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hat a year 2016 has been. A-Reece and Nasty-C were definitely the highlight for HipHop in South Africa, at least for me. What those young boys are doing for Hip-Hop is amazing, beyond words. Kwesta also deserves a mention too, he got the streets on lock with his amazing performances and a well put together album. I watched a few of his performances and they were always a jump, especially when ‘Mayibabo’ came in. Stogie T, as Boitumelo ‘Tumi’ Molekane is now known, released a self-titled album and it was a good balance for the overall game, especially with the turn-up sound of late. The streets say Emtee killed Stogie T on a track, haha. Who would have thought? Speaking of Emtee, what a year the young man has had. Even though he came second on that MTV Base Hottest List, I still feel he was the best achieving Hip-Hop artist of 2016. Cassper Nyovest cut his ponytail, Riky Rick rocked a doek, Spokenpriestess was nominated as a ‘King of Gauteng’, Gigi LaMayne and Rashid Kay are apparently dating, Shotgunflava shook the streets, and the game is no longer about Cassper Nyovest vs AKA. I, personally, am happy for MarazA, he deserves all the success he has got since he released ‘Gwan’. With all the young boys like Aewon Wolf, Lastee, Tellaman, Frank Casino, and Yung Swiss, to name but a few, dropping hot music, it feels like this is going to be a good year and we will be here showcasing all the talent Mzansi has to offer. On a personal note, I want to send a message to Notshi. Dawg, this is your year. There is no better time than now for you to blow up. The game is in a state that needs and appreciates dope emcees and the whole country know you are that guy. Work hard dawg, get over whatever has been holding you down. Rap circles around these weak rappers. Claim your thrown and go down as the best Motswakolista to have ever done it. You have it in you. We need you. The game needs you. Otherwise, here’s how I have viewed the game in 2016: Song of the Year:
JimmyWiz – Return of the
New Old School; Mayo deserves
a mention too.
Album of the Year: Solo - Dreams.B.Plenty Vote of Confidence: PdotO for Devilz Playground Artist of the Year:
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PUT YOUR BEST EMAIL FORWARD! - TIPS ON HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR MUSIC TO RADIO STATIONS
By #MusicUnscripted We’re living in the internet era and music is growing at a speed unfathomable to many of us. With this growth comes the increasing confidence in being an independent artist as more and more musicians are finding that they can do many things for themselves given a little research and information on how to do it. However, for some reason, it seems that cries of gatekeepers blocking new up and coming artists out of their station playlists are only getting louder. So, what is the problem? And how can you put yourself in a better position to be at least heard by your ideal radio station’s compiler? Let’s start with the basics. Your music must be well mixed, mastered and CENSORED. Please do not make the assumption that there are radio stations that will edit your music for you. Always send a clean version of your music to every platform. The only shows I know of that play uncensored music are DJ Capital’s The Capital Rap Up on CliffCentral and Cape Town’s Headwarmaz on Bush Radio thus far. Therefore, always prepare a radio edit for your singles. Words to edit include “shit”, “fuck”, “bitch”, “pussy’, “ass”, “motherfucker” and “nigger/nigga” (particularly on national radio stations). It goes without saying that radio stations differ, therefore you need to conduct research on what the requirements for each station are when editing your music. However, derogatory terms like “faggot” and other religious slurs might want to be avoided too. Thus far, vernacular cusses seem to be handled much more lightly in comparison to cusses in English which most people can hear. To be safe, always ask what is acceptable and what is not at indigenous language stations. What exactly do I send with my song? After cleaning up your song, you need to send it through but you’re confused about what exactly a compiler requires to accompany your song. Let’s dispel a few misconceptions first before we go any further. I know the idea of sending your entire life story to a compiler is appealing to you, but put yourself in the shoes of someone who receives a 4 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | ISSUE 7
minimum of 100 emails a day and imagine them having to read every single biography sent to them before they even get to listen to the music. Does that sound fair? Don’t send your artist biography in the email body unless you have previously communicated with the person on the receiving end to expect that, otherwise you can attach it as a matter of reference. Artist bios are very useful for presenters who will interview you because they need to know your background a little more. What the compiler needs is a short bio in the email contextualising the song and explaining why it is important. You will for instance say, “This is the lead single by new artist King Sensei titled “Poach” taken off his well-received mixtape Kata One”. That is all you really need to say to the compiler in your email opening. Who this is, what it is, and why it’s important per say. However, the most important things you need are your artist name, track title, publishers (which could also be your record label), and your ISRC code. An artwork is really not necessary, unless it is embedded onto your song. It is advisable to have a metadata attachment which will include your song length, composer and writer details just in case those are required too. You can by all means include your metadata in the email body instead of filling the email text with the genesis of your career. Email etiquette With the most important things out of the way, there’s only space for what I’d call accessories that will help make a good impression. Simple things like relevant subject heads and a polite, professional greeting in your mail. Have a clear subject title like, “Submission: Artist X – Song Name” or “MUSIC SUBMISSION: Artist X” and “Artist X Interview Request”. It needs to be clear what the purpose of the email is before the receiver can click to open it. Although you are a rapper, do not make the mistake of addressing formal matters pertaining to your music with street slang. Keep it as clean as possible. After greeting, make sure you have the person’s name right, and if you don’t know them, resort to a neutral greeting like “Good afternoon”, “Hi” etc. If you are submitting to a station
music address like music@[radiostationname].co.za you can say “Hi [radio station]” or “Hi team [radio station]”. It really is all semantics but the key thing is to have a polite, neutral and professional approach. Of course the usual spell check your email, proof read your facts and all that counts as standard procedure. A big mistake many artists do when mailing multiple radio stations or contacts at once is putting everyone on the same email. It would be best if you blind copy people added to the mail so that at least each recipient does not see all the other people’s names and email addresses in your mail. Tempted as you might be, it’s a bad look to have a long industry contact list visible to everyone when submitting your music. Lastly, if there are any attachments, don’t forget to add them. It is embarrassing when you realise that after all the rewriting, spell checking and cleaning up of the email you forgot to add the actual song. A trick you can use is perhaps start by attaching what needs to be there and then you start writing, that way should you be very eager in sending your well-constructed email then everything is intact.
desired radio station and/or compiler is only the beginning of a process to getting your music playlisted. For some, it goes fairly fast, while for others it can be prolonged. If you can ensure that you do your best the first time and send a positive message that will help your case, you’re one score up. The next thing you will need to do is exercise extreme patience while being simultaneously persistent. So, give the compiler space to get your email, listen to the song and perhaps respond before you start calling him/her 3 times a day. A safe window period to follow up is a week later to confirm if your email was received and then another week later to get feedback on its progress. If you communicate with the compiler frequently your name will become more familiar to them slowly over time. Creating a relationship with a compiler and/or personalities connected to getting your music playlisted and applying for interviews requires a whole other article. However, this is how you can put your best email forward when submitting your hot new single soon.
What about physical submissions? Although many compilers and/or radio stations are using the email system, there are instances where you are required to submit a physical CD. This will usually be on some national radio stations and with library companies that bank music content for future use. There’s a very big upside in physical submissions, depending on whether you get to meet the compiler or not, because in that way there is a face attached to the name and a matter of urgency, so to say, can be attached to your submission. However, this can also bear no fruit if your approach is wrong and the compiler adds your CD to another pile in his office. A good way to make an impression would be a well packaged CD. An effort to print a cover for your CD always sends a good message. For instance, if you’re submitting a single, the single artwork could be the CD cover. Then, on the reverse of the cover your details could be added. I would advise that you mark your CD as well, because should your cover get lost and your CD is unmarked then there is no identifying who is being listened to, let alone that your CD will be sessioned at the next music committee meeting. Key things to print onto your CD are: 1) artist name and track title 2) publisher / record label 3) ISRC code and 4) your contact details – a number and/or email address. With this you are completely safe should your cover and your CD be separate from one another. It’s understandable that some artists cannot afford to print covers or imprint their CD’s. Regardless of this, by no means should you send in a CD wrapped in paper, tissue and any other material than a CD casing. Also, writing on your CD with a pen and/or marker looks poorly presented so rather email instead. Think of it this way, you are in competition with other artists who have well packaged products therefore the bar is already set for everyone else. It does not have to be world class graphics on gloss paper, but a neat and presentable effort will surely earn you respect for taking yourself seriously and at least trying to meet the standard. So far, these are the most important things you need to know for your submission. Getting the music to your ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 5
SOMETIMES THE WOMAN IS THE KING Written By: Sovereign Gina
he hip-hop industry has been curated as the most male dominated industry of all time! In truth, women have always played major roles contributing to its growth but somehow, they’ve been in the “background” per say. For this reason, I’ve always advocated to appreciating great women in hip-hop.
Limpopo gem, Precious Nkadimeng also known as “The Spokenpriestress” is the king deserving of our appreciation. Spokenpriestess is best describable as a media mogul with various occupancies such as content producer, media liaising, MC/presenter and a reporter. She’s got quite an impressive resume! She’s worked at Tshwane FM (then TUT Topstereo FM), 5 FM, Kaya FM and presently at UJ FM. She has also worked at various publication platforms such as the TUT Life student newspaper, Jala publications (Black Diamonds Magazine) and Hype Magazine as a freelance writer. Spokenpriestess was always a creative intrigued by poetry, sketching and music. To nurture and hone her skills, she’d attended musical theatre classes, performed with the TUT Drama Society and joined a poetry society as well. I like taking everyone down memory lane so as usual I asked what she was listening to that led her to fall in love with hip-hop? “Mm! I CAN’T REMEMBER.” “Possibly Eminem, Hidden Force or Skwatta Kamp. I was born in the 90’s after all so I only caught on much later” she continues as she reflects. “I swear my love for hip-hop started with the dance culture though! I was a hip-hop dancer in high school before I even knew I could do radio. So, it’s fair to say I first fell in love with hip-hop through pop-locking and “sequences”.” Her radio career debuted in her first year at TUT back in 2009 when the late Jack Phrost urged her to audition for TUT Top Stereo (Tshwane FM). The success of this audition was the beginning of her career in entertainment. She’d since grown exponentially in her career and worked with the likes of DJ C-Live at 5FM on the Hip-Hop Power Nights and other numerous radio stations mentioned above. Presently, she has her own hip-hop show on UJ FM, The Forum (formely known as #16BarsRELOADED) that promotes 100% local hip-hop and is also a content manager for one of the greatest South African hip-hop platforms, SlikourOnLife.
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Her media liaising career, however, has a rather different beginning. “I was roped in by someone who believed in me to assist his artist(s) and that’s pretty much where it all started. I was still on 5FM’s Hip-Hop Power Nights and had just been introduced to some links for Ginger Trill and after putting him on, his then manager Miso Tini asked me to do more work within TinismDotcom, an independent record label. I’ve helped Ginger Trill, Ayanda Jiya, Flex Boogie, J. Smallz and Kid Tini. I’ve done a lot of work with other rappers but I wasn’t their managers as such, I was just passing their music onto other stations, helping them connect with other presenters and compilers etc.“ Amongst her numerous accolades is her first 2014 SAHHA award for best radio hip-hop show, then an MTN radio awards nomination for Best Night-time Show in the campus category and in 2016 being SAHHA nominated as King Of Gauteng! She shared her feelings on this nomination, “I haven’t had time to internalise everything but it means that my work is speaking for itself I guess. I know that I’m a girl and all, but that just makes it all the more cooler to be the first ever female to be put up against dudes in their forte. It just goes to show that it has nothing to do with who you are but what you do that speaks volumes. It’s an honour really! It’s madness. Impressive, if I say so myself! ”
“MY DREAM IS FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE RAPS UNFORTUNATELY. IT’S A MUSIC BUSINESS” This young phenomena’s contribution to hip-hop goes beyond the mic and print. She founded a music conference called Music Unscripted aiming to establish a platform for information exchange between those artists on task to break into the commercial scene and those artists and/ or personalities credited to be moguls in entertainment. “Music Unscripted came about as a solution for the lack of knowledge, or rather, approach that we noticed with a lot of upcoming artists. We noticed that it seems a lot of them don’t know how to present themselves professionally, where to knock or how to knock, so let’s help them
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with the information! No one but 16BarsRELOADED is chairing the conference. In the past two years of running Sheila Afari has helped with one leg through PR and venue sponsoring, and we’ve had B82 Productions, a black owned sound company, provide the sound for us.” Through this conference she’s worked with respectable names like Nothende, Beatmochini, Maraza, DJ C-Live, Refiloe Ramogase, DJ Sabby, Slikour, Tebello Motsoane, Monde Dube, Julian Kubel, Miso Tini, SAMRO and RISA representatives. She’d been so influential that other media colleagues went this route to also taking up the initiative to chair similar conferences to share information. Spokenpriestess is a young lady with great achievements. One would imagine how challenging it could be to strike a balance between work and still making time for academics. I was curious to know, what is that one thing that remained her motivation and helped her to find balance? “Graduating!” she chuckles. “For the longest time I felt like a loser for struggling to finish my studies but that was owed to something I struggle with in my personal life. I started feeling dumb and confused about why I couldn’t finish my years. Then I started fighting. The thoughts of uselessness motivated me to fight to finish. I flipped the script and focused on graduation. At some point in my life if you ever asked me what my life goals were, it would only be “to graduate”. That forced me to fight so much! To combat the loser label I had given myself and to make sure I finish. Everything else didn’t matter. I wasn’t even aware of how “great” half the things I was doing were, I don’t think I even cared because all that mattered to me was to graduate. So here I am! Sometimes it’s not even about finding a balance, it’s just about doing what you have to do. If it’s work, do it! If you must study, open the book! If you must apply for a job, do it! It’s not a balance, it’s making sure that all you need to do is done.” Just recently we’ve picked up on Spokenpriestess documenting her life through photography and sharing with us on social media platforms what she was/is going through, ranging from her mother’s passing and how she’s been coping since, to her daring and embracing her flaws. The documenting is so raw, unpolished and not candy coated. We’ve witnessed her progressing to great confidence too! She explains what is the intention or story behind vividly expressing herself so honestly in the open or public by saying, “There really is no end game nor intention with that. In our age, social media is an extension of our personas or a space where people live out their desires publicly. It’s also a platform of some sort of gratification, an outlet. I guess I don’t have eyebrows on fleek, fancy brunch dates with the bae or I’m not balling so I share my truth and reality. Without those pictures, there is nothing else of me for you to see. I am that person I post about. Those feelings are what I’m experiencing at that time and I can’t pretend otherwise. Otherwise I’d have to deactivate my social media accounts and come back when I have red bottoms and shiny jewellery to floss.” She giggles as she continues, “So that is me! I think it’s also okay to be normal, to hurt, to cry, to not like ourselves etc. In retrospect, we all feel like that
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at one point or another and social media has created this bubble of perfection so much so that, if you aren’t thick, a yellow-bone or have a perfect weave you can’t fleek. My approach to social media is realistic. A reminder that normal life is okay. I will post myself in a taxi because that’s my mode of transport at present. I will post my pj’s because most of us wear them. My Instagram bio reads “here’s to the village child, the dreamers, and mostly to portraying the life of a normal South African” because in reality that’s all I am. Another citizen just trying to get by. I’m certain a majority of people can relate to that.” In conclusion, she shares with us her dream for South African hip-hop, “My dream is for people to understand that it’s not always about the raps unfortunately. It’s a music business and if you want to make an income from your passion you need to learn business acumen or find a way to turn your passion into a conducive earning stream. I also think unity will take us the long way. Imagine if the whole industry went to the department of arts and culture to raise some points as opposed to a handful of artists, do you think they’d ignore the whole industry? Or if we all threw a concert together and united the fans and all the camps, how much profit, sponsorships and media coverage would a gig of such magnitude get? I think we need to learn to work together, pull our resources together so that we can be in command of our own product instead of relying on outsiders who are not part of the culture to pump money and infrastructure into it. We have the brains, the passion and most importantly the inside information to build agencies and all we need to make hip hop a multibillion rand industry BY OURSELVES. One day, I hope we can work on that.” This is our hip-hop royalty!
Fun Facts What’s that one thing that we don’t know about Spokenpriestess? She laughs out loud and responded, “I’m very childlike. An example is my love for life size fluffy toys. I have Po (Teletubbies) and Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh) for now. Anyone out there who loves me, I need a Winnie the Pooh and a Mini Mouse or a Ninja Turtle. BIG ONES!” Here’s another fun factor, she featured on the MTV Base 2016 SA Hottest MC as a judge on the panel sharing the round table with Rashid Kay, Slikour, Amu, Proverb, and DJ Capital.
Catch Up With Spokenpriestess!
Social Media Networks Facebook: Spokenpriestess Precious Twitter: @Spokenpriestess Instagram: @Spokenpriestess
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THE TRENDY WHITE BOY THAT’S PASSIONATE ABOUT MUSIC
compare me to someone who is of that level is great and is amazing but I am Chad at the end of the day and happy to be Chad!”. From his single ‘Hola’ to the music he drops lately, you can feel the enormous growth from just pure raps to a more melodic, commercial and catchy vibe. On a track titled ‘Panties to the Side’ from his debut album Chad hooked up with Locnville and the two are planning on working on a joined album a move which Chad sees as an opportunity to grow both brands, he said: “I had met f you remember well, there was a white rapper who my brothers Locnville through our Publisher John Fishlock blew to fame with a Motswako influenced song titled and we were pretty much homies from when we met! The ‘Hola’ featuring that dude who just cut off his ponytail. Plan for 2017 is a collaboration album with Locnville called Remember him? Chad Da Don was his name and the ‘CB presents ...taking it to new levels’ and making better vibe he brought was flames, as he is now. He did warn music and just keep growing The Chad Brand. It will be a us on the song though, that was just a warm-up as soon big year”. after he was getting ‘EFT’ with Brian Soko. Hailing from Pretoria, Donovan Chad Mansoor always seems to be a When asked about what he can change about the rap game master of all trades, from excelling in sports and obtaining Chad said “I would definitely change the people who are national colours in his teen years to becoming the great messing up the culture, people who buy awards. We all musician he is today. “Yes, I was an athlete growing up. I working for the same thing but we need to stay true and represented South Africa Under 14 at the FIFA World Cup protect Hip-Hop and its culture”. in Switzerland and managed to take home the gold. I have a huge love for golf as well” says Chad.
Chad’s support has always been from home and if you spot him at the mall you might see him with his mother and he is not ashamed to admit that he is a mom’s boy: “My Mom is my biggest supporter she believes in me and I’m so blessed to have someone like her. She supports the vision. We came a long way together and we’ve seen hard times so the bond is really tight! I’m a Moms boy (says with a smile)”.
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“MY MOM IS MY BIGGEST SUPPORTER SHE BELIEVES IN ME AND I’M SO BLESSED TO HAVE SOMEONE LIKE HER”
Some of the values that Chad has learnt is tenacity to never give up and to keep on keeping on as the greatest character is built in the hardest time. With music, Chad was able to find a way of dealing with things in his life, especially with what he calls a bad decision with his former recording deal that went wrong. Chad was asked to share one of the cruellest thing in the music career and personal life he said “I think we all hit a low through the journey sometimes but that should bring the best out of you. I made some bad choices in terms of signing to an artist that never had my best interest at heart. Not to mention any names but I stood my ground and let my emotion out on a track which I feel is the best thing to do. You feel the music more that way”. The song he refers to here is ‘Chad Is Better’ which is in his debut album. Not being a person to run his mouth nor get involved in Twitter rants, Chad lets everything out on the music and on this one he sure did let some of the demons out. “Haha… yeah, I spoke about my life and really let it all out on that album which I really wanted. I had to relive a lot of hard times to get that emotion out but we did it!” says Chad about the process of making this body of work.
It is clear that since gaining the attention of the Hip-Hop community with his hard-hitting lyrics and unmistakable flow, in which he reveals personal struggles and an upbringing that ultimately saw him being held hostage by his father, Chad has since found atonement in his new label ContraBanned, founded by fellow collaborators Andrew and Brian Chaplin of Locnville. This move has since seen Chad progress to a more versatile sound which includes quick fire punchlines delivered in melodic rhythms. This growth gave birth to a beautiful album titled which has not hugely disappointed sales wise: “The Book of Chad is very close to Gold. We wanted to really tell my story and inspire. We took the album to the hood we made noise. It was my first album and I feel like I’ve grown so much from that, but still Chad is better!”
When he came up, Chad always seemed to draw similarities from Eminem and yet this does not detour him from being himself. He says about the comparison: “growing up Eminem had a huge influence on me and inspired me to wanna rap. Who didn’t listen to him? I feel like to
In concluding the interview Chad took time to thank his fans: “Thank you for supporting me. Dream big and know anything is possible if you believe, much love”.
Facebook: Chad Da Don Twitter: @ChadDaDon Soundcloud: Chad Da Don
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BEATMOCHINI, CATEGORICALLY A GENIUS
eatmochini, loosely translated as Beat Machine, is exactly that, a beat machine. Over the years he has become to be one of the most trusted and respected music producers in the country. “Categorically a genius” is how he is defined by his peer and colleague N’veigh. Beatmochini is known amongst the music industry as a producer, sound engineer, DJ, and an activist cementing his art in the African soil with his kwaito infused Hip-Hop sound. His versatility is hard to ignore as he also taps in different genres like jazz, soul and house. Even though many might not be familiar with his work background, Beatmochini has done a lot of work for many artists. He helped JR build his sound before he came out with ‘Gata le nna’ and FlexBoogie’s brand was built with his assistance and had a smash hit ‘Thwantsha monwana’. Showcasing his versatility, he also helped build the brand of the RnB singer Cici, then called BK, with whom he released a song called ‘Song for daddy’ and he helped built the Afro-Jazz award winning brand for Tribute ‘Birdie’ Mboweni producing songs like ‘Coffee’ and ‘Ndinjenje’. The 36-year-old also groomed numerous artists and musicians like Vic from a group MUZART, Skillo, The Band Academy and many more. Now, you are schooled. But, do not drop that pen just yet. Beatmochini might not be famous, but he surely made and helped a couple of names existing in the industry that are more famous. He is your producer’s favourite producer. Beatmochini got his name from a rapper named Inta who gave him the name Beatmachine. He explains: “without knowing that I will call my company Beatmachine music group and later, I use the same name but put it in my own lingo - as Beatmochini. I’m a musical workaholic. Therefore, to people, it means they most definitely gonna hear something different. To me it means I’m gonna outwork my previous work”. Beatmochini has been a music producer for almost two decades now. He has also been a rapper, under the Trompie alias, and recording engineer for his uncle’s choir, where all this greatness began. Beatmochini spoke about the differences between Trompie and Beatmochini: “Trompie is becoming more relaxed as a normal guy at home ‘cos the Beatmochini brand has now taken over as the workhorse for the persona. Trompie was tired explaining himself of how his name came about, although that’s his formal name, and Beatmochini had to just take over”. Beatmochini finds his production inspiration by playing with music algorithms, friends, family and everything that is positive in life. ByLwansta on Beatmochini: The first email I got from Beatmochini had a handful of tasks in it being delegated,
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I wasn’t at all overwhelmed but I immediately knew this man means business, he works quick and clearly trusts his gut feeling and experience. From that point, every other bit of digital communication communicated that Mochini is a man who also appreciates an almost systematic order, which is, funny enough, contrasted by the warmth and personality of his music, I’ve always felt like it’s hard to be both organized and creative, but Beatmochini is exactly that, and it’s something I really respect. When we spoke over the phone, I didn’t sense the “this man means business”, the “systematic order”, in his voice I could feel the “warmth and personality of his music”, contrary to popular belief, he’s actually really human. Born Stephen B Letsike Jr., Beatmochini as an activist has seen him attend entertainment marches and being vocal about artists and producer rights. He gets involved in workshops that he either creates or gets invited to as a speaker. He spoke about the importance of musical education in the game and what he is hoping to achieve with the seminars that he hosts: “8 out of 10 producers know the theory and practical of music and how to apply it, yet you find 6 out of 10 that really attend music production classes can’t really understand the practical, but the theory. By hosting these workshops/seminars, patrons get to experience the work put out live in action”. Beatmochini says that the three attributes that make a successful artist, and most importantly long lasting financial wealth, are “Love, Passion, and Strategy”. Beatmochini’s highlight of 2016 was a sync deal of a song he produced for Khuli Chana called ‘Money’. “This was the most slept on song when it got released, but now people love it due to always hearing it on radio and DSTV ads” he explains. In 2017 he will be looking into clinching a few more deals behind the scene and dropping his longawaited album. “The debut album has been long coming. I don’t have a suitable name, release date nor single yet” says Beatmochini. Going forward he says he hopes to have a similar Dr Dre type situation where one cannot be faulted to fail. When asked as to how he would like to be remembered he says: “Remember all the things mankind can do that machines can’t do. Because there is/was a man that could, means you can do it too. That is how he would like to be remembered”. Beatmochini recently announced on social media that he will be releasing the following work: March 10th EP - The Challenge EP, a Hip-Hop EP with Maliq El-Shabass, Electro Pop EP with Che Cherry, The Yoruba Experiment EP and an album which he says it has been mixed and ready to be mastered.
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THE MAKINGS OF A REAL HUSTLER
your own music? The YouTube freestyles were a way to get my name out there. It worked really well because now there are tons of people who have heard about me. Now I’m using that momentum to drive my original music. It’s been good.
Some sit and sulk about how unfair and corrupt the music industry is, especially for the young independent artists, while others hustle and live in hope that hard work can get them anywhere their imagination can. From the buzz he created through a YouTube channel, remixing local Hip-Hop songs, comes a man eager to change the world by spitting the ‘truth’ behind the mic. With the use of his heart thumping beats and transparent lyrics, he captivates audiences of all cultures and backgrounds and keeps his listeners inspired. Heating up every track with his unique fusion of Hip-Hop, RnB and electro sounds, he is definitely not to be missed.
You have been winning many competitions, performing at great events, where to from here for Jay Makopo? Yeah, cool things happened last year. From here I’m aiming to make more solid moves and partnerships, industry wise. The industry can be very unpredictable for an independent artist so I’m just focused on breaking through doors I want to get into.
It was in 2015 when his buzz was captured by the masses and he got invited to Shiz Niz where he performed his original songs, a move which undoubtedly proved to his doubters that he is not just a gimmick. 2015 seemed to be a good year for the Pretoria born rapper as he got to do parodies for YFM’s Going Buck weekly show alongside Linda Mbuso. He went on to win iRock Festival’s ‘Stage Battle’ competition in Rustenburg and also performing at Maftown Heights on the ‘New Kids on The Block’ section.
And what has #FillUpOrlandoStadium done for the Jay Makopo brand? It’s given me the attention of a lot of industry gate keepers and the general value of what I do has risen.
Fast forward, the 25-year-old Rustenburg resident has released two EPs, Suicide Kids and Suicide Kids 2, and was one of the opening acts on Cassper Nyovest’s ‘Fill Up Orlando Stadium’ in front of a fat 40,000 crowd and he continues to be a hot topic in the local Hip-Hop scene. He also continues to show off his versatility with parodies on Anele Mdoda’s radio show on 702. Ladies and gentlemen, Jay Makopo. In three words, how would you describe who Jay Makopo is? Leader, Creator, Threat. What makes Jay Makopo stand out? What makes me stand out is the purpose behind my actions. My whole life is aimed at living for something bigger than myself. This impacts everything about me, stuff I like, things I create and what I want my life to represent. What is it about music, especially Hip-Hop, that made you feel like it’s a career that you want to pursue? Hip-Hop is an art that allows you to say what you want, how you want unapologetically. It’s raw and attention grabbing. It’s also more than just music, it’s a culture which has always fascinated me. I also love the way rap uses words to communicate a message creatively. It started as a hobby for me until people started asking me how much I charge for features, gigs and beats. How has music played out for you from when you started out with your YouTube videos to making 14 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | ISSUE 7
What has been the highlight of your musical career? I have to say performing at #FillUpOrlandoStadium and they whole journey leading up to it.
You definitely have been hustling for a young minute now, are you close to where you want to be? Yeah, every year has brought me better opportunities. All people, it doesn’t matter what you do, we would like to be further along than we already are. Though I know there are people who wouldn’t want to be in the position I’m in. So, I’m balancing contentment and ambition, it’s not easy to do but that’s where I’m at. What motivates the music you make? Do you ever think about making it first for the radio? What motivates me is using music to give me a platform to speak to people about truth and life. I used think about making music that is radio friendly a lot but lately I just make music that I enjoy. Sometimes it’s radio friendly, sometimes it isn’t. What do you have in store for your fans in 2017? I have new music with an evolved sound that is very different from my last project. There is also a possible project dropping this year and maybe a concert. How much do you think a ‘best rap album’ award goes for? Haha. A lot of money. What are the three things you cannot live without? God, family and food. Music would have come fourth, I need to prioritize bruh. If Hip-Hop was a woman, which local celebrity would best resemble it? Dj Doowap, definitely DJ DOOWAP! What is it about the rap game that you think we can do without? Insecurity... the whole rap game is insecure. That’s why everyone is so shady. ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 15
SHOOTING FIRE LYRICS WITH A BIT OF FLAVOUR You might have seen it, the #TransiBars movement. Who did not though? Most importantly, who was not left in awe by the bars? And this was not for the shots that Shotgunflava fired at Khuli Chana. It was about the actual bar spitting phenomenal rolling in a transi (a car). Hailing from Tembisa, Shotgunflava has really made a name for himself as he looks to rebuild a music career that started way back in 2008 and saw him do a song titled ‘Never Stop’ which was hosted by ‘Can Do’ in 2015. This is the same song that got Amanda Du-Pont crazy and posting a video on Instagram urging people to download the song because “it’s hot”. Shotgunflava was also part of a music group called RazorKutt with whom he was the finalist of the ‘MTN8 last muso standing’ competition in 2013 with their song titled ‘MTN8 Anthem’. Born Itumeleng Mosadi, Shotgunflava was a real talk of social media in 2016 through his ‘freestyle’ series titled TransiBars which saw him release homemade videos on Facebook, gunning over 30,000 views. It was this feature that got the streets buzzing and soon big cooperates like Touch Central, Cliff Central, Zkhipani.com, Tru FM, 5FM and personalities such as Dj Sbu got involved to spread the news. “TransiBars has really catapulted my brand and made people aware of Shotgunflava. It has also made me realise the strength of social media, I mean being recognised by random people wherever I go is a great feeling as well as realising that people still appreciate rap and lyrics, bars. I have also been well received by a number of radio stations across the country which has been overwhelming” explains Shotgunflava. Shotgunflava is a very lyrical emcee who is passionate about different music genres from across the world and he says that the fact that he never tries to fit in onto one genre is something that separates him from other rappers; “I really do speak my mind and I’m not afraid to express myself. I am also very competitive”. A lyricist himself, he believes that lyricism still holds a place in the game because it is not everyone who wants to listen to dabbing music all the time. He does acknowledge though that since Hip-Hop has a huge following there remains a market for different styles. Shotgunflava also shared his thoughts about turn-up: “I think it’s cool for what it is; it makes perfect sense to play turn up music when you’re turning up in the club or at a party ha-ha. Music always
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evolves and right now we are in the era of turn-up music”. Continuing on the current state of Hip-Hop in the country, Shotgunflava says that the two things he would change are authenticity and originality. He explains “I feel that the game is full of followers rather than innovators. It would be lovely if everybody did not feel like they need to sound the same, same flows, same style, same beats, and same content”. As with most upcoming and independent artists, the lack of resources remains a challenge as there is a struggle of proper PR and marketing in getting music onto big platforms and getting a name out there. The 26 year old says that he tries to get around this by putting whatever little money he has into his brand, get them music to sound right and of a good quality then use the internet to push and promote his brand and music. Shotgunflava is very critical of his work and loves chilling indoors as opposed to going out. “I love good food, and I love sports” he expands. Whenever he does go out though he enjoys the attention of people stopping him to ask for a picture or just a small chit chat about Hip-Hop as well as encouraging him to keep pushing his brand of Hip-Hop and assuring him that it is still highly appreciated. Shotgunflava’s ultimate ambition in the music industry is being able to make a huge impact and win awards through the music he makes. In 2017 Shotgunflava’s objective is to continue growing his brand as well as releasing good music, shoot good videos and push the product as far as possible. Shotgunflava says that he will not be wasting anytime with dropping mixtapes and he is going straight for the album. He says: “you can expect a Hip-Hop album that is exactly that, a Hip-Hop album with good content, good music, lyrics as well as fun tracks. The overall sound will be one that will blow you away”.
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Keep it fresh and unique (For real) By SilasBeats of http://silasbeats.info Crazy how unique we all think we are. We come out the blocks guns blazing about our “new sound” or “new style” or “new flow”. I’m amazed at how much effort we go to to go against the norms when we’re creating new music. People go out of their way to make songs that sound left field. I hear snares in weird places, bass drums being panned to one side, reversed vocals that have been chopped, reversed and screwed. At the end of the day people are really happy with their creations because they sound nothing like anyone else’s. What of the marketing strategies that follow the song creation. What baffles me is how we create these amazing works of art and we cheapen the whole process by using conventional means to market. We chuck tracks on datafilehost, we try so hard to get on a particular hip hop blog, we go after techniques we see have worked for other people so we think this is the only way forward. This, dear friends, is one of the biggest contradictions I’ve seen in our industry. Let me explain… Music is an expression of self. It allows you to find a way to express yourself and be heard by the world. Aren’t we all different? Don’t we all have different stories to tell? Don’t we go out of our way to make the best music that we can so that it’s presentable to our audience? If this is all true then there is no freaking way in hell we should be using cheap services to push our brand. It’s not creative and it’s not unique so you cheapen your music when copying ideas verbatim especially when you have so many more viable options. Even the greatest beats/songs die a horrible death when they’re promoted in this copied fashion. I don’t know what the fascination is with copying other people’s successful campaigns. The reason why a particular 18 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | ISSUE 7
advertising campaign worked for one artist will be the same reason it won’t work for you. People like to see creativity and real originality. It worked for them because they are who they are. Your audience would be able to see right through something if you faked it or copied it. If you tried to blog like I do, you may fail. Writing is a skill and not everyone can do it. Stay in your lane and find what works for you. I think we’d have so many more great artists in South Africa if more people looked around at the world and tried to make different types of marketing campaigns. There are so many ideas out there and I just feel like we’re all sleeping on them. It really does bother me to the core how much we are like sheep. I’ve got a simple request for you if you own a brand and you want to see yourself bringing the world to its knees or reducing your industry to tears because of the type of dope music you make. If you want to be recognised as a creative individual on a large scale then you need to prove it by doing marketing differently. Stay away from conventional means and conventional services. It’s easy to try and replicate someone else’s success, but you’ll never get a chance to taste real real success unless you stay true to your strengths and accept that you weakness are just that. Even if your new methods don’t work initially, don’t be defined by your small failures and remain in control. Do your best and stay creative. If you know of someone who needs to see this please forward this to them. It’s very practical advice and you may be helping them out in the long run. Stay inspired, SB email@example.com
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JIMMYWIZ AND THE RETURN OF THE NEW OLD SCHOOL e are living in a world where Hip-Hop has changed. Or evolved as most claim. This is brought to light by the ‘turn-up’ sound on trap beats of late. To distinguish between ‘evolution’ and ‘change’ you would have to expose your age, or rather the time you fell in love with Hip-Hop. Old school cats would say ‘HipHop has changed’ and for new school cats ‘Hip-Hop has evolved’. Old school Hip-Hop can be appreciated for the content of songs, lyricism to be exact. The art of telling stories with rhymes. The metaphors, similes, double entendre, and punchlines alike. The beauty of writing. The new sound has been vastly adopted because it is easier to commercialise, which sees a lot of rappers getting on the mic and saying nothing, as long as it is easier to dab to. For some time now it seemed that the cries of the old school fell on deaf ears, until an emcee echoed: “What aren’t I bringing? I mean, I brought back that very 90’s Boom Bap. Showed everyone what rhyming is, and that you can still have fun with it and make sense. Oh, and still get airplay across the continent! It’s time people get their money’s worth. I’m reminding everyone that this game isn’t just one sided, that real rap still lives. That Real Recognise Real and I’m looking mad familiar to the people”. This dope emcee, not just a mere rapper, goes by the name of JimmyWiz. Known for his flow, bars, punches, dialect, articulation and kingpin persona, which is what sets him apart from other emcees, JimmyWiz takes us through his deep laying love for the Hip-Hop music and his aspirations. He starts by sharing his thoughts on turn-up: “Hip-Hop as a fraternity, needs turn up. But not in the manner media portrays turn up. That if you do anything that isn’t turn up, you’re either boring, lame or never gonna blow up or succeed. Turnup is cool, and so is neo soul hip hop or boom bap. Music is there to cater for all walks of life. We also need the rapper who can make us think twice ‘bout doing something stupid. Good music is good music, and your soul knows it cause the speakers never lie”. Born Mohau Modiko and residing in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, JimmyWiz is your lyricist’s lyricist, very dope on the mic and sharp with a pen. Having started rapping from the tender age of nine and harnessing his skills through the years. JimmyWiz has become respected and a feared alter ego of a simple Jo’burg dweller who 20 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | ISSUE 7
loves laughing and spending time with his loved ones and considers himself to be the last piece to South Africa’s HipHop puzzle. “JimmyWiz is a combination of two names that hold two parts of my life together. Jimmy is for ‘the Classic Italian Mafioso’ and this was given to me by a dear friend, because of my love for gangster movies. Wiz is for ‘A Wizard of words’ and this name was given to me by a teacher back in my high-school days” he breaks down his name. Growing up music has always been a part of JimmyWiz’s life with his dad an avid lover of Jazz music, and so he too became fond. It was however when his brothers came with a different sound that he fell in love with around 95’. He elaborates “this sound took the very same Jazz records and gave it a new meaning. Hearing guys tell stories, saying things that made sense and still rhyme with it. I felt like a kid listening to superheroes”. When asked about his early influences he said “I don’t have one specific influence, but lemme see... Blackthought, Big Pun, Onyx and Wu-tang, Sonz of Man, these were my biggest influences”. You might remember this god of an emcee from VuzuAMP’s ‘The Hustle’. Yeah, that chubby dope emcee who got mucked out of the reality show by the choker of a rapper named Prince Vassago. With everyone betting their blessing money on JimmyWiz to murder the young Vassago, he met a giant slayer, to everyone’s surprise. When asked if he looks back and just laugh about all this like everyone does he said “Hell yeah, and shout out to Prince Vassago. Haha. It’s funny ‘cause what everyone saw and what the Judges saw or knew, were two different things. Homie choked on every episode, but no one noticed until they compiled all his choking clips. Then after he came with that verse, he just looked ‘godly’. He came prepared, and I don’t fault no one for my slack. Haha. Although I expected a second round, kid took it in one. Mad props.” JimmyWiz also talked about the role ‘The Hustle’ played on his music career: “It played a huge role! Before ‘The Hustle’ I was just another come up with no fans. Releasing music but no one believed in the kid. After ‘The Hustle’, I was on and I’m still on. A million doors opened up. I can’t front or try act cool, it met a moving train and it put it into unimaginable speed”. JimmyWiz’s advise to hopefuls of Season 2 of The Hustle is simple, bring your A-Game and expect anything: “That ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 21
brain better memorise bars like your life is on the line. Another thing, you better be a rapper, The Hustle don’t make rappers. They’re just a platform for rappers to show us who they are and what they’re about.” Having started out with a crew, JimmyWiz says he slowly watched everyone turn their backs on him and Hip-Hop and this was just a tip of iceberg in terms of challenges he had to endure in his quest to be a successful musician. “I guess priorities changed, but I felt like it was just me against the world, Pac style. Met snakes, met cold hearted people that didn’t give a damn. Met people who just made promises, come time to deliver, they disappeared. Disappointed, told I sound too American. Told I should dumb it down and sound like this and that person. Told that I’d never make it ‘cause I was too hard to market, not only because of sound, but because of how I looked too. But look at me now. Funny this thing called life, ain’t it?” Before one Mafikeng born rapper made a financial success in Hip-Hop music, it was a norm in the families to go to school and have something to fall back on, just in case the music stuff does not work out. Then came two matriculants who just shot to stardom and you got to ask if there really is a need for school. JimmyWiz says he always knew that music has always been the apple of his eye. He said “I mean I did go to varsity, studied and graduated. But even then, it was all based around music”. JimmyWiz says that his father told him to further his education and after sitting long and hard figuring himself out, the young man decided to take the first step in realising his dream. “It was at this point that I was tired of all the promises. So, I decided, me and SpDubbBeats needed to open our own entity. And it needed the right approach, so I went and studied business and entrepreneurship. The Rest is history”. JimmyWiz says his biggest ambition in the rap game is to sell a diamond all over the world and to be known across all walks of life and perform on the world’s biggest stages, alongside the world’s biggest acts in and out of Hip-Hop. He also wants to be crowned a legend and to someday sit and look at Hip-Hop, and see the value he has added to this industry. JimmyWiz also intends to take South Africa to greater heights and put us on a level where Americans and every other first world consider us their equals. “I want to sell diamonds to the world. Diamond is a most sought after precious gemstone which occurs naturally and it’s found underground and not just in any ground. That’s who JimmyWiz is and what his music is about” he explains. When asked as to what about the rap game made it worth his while to pursue it he said “I guess just the thought of one day changing the life of an individual or collective gives more meaning to my life. A reminder that I’m human and that I bond with the next person through storytelling and life experiences”. Even though ‘old school Hip-Hop’ music is timeless, locally there has been an issue of albums that under achieve commercially, as compared to the new school Hip-Hop.
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Let us face it, we all need to put bread on the table and unless you have a nine to five to finance your music career, you need to make money through your music somehow. JimmyWiz talks about if he ever thinks if his kind of musical sound might hinder his commercial success: “Not at all, I mean at some point yes, that did cross my mind. But I had to sit down with myself and truly interrogate my heart. And I’m content with myself. Even though with the kind of music I make, it’s going to take ten times the effort of a commercially successful artist. But I’m not here to sell myself short or compete for a short-lived life of fame as opposed to my world stage dreams. I make music that touches the soul, your heart. I make music that makes your face cringe. And I feel so boss being in my own lane”. JimmyWiz went on to say that to him commercial success means nothing if you are not happy with who you are and which side of yourself you are giving to the world. He explains further “If J. Cole can outsell Future, then I guess commercial success is just an illusion. So, I’ll stick to my 1000 true fans who buy, support and show love than chase a million twitter followers and still battle to sell platinum in the opening week.”
JIMMYWIZ ON PLANS FOR 2017 AND MORE MUSIC The album is still in the kitchen and I’m taking my time with it. I don’t feel like I’m at that point in my career yet. I come from an era where an album means a lot. And I’m sticking to that. Although I can say I’m working on a mixtape for 2017, though the aim is to drop three mixtapes, and 12 Videos to accompany them. Street Visuals, nothing for TV. I Hope to take my merchandise to greater heights. I’m finally working on the visuals for my Single ‘Return of The New Old School’ with the help of the ‘Poi Poi’, shout out to J-stash. Get yourselves a Poi-poi cap, t-shirt or baseball sweater too. Get yourself a JimmyWiz t-shirt already! I am dropping visuals to a song I have titled ‘BlackFlag’ produced by SpDubbBeats. The visuals were shot by ‘Matsu Matsael & Makhomotho Ngwasheng’.
JimmyWiz’s message to his fans You guys made my 2016 one hell of a good year! And without any of y’all, I wouldn’t be where I am. I appreciate each and every one of you. The handle is JimmyWizMusic everywhere! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud. 2017 is gonna be even greater, I wish each and every one of you a 100 years of success! JimmyWiz is here to stay, imma never disappoint y’all. I got your backs, best believe that! 100!
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GROWTH OF AN AMAZING ARTIST C
hange is good, especially when it involves growth. Mochene is living proof of that. With his previous moniker, Dizzy Man Ape, he was dope and his mixtape titled ‘Fame Over Fortune’ is a testimony. What this well-oiled machine has become now can never do wrong, especially after hearing his delivery on his new single titled ‘teletxang’. He explains the change better “the difference between the two monikers is that as Dizzy Man Ape I was constantly searching for myself and my sound and as Mochene I’ve found all that. All there is now is for me to live it”. Some of Mochene’s influences come from story tellers like Molemi, Khuli Chana, J. Cole, and Mos Def and he makes sure that he always has their material. It is no surprise then that the first time he understood a rap song was after hearing a DJ Honda’s ‘Traveling Man’ with Mos Def: “I think the hook to that song is what grabbed my attention first, because I used my imagination a lot so that hook was so clear in my mind. I imagined myself traveling, back to back flights and all haha. The story Mos Def tells on the song is what I still want to live out, traveling because of my art, “Even your mans in Japan know who I am”. My aim is to be known for what I do”. Mochene is not your average rapper. In fact, he travels through different genres of music so much that he forgets that he is a rapper. This has helped to influence his style of music of late. He explains “my focus is usually on making a dope song as opposed to writing dope lyrics. So, I would say I’m a storyteller and not a punchline rapper”. Mochene also explains the growth he had to go through from Dizzy Man Ape to the artist he is today “I made the transition from Dizzy Man Ape to Mochene because I felt I needed to grow. Dizzy Man Ape always needed clarification I feel. I always had to explain how my name came about and it was all interesting but I grew out of that. I wanted something that just sticks the first time you hear it”. Born Kholofelo Dennis Mashilo and residing in the East Rand of Gauteng, with his roots found in Jane Furse, Limpopo, Mochene delivers his uniquely, abstract style with a mixture of English and his native tongue Sepedi. His music is a unique extension of Hip-Hop, expressed in a dialect recognized by black Africans, he says “my delivery is what makes me stand out from other rappers. I always try breaking out from what is expected to something different. It’s not always my focus but because I’ve practiced it so
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much even when I’m not trying to be different I just am. My flow is something I’ve been complimented on a lot lately so it got me thinking that it is what makes me stand out”. This unique style that Mochene has introduced is to be known as Chantrap, a sound he describes as the voices of fallen kings. He explains further “Chantrap for me was a transition from boom bam raps and the traditional head bump movement. It’s still very much Hip-Hop because I rhyme and also put a message across but it’s different because I chant instead of singing in a common way. I put a lot of emotions in my songs to try create a texture for my music. Without a doubt when my music plays, an individual starts thinking of mountains and faraway places and that’s what Chantrap is for me. It’s voices of fallen kings. Some we were taught of, some still lay in the ground and their legacy is unknown to us. But chantrap can also be a new urban sound, not just for rural areas”. Under the Dizzy Man Ape alias, Mochene released his first project as a solo artist titled ‘Redtape’ in 2011. The mixtape was to earn him home town glory, including recognition from neighbouring towns. He followed up the success with another project titled ‘fovaf’ which included a smash single ‘Daai Deng’. The release of this project was met with even more interest and buzz on national and provincial radio stations as it debuted at number 5 on 5FM’s Hip-Hop Power Night. After taking ten months off to discover himself as a musician, Mochene is back with a banger. His latest single ‘teletxang’ was received warmly and he was one of the three finalists to perform at Cassper Nyovest’s ‘Fill Up Orlando Stadium’ alongside Jay Makopo and K-Zaka. Mochene spoke about the experience of performing in front of 40,000 screaming fans “My mom was in the crowd the whole time when I was on stage. I kept thinking to myself ‘you better not mess up in front of mom’ and the nerves didn’t stop until after the performance hahaha. I was nervous throughout my act but it didn’t show because re di-professional mos hahaha”. This rare opportunity really did lift Mochene’s profile and he admits “performing there gave my career a huge boost, it became clear to me that I should be pursuing this. Before all that my approach was as if music is a hobby but after performing in front of 40K people I took it a lot more ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 25
serious and the name change and rebranding couldn’t have happened at a better time”. Mochene’s soon to drop EP, titled Chantrap, is in its final stages of mastering and will consist of 10 track which he started recording late 2015. Mochene says that people can expect a different taste of Hip-Hop and in the process get to know him as an artist through this project. “It feels like my very first project” he says. Even though music is Mochene’s focal point at the moment, he says that choreography is something that he is looking into, even though that will be revealed more and more as he gets deeper in the game: “Dancing is something I’m passionate about and I want it to be known”. Mochene also spoke about his ambition in the rap game “my biggest ambition in the rap game is to own a lane, not that I’ll stay in that lane though, haha. I am a spectrum but owning a lane means I will always be identified and also means I can be a pioneer too. That to me is my biggest ambition”. Mochene promises to be more generous with music and says his fans and supporters should “expect more music and videos, videos, videos!”.
Quickies… How much do you think a ‘Best Rap Album Award’ goes for? Haha, I think R100K
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What are the three things you cannot live without? My faith; my music; my deodorant (I have to smell good, always) If Hip-Hop was a woman, which local celebrity would best resemble it? This is the part where I mess up hahaha. I would Say Bonang best describes the Hip-Hop scene because she worked her way up, and now that she’s a house hold name some people think it was overnight success but she puts in work and that’s how far hip hop has come in this country. What came first the egg or the chicken? The chicken. What is it about the rap game that you think we can do without? We can do without the constant comparison. It’s believed that in this country you have to sound a certain way for you to make it, that’s why ‘kasi rap’ is at a disadvantage lately, ‘cos they don’t twang. Let’s stop that. When you focus on sounding like someone else when are you going to sound like yourself.?
NWU FM Friday’s 18:00 - 21:00 Frequency 105.5 or stream www.nwufm.co.za ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 27
MOPHEME – ABOUT STEALING THE CROWDS There are Hip-Hop lines that you just can’t get over, like never. A good example would be the ones about the roller coaster of one loved Hip-Hop sub-genre from Bokone Bophirima written by Tumi Molekane: “Mostwako the new shit, a movement, but not quite somehow egos seem to ruin it/ Who is the king of it? Tuks is, Zues is, Khuli is, all the while Jabba’s profile became stupid”. Now imagine being on the come-up, having fallen in love with this subgenre and rapping your lungs off and getting mad props. As if that is not enough, HHP himself applauds your work and Khuli Chana is your mentor. Without a shadow of doubt, this should make you the future of Motswako and all you got to do is work hard and be business smart about your brand and Prince Makareetsa is all about that. He describes himself as ‘a dream chaser and chance taker by virtue of birth’. Motswako is a combination of language, elements, instruments, fusion of culture to create one solid sound. I call it potjiekos (Afrikaans term for mixed food) because it is basically everything combined in one pot. That is Motswako. There is no restriction. It is a culture on its own – Mopheme. Having claimed to fame as a top six finalist on ‘The Hustle’, the Cullinan born rapper got his stage name ‘Mopheme’ from the legendary HHP after Prince stole Jabba’s show while performing alongside each other. He explains “Mopheme is an old series that used to play in the early 90s. The character Metsi used the name “Mopheme” as a disguise to hide himself due to the fact that he stole his father’s cattle back from the step mother. So, I once performed at HHP’s show when he took a break and when he came back he found me killing the crowd. That’s how we met basically and he gave me the name ‘Mopheme’ because he reckons I stole his show”. The young Prince fell in love with music from an early age after he was influenced by his peers and he knew it was something he wanted to pursue. To him music was vital when growing up as he would use it to escape the reality of his divorced parents. He says “the only way I could talk was through music. Music saved my life in a way. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t understand the whole music business at that time, I went to study business communication in varsity and it’s only now that I’m done
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with school that they support me through everything. They are my biggest fans”. After receiving a HHP album, YBA2NW, as a gift from his mother Mopheme instantly fell in love with Motswako and would dream of meeting him and performing alongside him. Few years down the line Mopheme found himself waking up in the legend’s house, a moment he says he cherishes until this day. When asked about his influences he says “Molemi was also an influence because Khutjo Molepo, now my DJ, had introduced him to me. I loved the fact that his sound was different and a hit like ‘Manong’ was doing very well. I remember Mo’s albums in PTA had sold out in two days. Khuli Chana mentors me now and is currently my biggest influencer.” During his time participating on The Hustle Mopheme says that he was able to learn the business side of the art, how one should place himself/herself in front of the right audience and when to say no, or how to say yes, without coming across as desperate. “It was an eye opener for real. I’ve went on to shape my craft now”. Mopheme says he also learned how to conduct himself in interviews and what to avoid saying. He continues “they gave us a great deal of lessons honestly. Just being on the show itself is a bonus. You really do take home a lot of lessons. Honestly, The Hustle was a great platform for the masses to know about us and just like any other platform it works to your advantage as an artist. The only problem is, just like idols, it only works for a selected few. For some of us it’s still a tough road. But it did help a bit”. Mopheme says he aims to position himself as a strong brand in the entertainment industry not only through music but merchandise and business as well. The focus is to release singles until the masses anticipate the album so much that the demand is hard to be ignored, he adds “If something is for you, somehow through all the ups and downs you will find your way. I urge everyone to never give up! It’s possible”. Mopheme says that his stand out unique feature is that he brings in a sound that is different yet still appealing. In terms of growth Mopheme plans to keep growing himself as a brand by having sync deals, merchandise and corporate deals. He also plans to build relationships with other musicians/artists and aims to shoot music videos for every project to make sure he stays fresh, relevant and current. In the next three years Mopheme says he will focus on establishing himself in Africa as he believes that support in our neighbouring countries beats that of overseas. Along with gunning for performances at various events to make sure he stays visible, Mopheme also plans on shooting a docu-series explaining Mopheme’s success story. With the many Motswako rappers winning awards left, right and centre, Mopheme feels he got one step right in his pursuit to a successful career, “Yes definitely. In fact, it’s not just a step in the right direction, it’s an entire set up. It’s challenging for me because I aim to do better than ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 29
my mentors and idols. I want to be able to add onto the history. I don’t want to be just an additional artist to the family. I’m in the right position and I should shine. No excuses.” In 2017 Mopheme will be going after everything that’s on the table while he progresses with his self-discovery. Bigger pay checks, less procrastination, and an abundance of happiness are the main goals: “I’m ready. I will be realising music and more music with a lot of visuals. It’s time to take over the TV screens. Already have hot singles ready to be released. It’s all about timing now. Watch the space.”
MOPHEME’S ADVICE TO SEASON 2 HOPEFULS OF THE HUSTLE They should just be themselves. The audience and Judges want to see you! The real YOU and not the other version of someone else. They must relax because if you are not calm and relaxed, you can easily be knocked out. The key is to be focused at all times and make the best of the experience. DONT LOSE FOCUS!!
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Mopheme’s message to his loyal fans I want to thank them for their continued support and always downloading the music. It means the world to me. I pray that I can also be of value to them as much as they are to me. I want to also leave them with this quote “There’s nothing that goes on in earth that heaven hasn’t noted. Sit back and let God handle your battles ... don’t stress”
Facebook: Prince Mopheme Twitter: @princemopheme Instragram: @princemopheme Soundcloud: Prince Mopheme YouTube: Prince Mopheme
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Model: @moorish_b Twitter: Makedanthemoor Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Makedanthemoor Email: Makedanthemoor@gmail.com ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 31
SMOOTH SAILING THROUGH THE STORMS WITH CAPTAIN Born Mpho Molise, Captain is a member of a movement called ‘Skool of Hip-Hop’ which includes other members Eugene Terror-Blanche (Winner of Selimathunzi’s “BuaExpress your Mind” poetry competition), Melly Mel, Lebo Mochudi, Slim Zulu, Supahero Leleme (Former Hip Hop Indaba Winner), Marcus G.U.L.U.V.A and General Kwon O.B.E. (Out of Body Experience) a.k.a. Seromo, of which Captain is a captain. On a track ‘Cum Laude’ he starts by saying “mammie, if your man can out rhyme me, monyale”. Monyale loosely translates to ‘marry him’ in this context. So, if your man can go toe to toe with Captain best believe he is man enough. On this interview, we touch base with this gifted and hardworking emcee from the Orange province who started rhyming from the age of twelve and has never looked back. Who is Captain and how did the name come about? Captain is a kid from Meloding, Virginia a small town in the heart of the Free State. The Name was given to me by fellow ‘Skool of Hip-Hop’ team members and in every team you need a skipper. The name stuck. How would you best describe your musical style and overall influence? I’d say I’m the consummate emcee, heavily lyrical. I pride myself on working to uplift the cornerstone of the most popular of the five elements of Hip Hop – Emceeing. I’m influenced by wordsmiths of all sorts, not just rap – writers/composers, public speakers etc. My pops is an accomplished public speaker and moms is a choral music writer and conductor so those traits found their way to me hereditarily. When you fell in love with Hip-Hop, which song were you listening to and what do you remember about it? Biggie Smalls – Warning. As a youngin’, early ‘90s, I would visit family in Sosha and they would watch Bop TV and there was a music segment that broadcasted for hours and hours which would play a gang of international and local music. That song came on once and I was in awe of Chris’ storytelling, it was insane! ‘Ready to Die’ was the first tape I ever copped. Never looked back since. What qualities do you have that could make you the best rapper in the country? I don’t sound like anybody else. I can fuse a majority of local dialect in my music. I’m not limited to one or two 32 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | ISSUE 7
languages, I rhyme in whatever language comes to me at that moment. I’m prolific at that and lyrically I don’t believe I’ve peaked yet. I’m still chasing that zenith. Many cats who rap are one dimensional, of which there is nothing wrong with that because they have a lane, but that is what distinguishes me from a lot of dudes. What has Captain done for Hip-Hop and what more would he like to do? Not enough yet, I feel. I, along with a handful of dudes, am the grey area. You can depend on the fact that we won’t hold back punches, no pun intended, as far as bars go. I was the first dude on a joint with Zakwe and PRO, I did that ‘cos the culture needed that. And you cannot claim to be the best if you’re not out here really sparring with the best. Period. What is it about the current SA Hip-Hop game that you would change? We just need a balance of the commerce and substance. That’s it. I will never hate on new school because it’s born from the old school. All ‘sub-genres’, if you will, are necessary and we can’t all sound the same. That would be lame. So, a more balanced representation of the culture maybe, that’s all. How much value do you think young cats like A-Reece and Nasty C have added to the local rap scene? ‘nuff value… Both those youngins are very lyrical and talented, very well rounded artists and they have their future ahead of them. I’ve seen clips of younger versions of them cyphering in school clothes etc. How can I hate on that? That’s the sh*t we were doing ourselves back in the day. Really excites me to see them winning ‘cos you can’t refute the fact that they love the culture and hopefully they’ll push Hip-Hop further than we ever could here. There has been talks about rap artists signing to other rap artists being a disadvantage, how has being signed to PRO worked out for you? Word. That’s true if you purposely stagnate yourself in anticipation that they will do the work for you. What people fail to realise is that signing to an independent is a full-time graft. There is no guarantee of success, not with majors either, of course. The fact that everything is being done ourselves, everyone has to pull their weight. And it’s been, for me, the best as far as business lessons, I’ve scooped along the way. It’s put me in a position where I’ve set up my own revenue stream of which I claim 100% off my intellectual property. I can’t be mad at that. Shout out to the big homie for helping instil that in me. What role has ‘Skool of Hip Hop’ played in your brand as an artist? S.K. Dub is the foundation. That’s home. The work we put in on the mixtape front got me recognised by the powers that be. ‘The Assembly’ spawned off it as well. I’m a skolar ‘til I rest. What does 2017 have in store for Captain? It’s already started off well, to be honest. Two joints ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 33
have been play listed, really happy with that. I have “The Orientation” album with The Assembly in the pipeline and I’m putting together “The Ape Tape”. So, mad music en route. How much do you think the ‘Hip-Hop Album of the Year’ award goes for? [Laughing hysterically] Wait, What? Them joints are on sale?? Haha! NEXT!! What would you say is your weakest rap line ever? Damn… Weakest to me maybe, but whenever people heard it they thought it was ill. I said “Get the fxck off like bad milk, I’ve had skills since the last flash-floods when God had man killed”. This was of course a much younger me. Hindsight is 20/20, Haha! If you were the president of SA Hip-Hop, which local female rapper would best fit as the first lady? Damn… wish I could categorise this ‘cos there are some really heavy female rappers out here doing their thing. I like what Nadia is doing though on the mainstream, she’s got the clubs on smash. So, Nadia. But I could just Bill Clinton the whole thing. Haha!
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If you were to take five famous local rappers to a battle with, who would you take with you? PRO, ProVerb, Ginger, Tumi, N’veigh Give us an 8 bars freestyle on ‘greed and hip-hop’. “As the reach gets long, I suggest le fele/ It’s that heat slept on like electric blanket/ My greed sketch bombs & you lace the dab, mannequin challenge/ Your mans on the canvas/ Check it… I got me a thick honnie, thighs, tjo ke sephadi/ She body it long before head (be forehead) – Letsholonyane/ Uh… mami got back like Quasimodo, the hip hop when she drop it low doe/ Pay homage or you get smacked silly in here, I hugs tracks like Brazilian hair” Light… S/O Tone for hitting me up, it was an honour. Salute to all your readers.
Twitter: Facebook: Sound cloud:
@057_CaptainFS Prince Captain Clapmen 057_captainfs
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INTRODUCING STEPHEN CROWN, A MULTI-TALENTED MUSICIAN AND RAPPER
tephen Crown, real name Stephen Lebogang Mokgokoloshi, is a 26-year-old musician/ artist operational in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Polokwane. Having been brought up in a choral and classical music family, as a young man he developed an interest in music and through the years seen that love turn into a career for which he is executing with finesse. Showboating his versatility, Stephen is a vocalist, songwriter, radio voice over artist, model, composer and a guitarist. Stephen says that he plans to establish a production company focused on media, arts and entertainment. With the use of arts and the philosophy behind it all, Stephen will uplift disadvantaged communities by exposing them to the beauty of the arts, financial empowerment and the freedom that comes with it. Stephen’s first studio EP titled ‘The Tales of John Milton’ underlined his passion for lyricism, soul and musicality. One of the standout songs on this project is ‘Radio God’ where he addresses the media’s choices of music they play. Stephen is currently recording a follow up album with his live band aptly named ‘Stephen Crown and The Street fighters’ as well as a guitar EP and by the time you read this he would have dropped his follow-up project titled ‘The Streamline EP’. Stephen Crown is one of the ‘up-coming’ artists that submitted their music to us and here is how the interview went down:
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in when devising concepts for a new song and that sort of creative freedom always makes for a brilliant song or compilation to be expected. Besides that, I am just talented you dig? When and how did you fall in love with Hip-Hop and what or who influenced you into pursuing a career in music? ‘Hit em up’ by Tupac Shakur, first time I heard that song was on Metro FM, I was 8 years old and I thought to myself “I wanna do that too” ha-ha! I was amazed at the controversial content he was conveying and to hear it on radio at the time was mind blowing. I have never looked back since. I also grew up around music. My family always played everything that influences me from jazz to classical all the way to choral music. What do you enjoy the most between being a vocalist, a rapper and a guitarist? That’s a tough one! I respect and love each of these crafts individually to a point where music has gone beyond lyrics for me and I am trying to expand my repertoire by acquiring more musical skills other than just being able to write a hot 16 bars. Although hot 16 bars are where we started, one must always leave room for growth and delve in other aspects of music such as production, engineering etc. How would you describe the style of music you make? The style is definitely Hip-Hop but my source of influence is vast and not limited to Hip-Hop. If my music was a book it would probably fall under the philosophical section! I have much knowledge to share and I relay that through music. What is your ultimate ambition in the Hip-Hop game? I would love to be at a point where SA Hip-Hop isn’t always standardized by what is happening in the Hip-Hop scene overseas and I need to be the one pioneering that front. We need SA Hip-Hop to have its own identity again.
Who is Stephen Crown and what does the ‘Crown’ stand for? Stephen Crown is a 26-year-old musician from Polokwane. Heavily influenced by Hip-Hop and jazz music. The crown in my name is symbolic of my desire and belief to transcend the physical constraints of this earth through the crown chakra and strive for a higher level of consciousness beyond our thoughts and beliefs.
What inspired the title ‘The Tales of John Milton’ and is there any relation to the English poet John Milton? No relation to the poet whatsoever, although he was a great writer too. The title was inspired by a character in ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ starring Al Pacino whose name was ‘John Milton’. This character was everywhere and knew everything that’s happening in the city he lived in. I derived the concept from this character and ‘John Milton’ became a mind state as opposed to a person. We are all John Milton’s in our own right and we all have a story to tell, it might not necessarily be through music but there is a story nonetheless and it’s constantly being written.
What is unique about Stephen Crown and the music he makes? My producer and great friend, DJ VB (Versatile Beats) plays a pivotal role in the sound I choose to make thanks to his brilliant range in production. As his name suggests he’s amazingly versatile in a musical sense so as a writer listening to his music, I have a large playing field to run
Since its release, how has the EP been received? The EP was released in 2016 on SoundCloud and the response has been great locally and internationally thus far. I have a few more songs from that very EP which are still set for release so I am still open for feedback and more reviews from platforms such as SA HipHopHeadZ and the likes. ISSUE 7 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | 37
What about music, Hip-Hop to be specific, makes you want to keep being involved in it? The non-stop flow of energy is what keeps me going, whether it’s underground, commercial or whatever you’d like to call it there is always a certain type of energy around Hip-Hop lovers which stems from a much higher power. The culture plays a vital role in my involvement as well as the story telling part of it where we bear our hearts for the listeners to see a little.
be a part of astounding musicians playing Hip-Hop music live. This year will be filled with many more performances, more radio play and definitely more projects!
Why do you hate the Hip-Hop music that plays on radio i.e. ‘turn-up’? Ha-ha! No don’t get me wrong. Hate is a very strong word to use. Let us just say I feel differently about the state of commercial music at the moment. You can say whatever it is you want in a song but I feel as if we should always keep the musicality of it all intact. So, as long as it is musical? I’m all good. The music you make is said to be ‘non-commercial’, do you ever think that this might hinder your commercial success? Well, I used to think it won’t because I’m from the era where Common, Lauryn Hill, Yassin Bey, and The Roots, just to name a few, were successful in the mainstream, but the commercial sound and what is accepted as commercial has gradually changed and at some point an artist will have to adjust themselves accordingly in order to remain relevant in the industry and to the masses. You’re also part of ‘The Retired Cool Kids’, how does this fit into the ‘Stephen Crown’ brand? Does it ever make it difficult to focus on your solo career? The RCK is its own brand and Stephen Crown is independent of that. The RCK is a team of musicians who come together occasionally to create music and share ideas about everything art related. It does not and cannot interfere with my solo career because before The RCK was formed, we were all solo artists to begin with. What keeps the group together to make sure that everyone does their part and no one ever feels like they are being held back? Music first and foremost brought us together but when working with groups, one has to be considerate of the other members but at the same time you ought to be careful because you won’t always be on the same page regarding movements. We respect each other’s solo careers and wouldn’t want any hindrance in that regard. What does 2017 have in store for Stephen Crown? 2017 man! This has been quite a busy year for me already as I am releasing my 2nd studio EP titled ‘The Streamline’ which will drop on the 14th of February 2017. The title is self-explanatory of what to expect and with the help of my producer I’ve managed to select pieces from him to create a more light hearted and relevant sound for my listeners out there. I am also involved with a live Hip-Hop jazz fusion band aptly named ‘Stephen Crown & The Street Fighters’ of which I am honoured and constantly grateful to
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are more spiritual than they are physical. Who are the members of Mind the Soul and what does each member bring to the group? Ofentse ‘OrIsOn’ Modibedi is a producer, emcee and founder of Lungdeep Ent which catered for the sound of the EP in terms of production and mastering. Kgomotso ‘Songbird ‘Kolokoto is a songstress who brings in that soul element. She is one of the few song writers who has that balance between Hip-Hop, Jazz and R’nB, which makes her versatile and also adds that swing to her melodies. Songbird as a songwriter comes up with most of the concepts and hooks of the music. Cya is an emcee come radio broadcaster who has immense experience in the entertainment sphere, having had a two-year spell at YFM as a technician behind the scenes. This is where he started making serious contacts in trying to advance his musical career. He applies these same methods to Mind the Soul. What motivated each member to pursue a career in music and Hip-Hop? OrIsOn: Well for me personally I am motivated by the type of music I grew up listening to, it had so much weight in my opinion, the language of the music as a whole insisted a connection. So, I am merely trying to duplicate that. I’m making music that I love. I guess love is my answer haha. Cya: The love for literature and I grew up in the 90s, that’s where they made me at.
INTRODUCING MIND THE SOUL Mind the Soul is a soulful Hip-Hop group which comprises of three individuals namely emcee Siyasanga ‘Cya’ Booi, producer/emcee Ofentse ‘OrIsOn’ Modibedi and songstress Kgomotso ‘Songbird’ Kolokoto. The trio brings forth the soul element to the music scene consciously (w)rapped with artistic lyricism which has proven itself to be such a rarity in today’s Hip-Hop and they aim at being an active larynx for folks in our communities voicing their council and stories alike. Songs such as ‘Borderline Blood’, ‘Spread Love’ and ‘Mirror Mirror’ are good examples in this regard. Having recently dropped their debut project in ‘The Village EP’ on the 30th June 2016 digitally on Soundclound and Audiomack, Mind The Soul moved to release the hard copy of the project three months later after a big demand. The EP boasts 13 tracks of stories and experiences with two guest producers namely; Thabisho ‘MethodicBeatS’ Matjebela and Ishmael ‘Phiziks’ Sibiya. It also features wise words from Ntate Masoba and Ntate Modibedi. The project was a
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year in the making with ‘When Curtains Fall’ as their first ever recorded song which went on to being the crews first single release. We caught up with this breath of fresh air and this is how it went down. Please break down the name ‘Mind The Soul’ and how the group started out? Well, initially the group was a two man gig, CyaBooi and OrIsOn. OrIsOn being a producer and emcee, he decided to one day upload a beat and post the link on Facebook. Guess who replied, wanting to try something on it. We met, laced the song which is now known as ‘When curtains fall’ and the rest as they say, is history. We went on to complete a 13 track, soul packed EP entitled ‘The Village’ with an amazing guest, the elder, Ntate Masoba. It is now available for R70. As for the name Mind the Soul; it simply means look after the soul because anyone who has embarked on a journey of soul searching will reveal this great lesson, that things
Songbird: Music is something I’d love to do for the rest of my life so it’s a no brainer for me. I didn’t need any motivation at all. Not many groups last, for different reasons. Are you all in this for the long haul and if an opportunity, or a need, to go solo arises how that will affect the group? We are in this for the long haul and are quite cognizant that creating a brand and getting a following is a lot of work and sacrifice. But in the same breath, we are born individuals which in essence means that we will, however, every now and then branch out to do our own solos be it music or otherwise. As such our individual passions remain well nourished. How do you guys work through disagreements and/ or fighting amongst the group members? We sometimes try to talk about it, other times we hold hands, our own hands because otherwise someone is losing a tooth ha-ha. Listen to the outro on the EP, it will give you the gist of our world class problem solving techniques.
What are some of the rituals you perform before recording? We laugh a lot, laughter is a big part of our recording sessions and Cya does a lot of push ups even though we never see no muscles popping. I-jimaph’ le weight?! How was ‘The Village Ep’ received by the masses? Very well. So much so that we barely keep up with the sales. The performances are also an eye opener as to how much the music is loved and appreciated. What does 2017 have in store for Mind The Soul? A lot is gonna be coming from us. Come end of the year MTS will be a national brand. But for now, look out for a music video for our debut single; ‘When curtains fall’. First time we announce it right here. The plan is also to push the EP and set the stage for the next projects. We also want to get to know our people better. If you were to choose one member to be the president of the Republic of South Africa, who would you pick and why? OrIsOn, because of his consistency and never shying away from the vision and a sense of tranquillity and he keeps a rule book for himself which is admirable. But anyway, Its time for a female president ha-ha. What are some of the habits from each member that the other members feel they can do without? Lateness is the common denominator. Who is the funniest person in the group and what is the funniest thing he/she has done? Cya is definitely the class clown. He doesn’t have to do anything; it’s all to do with how he sees the world. Which member keeps the group sane and motivated to work? Songbird. She is the one who is always organizing the crew’s meetings, organizing our year plan and all that good stuff. What are the live without? OrIsOn: Cyabooi: Songbird:
three things that each of you cannot Silence, laughter and reason (the beat making software) Jesus, Coffee and my blackberry Food, family and a pencil
Facebook: mindthesoulsa Soundcloud: mind-the-soul
What keeps the group intact and willing to work as a unit? Having the same vision, which is what brought us together, and of course GOD.
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here is a whole lot of rapper slash producers in the game. A whole lot. Some are good producers with a weak pen game. Others are good rappers with not so convincing production skills. The ones that can master both traits can literally be counted with one hand. Born and bred in Mthatha, raised in Pietermaritzburg and based in Durban, Champ is one of those who have a rare conviction of silk production skills and a crazy pen game. Ntshatshile Champ Tile says that it was his father who gave him the name ‘Champ’ because he believed his boy was born to win and Champ is doing his best to prove that his pops was right. Champ’s ultimate ambition in the rap game resembles his name, he shares: “[my ambition is] to show you can attain success and still not lose yourself, your beliefs and love for humanity. Life is beyond what kids see on their screens. I wanna empower where I come from”. Now, say that is not a spirit of a champion. Champ has been writing songs for more than ten years now and has seen his work featured in numerous projects ever since. In 2008 Champ moved to Durban where he was to further his studies and this is when his rap career really started off, going toe to toe with other competitive rappers. Champ’s magic behind the mic, especially with him mixing Xhosa and English, got him applause from the award-winning gold selling Zakwe. The mutual respect between the two lyricists saw them work together on a street banger of a single titled ‘Should I Prove It’ which also features MarazA and produced by Kay Master. Champ has hardly put a foot wrong and his integrity, truth, honour and respect that he has shown before still shines through him and he vows to continue on that lane “I’m a highly principled person. I want to influence people’s behaviour through my music. We can’t all be savages. I feel I must add that I do have a fun/playful side as well”. Champ is one of the greatest writers in South Africa right now without a doubt. His ability to tell stories on soulful beats is admirable. Champ says that he draws inspiration from a lot of artist in many different ways, locally by the likes of Abz(Abiku), Esphi, Onender, Proverb, PRO, T.O.P, and Top Shayela, and internationally by Kanye, Canibus, Nas, TuPac, Jay Z, Joe Budden and others. Talking about his choice of sound, he says “soul is closest to my heart so most of my music will either be that or hard hitting. I’m versatile as a rapper and as a producer, you can expect anything but the core of it all is soulful and musical”. Since the days of ‘The Manual’ mixtape you can hear growth and that the lad is getting better with age, like wine. Champ does not take for granted the experience he was able to gain over the years: “I was still wet behind the ears back then. I sound much better now and I am now a huge fan of my own music. I found my voice. I know what message I want to bring across”.
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Having started out as a battle rapper, Champ owes his music production game to the grace of God as he became close friends with some of his favourite producers, notably Onender, who was able to show him a few things that helped to start a journey as a producer. Even though he got to be a great producer, Champ says that he still prefers raps: “Ha-ha, [I enjoy] rapping. I can express myself further through words. I love playing with words and making Xhosa and English words sound like it’s one thing. I get different highs from both though, ‘cos creating a beat can take you to another realm all
together”. Champ says that the connection he has with his fans feels to be an achievement worth mentioning. Champ has won the best MC at the Original Material Awards. In a short space of time Champ has worked on many projects as a producer and sound engineer including both Duncan Albums, ByLwansta’s YAR, Avgang EP, Yusuf Pyrus, and songs of HCL. In the future Champ says he would like to do productions for other rappers, especially AKA: “I have about two beats I think AKA would fcuks with. Might just end up using them myself though haha. Otherwise I’m really open to work with anyone I can vibe with. If we on the same frequency the better”. Champ also spoke about the work he did with 031 Avengers which included prolific rappers for Durban, HCL, Breeze, Mx, and the late Inseezy: “the idea came from a remix that featured everyone part of AV Gang and it was pitched to us as more of a movement than a group. We gravitated towards the idea and it grew. I gained experience and learned patience as a producer/engineer”. AV Gang released a E.P.I.C. EP (The Everyone In Control EP) which comprises of eight killer joints, most notably ‘News’ and ‘Kwashuba’, produced and mastered entirely by Champ. Champ spoke about some of the challenges he has to go through as an artist and producer “Lack of recourses. We are trying to do our own shows and perform directly for people who love our art. I believe it’s coming together though. As a producer, my clients have been good thus far, just stop postponing guys, I really hate that ha-ha”. Talking about his plans for 2017 Champ says “I’m dropping a project titled 10k hours (10 000 hours), more “prod by champ” on the credits. More shows and other stuff that I will reveal as time goes. Please visit champofficial.com”. SAHipHopHeadZ will definitely keep you informed with everything that is Champ official. ByLwansta on Champ: My first impression of Champ the day I met him at a meeting where I’d ultimately be designing his EP cover, I perceived him as a very laid back individual, relaxed. I’m usually a great judge of character, but boy was that judgement far from accurate. Champ is the exact opposite, not in his general disposition, but rather his work ethic. The man WORKS. Anyone you know who has a vault of things they’ve worked on, you know their work ethic is unmatched, now imagine, Champ has a couple vaults. In between writing and producing his own music, Champ adds to his arsenal the human ability to run a fully functional recording studio, Winnerz Circle, opened to different artists, ranging from Hip Hop (duh) to gospel, sometimes not even just music clients, but that never takes away from the really clear focus and attention to detail in his raps and music.
Facebook: Champ’mchanam Twitter: @Champ_tile Instagram: Champ_tile YouTube: Champ Tile Soundcloud: champ’mchanam Website: www.champofficial.com
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THE YUMMY RED VELVET UPTOWN CAKE WRITTEN BY: SOVEREIGN GINA
I had me a slice of an audio red velvet uptown cake and I must admit, I’ve since been hooked and wanting more until finally, I got to have the whole cake to myself! Tracking back, I had my first audio slice when I just so happened to stumble upon the second single, Mojito off the EP – Ta Fego. Look fam…it hella engaged my taste buds! I love to share so, how about we indulge ourselves? I mean you and I, together? BK – taken from her birth name Bokamoso, is our yummy audio red velvet uptown cake. She’s one of our, in my opinion, phenomenal women in hip-hop with occupations of a beat maker, song writer, singer and a rapper. She started out as a hip-hop beat maker however, within a short space, we got introduced to her as an artist. It is evident that she has always been a contributor towards the music industry although it was not hip-hop then. She also had previously stated that she was not sure as to who she wanted to be in music. Her passion led her to grow from the boards, to writing and eventually the raps. “BK is an artist. I can rap. I’m a lyricist, a hip hop lover and I’m also a dope singer! I’m a producer - not only a beat maker but I am a producer in the true sense of the word when it comes to the world of music. I also happen to write songs; not only for myself but for other artists as well. Having earned my new title “the rapper” has contributed to my artistic growth quite positively. People are now witnessing how versatile and talented I really am and this is just the tip of the iceberg though!” She chuckles whilst she best describes herself. BK’s music career is recorded to have begun in the year 2014 but hold up! Let us rewind back to the beginning, the moment she discovered her love for the art. She unfolds her tale, “My love for hip-hop dates back to my high school days when I used to write little raps on my desk in class or after school when I got home after listening to my favourite rappers. In my later years, towards the end of varsity, I started making beats. This allowed me to fully immerse myself in the culture. I grew so much as a beat maker that I even produced a beat for Bahamadia when she was in SA. The urge to want to put the verses I’d been spitting to myself on record took a hold of me in 2012 when my brother, Ma9man (the rapper) was working on his street 44 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | ISSUE 7
tape and for the first time ever I spat on a song. It was 8 bars and the mediocre though at the time!” She giggles as she continues. “In 2014 my two brothers and I formed a team called Red House. We later dropped a Joint called ‘Awenze’ which got me the attention of the rap game. That song was the start of my career as a main stream hip-hop artist. The following year I started dropping hip-hop songs as a solo artist. Then in 2016 I released my first body of work, my EP – Ta Fego.” Ta Fego is licensed and released under Sony Music Africa. I must add, I’d been waiting on it to be released and when it finally was, I wasted no time! I copped me a digital copy and I binge listened to it! The 808’s on the intro track gave me sensational eargasms! My appreciation of this project pursued me to write a review on the EP. The EP is named after her late father as a way of honouring him. As she stated, “Ta Fego” was his nickname. BK’s father was also a contributor to the South African music industry playing roles of a musician, producer and engineer. He worked with numerous record labels and music icons such as Rebecca Malope, Solly Moholo and Phuzekhemisi. She fairly pointed out that he was of great inspiration to her. “When it comes to hip-hop, I really look up to artists like Andre 3000. His character, his fashion sense, the technique, the lyricist, and the song writer he is! Locally, my influence has to be my father, the late “Ta Fego” Gumbi.” Ta Fego takes the listener through various sounds and moods. There is great belief that there’s always a story behind the music and provided that Ta Fego is an EP, one would assume it is a short story. However, when asked exactly what the story behind the EP is, BK explained, “I suppose the EP was really to introduce to people my hip-hop artistic side. A lot of my feature work in the past has been house music, so this EP also served as a communication to say “No. She’s not a house musician, guys! She may feature but she’s not house, she’s a rapper!”” On this yummy body of work she features two of our hip-hop gems, Ginger Trill and Reason. It’s always good, once in a while to take a trip down the memory lane as means of reflection. We always get insight about the core of ourselves and others. So I had to ask her, what was she listening to when she first fell in love with hip-hop? She replied, “You know, I can’t really say that there’s one specific song! It’s an era thing really and I remember which era vice gripped me. I mean, hip-hop was always in the background growing... the Salt n Peppers’, the PACs’ of that time! So the songs kinda fell into the background prepping me for when the culture would claim me. I fell in love with hip-hop during the era of Red & Method man, Outkast, Lauren Hill, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris...that era just before Eminem hit the scene.”
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To gain insight about BK’s behind the scenes experiences, discoveries and challenges I neat picked her mind on what was that shocker experience or factor she learnt about the South African music industry that she felt not many know or are aware of. She explained, “Apart from the typical “come up” struggles here and there like for example getting play listed on big stations, I’m fortunate enough to not have experienced anything major. I’ve also learnt that having your song on radio isn’t enough and having your video on TV isn’t enough. Upcoming artists need to know that there’s a lot more hard work to it.”
guys! I wish I could say there’s an innuendo but in all that’s said, yes I am yummy like a red velvet cake (which happens to be my favourite cake)”
This sensational audio delight aims and aspires to be a world icon. You just have to be her platform. Would you like to have a slice of this audio red velvet uptown cake? Go on! Indulge your senses! I know that line was cliché but yeah…
BK is such a versatile artist! She’s worked with the likes of DJ Shimza and DJ Slim as well.
If you were clueless the same way I was about who Bahamadia is, you aren’t alone! I guess we learn and grow each day in this hip-hop culture. Bahamadia is a Philadelphia born hip-hop artist. She is counted to be amongst the hip-hop well respected legends! BK is sure holding the South African flag high to have worked with such greats.
Catch up with BK here; Sweet Facts
Okay. So I was wondering and kind of hoping that there was an innuendo twist to the whole “Red velvet uptown cake” and her hair being red. Fam! She burst my bubble when she chuckled and replied, “No hey. So here’s the story…my hair is red for deeper reasons I’m not comfortable disclosing and that phrase was just a play on words. Sorry
Facebook: Strictly BK Twitter: @StrictlyBK Instagram: @StrictlyBK Soundcloud: Strictly BK
MakedanTheMoor is African inspired fashion and swimsuit line by Moorish B, check out the 1st edition of Afrokinis by MakedanTheMoor designed for Queens all shapes and sizes.
Model: @moorish_b Twitter: Makedanthemoor Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Makedanthemoor Email: Makedanthemoor@gmail.com 46 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | ISSUE 7
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my home listening to him. He sounded like a noisemaker to me (even though I dab to his tracks).
Although this album is more trap than anything else, MarazA still gives us rock solid bars with a touch of humour. Right now, he sounds hungrier than ever and ready to take over the mainstream.
Having played this album over and over, I can say, it is a solid album. There are certain abilities Emtee possess that we never hear on his more famous music. He is mad dope on them hooks, so effortless. I think I appreciate his hook making abilities than I do his actual raps.
On Track 10, ‘iGazi’, he kinda takes us back to the old MarazA, the ‘Bengazi Kuthi Ngenzeni’ MarazA, with his flawless and effortless story-telling. Here he takes us through a story of a certain Nozipho who got raped by a stranger who offered her a lift, fell pregnant and gave her son, Mthobisi, up for adoption. Mthobisi got into ‘gangsterism’ and at the point of his death it was discovered he was dating his Sister (Nosipho’s daughter Nothando) without knowledge and they both died at the same time, at the hands of ‘gangsterism’, deep stuff.
Avery is an 18 track album with more than 4 tracks certified by the Industry as hits, ‘Roll Up’, ‘We Up’, ‘Ngeke’ and ‘Pearl Thusi’ made headlines in the past year or so and immensely contributed to the platinum status the album hit.
Album Name: AVERY Album Artist: EMTEE Record Label: Ambitiouz Entertainment Words by:
It’s a common known fact that artists, especially rappers are just not able to drop albums that can surpass their debut albums in terms of quality, the difference here with Emtee is that he dropped a single which was/is certified a continental banger, earned him a whole lot of award nominations and features with International artists. I don’t know what ‘Krapa Fasa Baba Let’s’ means (Still wanna have a conversation with him about that) but ‘Roll Up’ is a banger for days, I probably lost my morals a coupla times in the last festive season coz of that track. This is only one single, which was apparently wrapped up in just two hours mhmmmm asazi, we have not even gotten to the album as yet. Imagine how hard it would turn out to be for him to recreate the same magic he created with ‘Roll Up’. When I heard ‘Roll Up’, in my head I had already boxed Emtee as that kinda rapper, because he sounded so natural on the track and I could not picture him doing anything else, then I heard ‘Pearl Thusi’ which also had the same sound as Roll Up. It is hard to come across a ‘Rapper’ in 2016 who does not make this trap/turn up sound. Quite honestly, I can’t stand trap, less content and more dabbing, we don’t hear what dudes are saying and they don’t even try but hey that’s what sells so I guess that sound is justifiable, no one makes music for fun, don’t let em lie to you. All these rappers wanna eat, in fact well we all wanna eat, we all want that ‘Vrrrrrrrm Phaaaaaaa’ (laughs). The only tracks I knew of Emtee were the ones on TV and radio, and I never pictured myself sitting at the comfort of 48 | sahiphopheadz.co.za | ISSUE 7
Emtee became the third highest played SA Hip-Hop artist in late 2015 and also scooped Song Of The Year for ‘Roll Up’ at the SAHHA’s. The album got five nominations at the SAMA’s, winning two more awards. It also got a BET nomination and four Metro FM Awards and this is all just one album’s work. The hype Emtee had in 2015 is slowly fading, sad that this is happening before people could actually explore the album. Believe me, there is more to Emtee than ‘Roll Up’ and ‘Pearl Thusi’. Emtee did say he is a serial hitmaker and I do not think anyone can argue that. Often boxed as a rapper who specialises in making turn up music, there is a considerable number of tracks that doesn’t fit into the ‘Turn Up’ description on the album, my favourite track on the album for example, ‘Avery’. It is a beautiful song with Emtee taking us on his fatherhood journey “I thought I wanted to be a star till I became your Father/ The thought of you growing up like I did made me Pusha Phanda/”. The lady on the hook, Nondumiso, also needs a mention. I need her numbers to personally thank her for such an awesome job she did on the track, Goodness! On Track 7, ‘Mama’, he touches on his family issues with one short verse and then sings right throughout the entire song. He totally killed the hook, but It felt as though the track deserved a better beat. It cannot give us a heartfelt message on such a vibey, bump jive kinda beat. It needed a smooth, soothing beat that would catch one’s attention and make you sit down and listen. Same applies to the Track 8, titled ‘Ready’, a love song on a beat that requires more dabbing than it does your ear. He has Nasty C on the album, Track 5 titled ‘Winning’. We know that boy been killing anyone and everyone he is been jumping on tracks with, Emtee was no exception even though he was not just a passenger on the track, he rapped. Other features include Fifi Cooper on ‘Ngeke’ as well as AKA and Wiz Kid on the ‘Roll Up Re-Up’. The beat selection was off, here and there. but it is a pretty solid album. Lyrical: 4 Delivery: 5
Production: 3.5 Overall: 4.5
The Production on the album could have been better. There is a point where the production does not do much justice to his lyrical prowess. Album Name: Blind Album Artist: MarazA Record Label: Africa Lit Words by:
Do you remember a track called ‘Bengazi Ukuthi Ngenzen’ which made rounds around 2007-2008? Very huge track at the time. It addressed crime, mob justice, and a couple of other issues. That track was like the ‘Sister Bertina’ of Hip-Hop. It was everywhere. You’d hear it in taxis, taverns and it was on everyone’s phone but not where it matters most, on radio and TV. A lot of people credited that song to Molly Superman Omnyama (because it was kinda hard to tell the difference between Molly and Maraza’s voices) but in fact that track was by duo ‘Just Dat’ (MarazA & Dezza), that alone should tell you just how long MarazA has been in the industry.
‘Gwan’, the biggest track on the album, is a banger for sure and has taken over the airwaves. MarazA uses a language called ‘Fanakalo’ (a ‘language’ used to bridge language barriers in the South African mining industry) on the hook, very catchy hook. There is a few stand out tracks, the rest of the album is just okay and this is mostly because of beat selection. Notable features on the album include Buffalo Souljah, Aewon Wolf, Mashayabhuqe KaMamba and a few more. If you’re tired of all these kids spitting senseless rhymes, then this is for you. MarazA was able to merge lyricism with the current trap sound without either sounding too deep or too shallow.
Lyrical: 5 Delivery: 5
Production: 3 Overall: 4
From being Jam Alley freestyle champ to being a MC Africa finalist, MarazA is one of the few rappers who has been in the game for a long time and making a killing today. More than 10 years in the game but it is only now that MarazA is getting his big break. It was kinda sad watching him trying to break into the industry those many years ago and failing to do so, especially because he is such a talented rapper and all round artist, I guess it was not his time but the time is now. MarazA took some time off to study the industry and see how he could add his own flavour to what Hip-Hop is today and boy did he come back with a bang. We have all known him as an emcee, he must have realised that it would take more than just cypher bars to make it in this industry, hence he was able to re-invent himself so beautifully and adapt to the current sound of Hip-Hop. MarazA is incredibly lyrically gifted, not many can touch him in that aspect, very witty and clever with em punches.
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Track 2 on the album, ‘Impilo’, features Ma-E who is not completely bad on the track. In fact, that hook is just perfect and he also wasn’t way off with his verses but the production and his hook would’ve worked way better with someone who raps better than Ma-E’s lazy rapping style.
A couple of songs there sound the same on production, particularly on tracks like ‘Couldn’t’ and ‘Make Up Your Mind’ take nothing away from the producers though. ‘Mgani’ which was also another single he dropped from the album is a dope love song sampled from 90’s RNB group ‘Backstreet - Don’t Leave Me’. Props to the producer for that beautiful sample and as usual, A-Reece didn’t disappoint on the hook and verses.
Is it just me or Reason sounds a bit like Nasty C on Track 7, titled ‘Mercy’? Yes? No? Moving on, this is arguable but somehow Kwesta always beasts on Reason whenever they jump on a track together. He never gives him a chance to breath and it was not any different on ‘Mercy’. Riky Rick was just a passenger on that track.
The other day while listening to some Hip-Hop show on the radio, someone mentioned that this album has a lot of Love Songs. I don’t know if I’m listening to a different album or the dude was high or I’m the one who is high but even so, if there are too many love songs so what? The kid is still 19 and probably going through his first love. What better way to express that than pen down tracks about it? If I was dating Natasha Tahane, I’d drop an entire album of love songs haha.
On Track 3, titled ‘Mzonkonko’, Blaklez is way off beat and sounds like he wrote his verse for a beat box cypher beat while Ginger Trill remained on beat and gelled smoothly with the slow beat.
Album Name: Injayam, Vol.1 Album Artist: DJ Sliqe Album Label: Sound African Recordings Words by:
When I first heard of DJ Sliqe I thought to myself “So Slikour went from being part of one of S.A’s greatest HipHop groups, Owning Taxis, Interviewing rappers to now being a DJ? This dude really is the jack of all trades!”. I felt very dumb when I found out that DJ Sliqe and Slikour aren’t the same person. Cats need to work on their AKA’s and stop confusing us. Award Winning DJ, DJ Sliqe dropped his debut album Injayam Vol. 1 in October 2016 which seems to be the first of a sequence of a lot more albums to follow. I mean, if this is volume 1 there has to be volume 2, 3 and so forth. This album features what one would refer to as the heavyweights in the industry right now, cream of the crop: Kwesta, Blaklez, Maggz, Flabba (R.I.P Grootman) Ma-E, Ginger Trill, Big Star, JR, Yanga, Shane Eagle, Reason, AKA, Ricky Rick and a whole lot more, like literally. When I saw everyone on the album I asked myself why Cassper Nyovest isn’t there too? I mean dude has been doing big things and if you gonna drop an album featuring almost everyone in the industry then why not him too? Beef? Arggh, topic for another day I guess. First track I heard from the album was ‘Do Like I Do’ and for some reason I always thought that was Kwesta’s track until I copped this album. I surely can’t be the only one. The track features Flabba and Kwesta, one of the few tracks Flabba was part of before his passing. The late veteran laid down his verse proper with charisma, slickness and humour like he’s always done through the years. You wouldn’t listen to a Flabba verse and not giggle a bit, he made rap fun. We shall never forget you Bra Nkuli Habedi.
The album is okay. It is all trap and all trap sounds the same. It would be a beautiful album for the club scene, not very sure if your typical Hip-Hop fan would relate. There are few tracks that stand out but the album sounds more like a compilation than an album. It sounds like tracks that were just grouped with no clear aim and put on the album. But ‘ke dezemba boss’, get the album and dab your holidays away. Lyrical: 3.5 Delivery: 4
Production: 3.5 Overall: 3.5
A-Reece, real name Lehlogonolo Ronald Mataboge, hails from our nation’s Capital City, Pretoria, and first caught our attention three years ago as a 16-year old when he dropped a single track titled ‘Cassper Picture’ which was inspired by Cassper Nyovest. Knowing Cassper, he could’ve probably took the boy under his wing, show him the ropes and take all the credit because hey, Cass will always be Cass haha. I guess he didn’t see the potential.
The album doesn’t boost too many features but wherever there is one, it sounds perfectly tailored for the track. Amanda Black makes two appearances on the album and then there is a P-Jay and also an Emtee. ‘What U In 4’ is one of my favourite tracks on the offering. On this track, he mentions Proverb, Tumi, Reason, Zeus, HHP and a couple more rappers who we consider pioneers, and you know whenever a rapper mentions another rapper’s name, we always thinking beef. Me being such a huge fan of beef (Not TuPac and B.I.G kinda beef with niggas getting shot in the streets, more of a Nas vs Jigga kinda beef where niggas just test each other lyrically) I actually thought A-Reece was going in on them niggas then I took a closer and much more attentive listen to realise he didn’t say anything that would trigger beef.
I’ll admit, when I first heard A-Reece, to me he was just mere potential, like many other upcoming rappers. I never pictured that even in a million years the boy would drop an album of this calibre and that he’d be one of the few youngins taking over the game today. But damn, I was wrong.
‘Family’ featuring P-Jay and Amanda Black sounds like a track very personal to him, talking about how the struggles of his parents’ relationship affected him and his siblings. Amanda Black totally killed that hook, P-Jay too didn’t disappoint. The production is out of this world. ‘Sebenza’ featuring Amanda Black is a dope track too.
The kid then bagged a deal with Ambitiouz Entertainment and dropped his first single titled ‘Couldn’t’ featuring Emtee, BANGER BANGER BANGER!!! You know you can’t go wrong with Emtee on the hook. Paradise is a fresh, exciting and well balanced album. It has that element of trap that everyone is pushing for right now but above all A-Reece always manages to bring it back to rap. Although he sings a lot on the album, the kid can actually rap.
This album deserves a SAMA, METRO and whatever nominations there are out there where Hip-Hop is represented, believe the hype.
Album Name: Paradise Album Title: A-Reece Record Label: Ambitiouz Entertainment Words by:
Lyrical: 5 Delivery: 4
Production: 4 Overall: 4
The lyricism on the album is not what one would expect from a 19-year old rapping in 2016, this some futuristic sh*t. I know way older cats who don’t even rap like this. Again, I say he just sings a lot, it works very well for him though, I’m just not too sure If he wants to emulate Drake or kanjan but everything he does just gels and merges perfectly. There seems to be slight monotony on the production.
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