was recording the project, the power went off. He still had one more song to go. Him and his team had to improvise. A video shoot was scheduled for later when he was done recording. They decided to go shoot the video, and record the last song and do the mixing later at Cape Audio College in Observatory.

On location for the video shoot with rapper simmysimmynya. (Image: Tseliso Monaheng)

Kay Faith, the new go-to hip-hop engineer in Cape Town who worked on Uno’s previous album Uno ‘n Only, recorded and mixed the whole project. After recording, it was off to do a launch of the album at Yours Truly in Cape Town. Uno performed only one new song during his short set.

The whole album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Kay Faith. (Image: Tseliso Monaheng)

The album is one of the best releases of the year. Uno progresses with every release — Zero Hour Zoneisn’t another Uno ‘n Only. Sonically, Zero Hour Zone is the most mainstream Uno has ever gone, and what’s dope is nothing seems forced and he doesn’t lose his essence. The album features production by the likes of Psyc’ AK, DJ Skinniez, KB and a few more.

Uno July recorded one more song at Cape Audio College. (Image: Sabelo Mkhabela)

A more refined version of the album is underway, and it will feature a Reason verse which couldn’t be finalized because of some technical nitty gritties. The official artwork of the album is still yet to be revealed.

Camo, Uno July’s current manager and long-time friend. (Image: Tseliso Monaheng)

Uno July is not new to recording an album in 24 hours. He did it twice while still part of the duo Ill Skillz. In the in-depth interview below, Uno talks about how different it was to do it on his own this time around. He also talks about his relationship with the music industry, the South African Hip Hop Awards, dealing with depression, among other topics.

Listen to the Zero Hour Zone LP underneath.