Tag Archive | "Hip Hop"

F What You Heard, Local is Lekker!

I can never stress enough the importance of creating musical works that are relevant to your community and region. The concept of ‘think local, act global’ not only applies to business but to an artist’s music and personal branding too. Unfortunately in South Africa there seems to be a proliferation of new artists that ‘think global and pretend to act global.’ They live in the sky and create music that is obviously designed to appeal to a New Yorker or an ATLien (a resident of Atlanta, term coined by Outkast,) and then wonder why their music fails to attract a South African audience. That’s because they fail to CONNECT and make music that is relevant to their immediate community.

The market sees this type of artist as a ‘wannabe’ and an impersonator that is too busy trying to mimic their favourite ‘American artist’. The market does not relate to their stories, energies and packaging; even their slang usage is more ‘Ebonics’ than Tsotsi Taal.

I had the opportunity of working with both Skwatta Kamp and Pro Kid early in their careers. The one thing I learned from both these acts was the importance of representing your true self. Through their music and presentation, both these acts were representing elements of the South African kid growing up in the townships. Pro Kid’s “Ungaphel’ Umoya Son” is a great example of a record that connects to the South African audience. On the record, his message of inspiration is specifically designed for a township kid going through hardships and its references are also things we can relate to; things we have seen, experienced and lived.

Thebe’s ‘Bula Boot’ is another great example. Black South Africans have their own way of partying that is unique to us and this record captures that uniqueness to perfection. I can completely relate to it, and I know the majority of Black South Africa can too. Now there’s nothing wrong with making records about ‘poppin’ bottles’ and that sort of thing, however, you have to be mindful of the fact that most people’s reaction to your record will most likely be ‘A se mo States mo’ (translation”: this is not the States). Fans don’t want imported concepts and ideas from their South African artists; they want music they can feel and relate to.

Remember the formula? CwF (Connect with Fans) + RTB (Reason To Buy) = Success.

If you connect with fans, they will want to hear more of your music. In turn, radio stations will increase your rotation, so will music TV channels/programs.  Promoters will want you at their shows. Brands will want to use you for endorsements and sync your music in their ad campaigns. That’s how you WIN!!!

We all know Kwaito’s success story. Look at the core of what made the South African youth fall in love with the genre and you will realize that it went beyond the beat and the chants. There was a strong emotional connection; it was our own thing, it gave you a different feeling. I can say the same thing with the early 2000s Hip Hop scene, from Skwatta Kamp and Pro Kid to Hidden Force, H2O, Morafe, Tuks and others.

That was the only time South African Hip Hop artists regularly sold albums in large volumes. Skwatta Kamp’s ‘Mkhukhu Funkshen’ went platinum and so did Pitch Black Afro’s ‘Styling Gel’, Pro Kid’s ‘Heads & Tales’ shipped 15,000 units, and so on… Pro Kid was part of a Smirnoff campaign for their ‘Storm’ brand; he was also the face of the MTN’s campaign for the SAMA Awards. Skwatta was doing big things breaking down doors and putting SA Hip Hop on a whole different level. Right now Teargas, Mi Casa, Big Nuz, DJ Cleo and others are running the game and dominating charts, sales, awards, gigs and etc. They all make music that connects.

Next time you hit that booth, think about whom you are making music for.  As the late Dr Mageu would say, “A se mo States Mo!!!”


Hit me up:

Email: Thabiso.Khati@gmail.com

Twitter: @HipHopScholar

Twitter: @360Street

Till the next one.

Posted in MusicComments (1)

Kicking Back with Maxhoba

In the spirit of Kasi Times’ motto of motivating, inspiring and empowering young people, Maxhoba isn’t a surprise candidate for an interview. This all-round entertainer amongst other things, sings, writes music, scripts and script translation, and also owns an entertainment company known as Hobacity.

Maxhoba started out in a group from the Eastern Cape that didn’t quite make their fame breakout a bit over ten years ago. He then went to working and touring with some of South Africa’s greats. He holds teaching and helping South African musicians grow, close to his heart. Hobacity and KBM entertainment have ventured into a production where they’re trying to bring back the live music trend by taking a live show called Back to The Music all around SA. So, after watching a spectacular show and a great performance, I wanted to know more about this guy, and here is what I found out:

Kasi Times: When was your first break into the music industry?

MaxHoba: It was in 2001 when I started working with HHP. We did the Harambe Project and that really started things out for me. It opened a lot of doors for recognition, not only among the youth but other people started taking notice. A lot of people know my stage name, Maxhoba, but don’t know my face.

KT: How do you think the market has changed from when you first entered the music scene?

MH:What I see is the focus has shifted to the money above quality delivery, from both the artists and recording companies. The record companies might have always been about making money, but I miss going to gigs and seeing other artists there to support the performers, not only when they themselves are performing. I’m very happy though about the state of the lifestyle of hip hop, but not the music. There are still a few cats like Khuli and AKA that still do good music.

KT: What word do you believe best describes your artistry and why?

MH: Let’s say I’m a “passionate” musician. I’m truly passionate about music and growing the music industry. When I was younger, the people who ran the industry were probably 10 years older than I am now, and to me that says we’re very close to being the ones that are running it. So if we don’t learn more and teach others after us, we’re going to end up where the Brenda’s and Mahlatini’s found themselves.

KT: How do you think working with some of the biggest names in SA hip hop has affected your career?

MH: I got a lot of experience from it, for instance, dealing with crowds. I was lucky to go through the ‘groupie era’ when I was still young. I can’t imagine only hitting the industry now as an old man in his 30s running after girls. I also learnt about time management and appreciation. And, because I didn’t only work with Hip Hop artists, I obtained knowledge from a different side of the industry, such as when I worked with Bra Don Laka and Ntsiki Mazwai.

KT: What, between launching your career and establishing your entertainment company, proved to be the most challenging?

MH: Well, the singing and music thing are straight up gifts from God. I didn’t have to go hustle anybody or need somebody to come and teach me how to sing; it just happened. The entertainment company is still struggling even today; firstly investors don’t Read the full story

Posted in Music, ProfilesComments (0)

Drinks with Tibz

Tebello Matsoane

For someone whose life revolves around the party scene, I did not expect to meet an intellectual and highly eloquent gentleman who enjoys reading in his spare time. Tebello Motsaone, also known as Tibz, is the owner of Show Love, which specialises in event management and brand activations. Their client portfolio includes MTVBase and Brutal Fruit. Show Love Music manages a number of Hip Hop DJs and multi-award winning rapper AKA. Tebello also co-owns the successful clothing brand, Head Honcho, with friend and business partner Nick Kaoma. We sat down for drinks and this is what he had to say about his life:

KT: How did you get into hosting events?
Tibz: I started planning my own birthday parties and people kept requesting for more. While working with a friend’s company that planned my 21st  birthday party, I suggested using hip hop alone for music and they insisted it wouldn’t work. So, I went solo and that’s how Show Love got started.

KT: How did your association with AKA begin?
Tibz: AKA was with Kamza, a close friend of mine and another guy in the Ivy League, and as I was setting up my website, Kamza hooked me up with his music. Around the same time Nick and I were starting Head Honcho and we needed people to wear it and we got them to do that and we did a lot of collaboration t-shirts with them.

KT: When and how did you start managing him?
Tibz: As we were working together, we grew incredibly close and he became like my little brother. I started advising him on what I thought was missing in his music career. As time passed, he asked me to manage him. Show Love Music started because of AKA and he remains my one and only artist.

KT: Are you looking to manage more artists in the future?
Tibz: With AKA I never thought I’d be in the music industry but it just happened. I prefer working with one artist, client or DJ at a time so that I can give them my full attention.

KT: What are the challenges you’ve faced in establishing and growing your business?
None of my businesses were started with any capital. I literally had to throw a party so I could throw another one and another one thereafter. We did that so Nick and I could get the clothes manufactured and marketed ourselves through posters. It was hard but it brought a lot of lessons with it too. Being so busy in my everyday (professional) life has subsequently put a strain on my personal relationships.

KT: What is the biggest influence in your industry? Read the full story

Posted in Music, ProfilesComments (5)

Q&A with DJ Fanatic

Sitting in during his rehearsal for AKA’s birthday celebration at Hush Bar and Lounge in Rosebank, Kasi Times caught up with DJ Fanatic, whose real name is Thabiso Maphutse. DJ Fanatic is in his absolute element behind the decks and is fast becoming one of the best Hip Hop DJs in South Africa. Being the backing DJ of one of South Africa’s revolutionary rappers, AKA, he sure does have a lot of weight on his shoulders.

We squeezed in a few minutes from his crazy schedule, albeit with several interruptions, but once the dust settled and we finally got to our interview, we discovered a down to earth and very humble guy. Here are a few things we found out about him:

Q: What’s your fondest childhood memory or earliest connection with music?
A: I don’t remember much about my childhood pre-high school but what I do remember is being in the school choir.

Q: When did you decide that music would be the path you’d follow?
A: I didn’t really decide; I don’t even know when I started deejaying. I just saw myself spinning discs and because I really enjoyed it, I kept at it.

Q: Why did you choose to be a Hip Hop DJ?
A: I started out as a House DJ but it felt monotonous. Many people might not know this, but Hip Hop music has more beats and instruments. I saw it as a better challenge and that’s why I chose it.

Q: When was your break into the industry?
I was signed by ShowLove in 2010.

Q: How did you become AKA’s DJ?
A: AKA recognised my skill. My manager, Tibz, approached me and told me that AKA was looking for a DJ. That’s how it started.

Q: What’s the best thing about your job?
A: Travelling and seeing beautiful places, but mostly connecting with the fans and getting the love and appreciation from them – and of course there are certain ‘perks’

Q: What is the most important lesson for those in your industry?
A: Don’t be bigger than the industry. Don’t get an ego and think you’re better than everyone just because you’re well-known. Always appreciate the fans because they are the ones that got you here and tomorrow they can also get you out. Most DJs and artists wonder why people don’t clap or appreciate them after their performance, it’s simply because they didn’t respect the people, so people don’t respect them back.

Q: What characteristics should DJs possess?
A: A certain presence when playing in front of a crowd. Good interpersonal skills and humility. They should be accessible and also stay away from all the stereotypes that surrounding DJs.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make a break into the industry:
If you absolutely believe that it’s your calling, follow your dreams with gusto and don’t treat it like just a hobby. For me, it’s my job and it’s part of me and who I am. Also, stay focused and make sure you have a plan. Stay in school; that’s very important, and teach yourself the business side of the industry as it’s not only about the glam and spinning discs.

Q: Who’s your role model? Read the full story

Posted in Music, ProfilesComments (4)

Why I Don’t Support South African Music

Music Contributor

I’m a big music collector and I’m ashamed that 90% of my collection is made up of American fusion jazz, R&B, Soul, Neo Soul and House music. South African artists complain that we don’t support their music, but what they don’t realise is that there are a number of issues that disable or limit us from doing so. One of these is the issue of distribution. It’s hard to find South African CDs on the shelves of major, well-recognised CD retailers.

For a while I’ve been struggling to find a CD by 340ml, but I’m certain that if I were to look for a Rihanna CD, I would find it within a few hours! I work for a music store. Customers look for local releases but most of them leave the shop dissatisfied, with some considering the illegal downloading/piracy route.

Another issue is that of music choice. What happens to someone who likes R&B in a country where most of the music played on radio is House, Kwaito, Afro-Pop, or Hip Hop? Does this mean that the person needs to switch to those genres for the sake of supporting proudly South Africa music? I have a keen ear for local music that’s fresh; as long as it is good, it’s worth buying. Unfortunately there are few artists in our country who deliver that. Most of them are independent artists but it’s difficult to access their music. As a music lover and a critical listener, I don’t really care much about an artist’s independent label issues. All I want is access to good music.

Some record companies in our country are trying to address these issues. For example, look at what TS Records did for Zahara, a talented musician with something unique and fresh to offer, well-marketed and DISTRIBUTED. Why don’t other record companies do the same with their artists?

Please do share your thoughts and views on this topic?





Posted in MusicComments (11)

Q&A with Zakwe

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

Posted in EzasekasiComments (0)

The Man Behind KZN Hip Hop

He has been in the battle to provide a platform for Hip Hop artists in KZN for 11 years. He is the man behind the Original Material Awards, Hip Hop Ngasekhaya, Moment of Truth, and other countless annual KZN Hip Hop shows. Through these shows he puts artists on the map by providing a stage for them to market their ‘product’ to the public. He modestly denies the fact that he is taking KZN Hip Hop to greater heights; he simply sees himself as a Hip Hop fan. He mentors and inspires many in all elements of Hip Hop. He doesn’t go by an alias; his name is Ayanda Zefrino Makukule.

It is the 29 year old’s ability to pull crowds from all over KZN and gather them in one place that made him the first Hip Hop person to be sponsored by DC shoes. In 2006 he’d organised a charity show that saw 1500 people attending; the following year DC proudly started sponsoring him. His motivation comes from people. He knows how to identify a crowd’s needs and create something out of it. Next year he will be launching Queen Hip Hop, a pageant dedicated to putting the spotlight on ladies. “In all my years in hip hop I have never seen guys screaming for ladies – the ladies are always screaming for them, so I want to give the ladies a chance to shine,” he said explaining how the idea came about.

Born and bred in Clermont, a township in Durban, he is one of ‘amajita’ and admits that he was not always into hip hop. The hip hop dress code is what attracted him to it. He first noticed it when he saw guys from New Jack City playing basketball and he was hooked. From that day, he started playing basketball in and around his neighbourhood challenging other players, all the while, walking the walk and talking the talk. Women loved him because he was different from other guys and guys wanted to hang around him. “Ladies loved me – hot ladies at that! And so naturally, guys wanted to be my friends,” said Makukule in a tone that leaves a person wondering if he is joking or not. It could be his sense of humour that attracts people to him; he leaves the whole room in stitches of laughter whilst he is barely smiling. He might seem intimidating, but on the contrary, he is a friendly, funny, humble, modest and straightforward guy.

Pushing hip hop has never been about money for this qualified engineer. He is just a passionate fan who took it upon himself to help elevate his province’s hip hop level. “It all started with basketball challenges in Clermont, then someone suggested that I start rapping… so I did! I also started doing hip hop shows in my neighbourhood. Now they are spreading throughout KZN,” he said. Even though he is not that much into rapping, he raps because people always ask him to. However, when he touches the mic, only the truth comes out, no matter what language it is in. He has also featured in various mixtapes. His latest is a feature in the Gifted LP which features a number of other Durban artists.

If there is one thing he never forgets it is to pay homage. During the interview, he lists the number of people who have helped him along the way and it doesn’t bother him that some of the people he has helped don’t acknowledge him. Firstly, his gratitude goes to his parents, whom he says he can never thank enough. The desire and willingness to help people was instilled by his parents in his upbringing. It also happens to be one of the reasons why a ‘Makukule’ recording label might never be born; he does not know how to say No to people. He reckons he might end up signing the whole of KZN. Which he just might!

Here is a person KZN Hip Hop owes a big “thank you.”

Gugu Moyo

Posted in EzasekasiComments (0)

3rd Original Material Awards: They came, They saw, They conquered!


The 3rd annual Original Material Awards (OMAZ) were the place to be on Saturday the 29th of October. Not only were they the topic of discussion prior to the day but they are still the talk of the Durban Hip Hop ‘world’. Keep the standard of the show up and they will be the talk of the South African Hip Hop scene soon; a dream one of the founders Ayanda Makukule has, “My wish is that one day the OMAZ will be considered the event of the year, an event that will be the talk in all of South Africa.”

The OMAZ were launched by Makukule and Mduduzi Duma aka DJ Lab in 2009 as a way of encouraging Hip Hop artists and paying due where it’s worth. “The reason why I started the awards is that it’s not enough to just ‘high five’ a person after he delivers a show-stopping performance,” he said. These artists work hard, they deserve to be honoured. Every year since 2009, artists have something to look forward to. They battle to get at least one award out of the 15 categories that include female and male honorary awards.

Zakwe took the Single of the Year Award for Bathi Ngiyachoma, while Flowsik was named the Best Lyricist of the Year.  Dance crew of the Year went to Rebels and Niche Fam scooped Best Video for their single Pretty Girl. Level Underground Squad (LUS) took home the Album of the Year Award.

Performances included some of Durban’s dopest acts like Judas, whose performance dictated the tempo of the whole show. As usual Mhlathi left the crowd begging for more with his single Krump vs House. Female MC SkyWanda performed alongside Apple; it turns out she is not just an MC, her singing is dope too. Abdus, Hydro, Flowsik and newcomer MG also delivered great performances worth remembering. Dance crews included Warrior Knights, who incorporated traditional dances to their choreography, and Floor Assassins who awed the crowd with their flexibility and moves that could be described as art. The atmosphere of excitement that seemed to elevate every minute can still be felt, with people wishing they had the power to turn back the hands of time.

OMAZ always manage to get tongues wagging. This year it was doubled by the impressive changes that came about. The awards show was moved from the usual venue, Pinetown Civic Centre, to the The Playhouse, and admission tickets were available at CompuTicket. It may sound standard, but it is a huge sign of improvement and growth of the awards. The crowd that attended was mostly made up of people that were there in 2009, on the day that marked the first annual awards for Durban Hip Hop. Seeing the facelift of the awards was a proud moment for everyone, organisers, artists and fans.

The man behind the show, Makukule delivered a breathtaking closing performance with female MC SkyWanda that prompted a standing ovation from the crowd. The look on everyone’s faces was priceless; it was a look that said ‘wow it did happen!’ The standing ovation was well and beyond deserved.

*Peace sign up*

Gugu Moyo

Posted in ZikhiphaniComments (0)

Who’s Going to Don the Song Of The Year Title?

It’s that time of the year again: cars are playing the same songs, artists are fighting for the number one spot on music charts, and everyone wants to have fun. For musicians – it’s the moment of truth. Some of them have spent most of the year in studio cooking up songs, hoping that their work will make it to your playlist or music collection for the summer of 2011.

I’m sure you’ve already heard a lot of singles from artist’s compilations; some singles entice you to want to buy the whole album, while others put you off the artist and their music for good!

Around this time last year, artists like DJ Cleo, Kent, Fisherman, Zakes Bantwini, Liquid Deep, Tumelo and Big Nuz, were fighting for our attention. And, Professor deservedly won over our hearts and sold over gold status with his University of Kalawa compilation.

Is it going to be as obvious as last year’s summer on who’s going to claim the most sought-after Song of the Year title for this year’s summer? I think it’s still too early to tell. With the growing trend of using social media networks to market one’s material I think artists have it easier than the previous years, even though having fans showing you love on social networks doesn’t qualify to sales.

I’ve noticed artists such as DJ Sbu, Culoe De Song, Zahara, Big Nuz and some Soul Candi DJ’s using Read the full story

Posted in MusicComments (2)

Jozi’s Moving the City

Jozi Moving the City is set to start airing today on SABC1 at 6pm. For those not in the know, Jozi Moving the City is an 8 Part reality TV show following JOZI (Ishmael Morabe aka Ishmiza and Leslie Mampe aka Da L.E.S) travelling around the world taking their new found muthaland sounds global. JOZi, with their new project manager David kibuuka, find themselves in Swaziland, Namibia, Limpopo, Ghana and Nigeria in the strangest of situations. They finally travel to New York, Atlanta and end up in LA. On their travels they record a new album.

Here’s a snippet of the first episode.

Posted in ZikhiphaniComments (1)

Latest Digital Edition Copy


Some get medals. Some get applause. Some get idolised, and some get glorified. For others – juice and a biscuit is enough


Support Kagiso Trust’s Bold Step Campaign

On Twitter