23-year-old rapper, Zakwe, is a young man with a steep road ahead of him. He has chosen a path that is littered with casualties. He has chosen to venture into a world that applauds shallow thought and rampant avarice. He has chosen to be a rapper!
The journey to Hip Hop stardom is a perilous one. Most get booed until they dissolve into a puddle of tears and the rest get strangled by dismal sales or pummeled by the rising cost of looking like you have money, or all of the above.
So just by jumping into this precarious world Zakwe already has his work cut out for him. But instead of just going with the swagerrous flow he has opted to swim against the tide. No frills, no funny dance-step and no lies about BMWs. What you get from a Zakwe track is a whole lot of lyrics, mountains of verses and some words sprinkled over all of it. The beat seems to be an afterthought. It’s clear where he wants your attention focused. The brother is not trying to make you dance or dream of riches. He wants you deep in thought about…um…to be honest, he lost me in the vernac.
The torrential downpour of Zulu washed my attention away instead of drawing me in. I found the verbiage to be quite cumbersome. But what do I know? I’m quite the girly-girl when it comes to Hip Hop. I like my Hip Hop well-marinated in bass, deep-fried in swag with a side order of dance. Rick Ross, Drake and J. Cole are my people. When I want to get ‘deep’ I turn to my bookshelf for the treasured company of Tolstoy, Marquez and Morrison.
Fortunately for Zakwe the number of people who suffered the same fate as me seems to be a small one. Overall, his appearance on the scene is being met with applause and respect. His single ‘Benzani’ is enjoying a generous amount of attention on radio. It even reached number one on Yfm’s Hot 99 Hip Hop countdown. He sees the role of rapper in today’s society as being, “To paint a picture in a rhyming format and be the mirror of the concept of a track.” Pretty vague, but it seems to be working for him.
Zuluboy, Pro, Proverb, Abdus, Mr. Selwyn, and AKA make the list of his favourite rappers. There is a theme running through this list. These are guys who have tried to carve out their own identity in the music scene, as opposed to regurgitating what is already being done. It’s no surprise then that his advice to young rappers is, “Don’t do what sells, sell what you do!”
That may be the key to surviving the perils of the Hip Hop world. It’s a recipe that’s working well for Zakwe. His decision to turn his back on the fluff and produce music of substance seems to be paying dividends. He kindly answered some questions for this Hip Hop Girly-Girl. Read the full story