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10 Dec, 2018

Music

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7min1050

Remember when Cassper Nyovest told Sway he was South Africa’s Kanye West, or when Nasty C said he had not experienced racism in South Africa- the rappers were speaking their truth, but one can’t help think that they could’ve worded their statements differently and with more astuteness.

On both occasions, the youngins gave skewed representation of what really happens in South Africa. People were divided in opinion about their presence on the radio show. But what’s been evident since Stogie T’s appearance on Sway In The Morning, is the unanimity in which everyone was in praising the OG.

Comedian Kagiso Mokgadi joked that “The Rand strengthened one percent vs the doller today. Thank you Stogie T.”

While Osmic said the verse should be studied in labs, high school and university, to which OG rapper Wikid agreed with, commenting “He murdered it”.  The most random adulation came from former Orlando Pirates soccer player Kermit Erasmus. “Our own legend, @TumiMolekane spittin barz, this gave me goosebumps.I had to call him to let him know,” wrote Erasmus on Twitter. While South African sprinter Akani Simbine dubbed Stogie the “Undisputed lyrical king.”

“From the interview to the best freestyle I’ve ever heard on Sway show. Personally…I am thoroughly represented here,” tweeted rapper Solo.

But there was no bigger nod than that of The Roots’ Black Thought, who sent Stogie a message simply saying “You a beat bro.”  Which left Stogie speechless.

“The moment you feel like dumming shit down, go play @TumiMolekane freestyle,” said Rougue.

Fellow lyricist of the year nominee at this year’s Hip Hop awards, PdotO tweeted “We were well represented on Sway. Thank you for that king. Mean! Mean mean.”

No has ever doubted Stogie’s pen game, but what made South Africans proud was because most people felt that his skill has long warranted him to be on such platforms.

He articulated himself well in the interview, narrating to Sway South Africa’s Hip Hop history. He did the stuff of globally celebrated South African athletes or pious politicians, in how he gave the country that fuzzy feeling inside.

It was also a win for local OG rappers, after the tough year they’ve had losing three giants who impacted the game on different levels. Wherever HHP, Pro Kid and Ben Sharpa are, they glowed with pride upon hearing Stogie rap.

Sway aptly said “Stogie T, South Africa’s finest,” as he was about to go in. He not only represented South Africa, but the African continent. His bars had more weight than Biggie, Pun and T from the V sitting on a park bench.  He brashly started by saying

There ain’t a French bottle we ain’t pop

A fresh article we ain’t copped

Benz top that we ain’t dropped

A dress model we ain’t knocked

A festival we ain’t rocked

Destined to be this hot,

He was basically saying to the American audience listening that ‘hey, I might be from that dark continent but, you ought to show me some respect’

Rapping about how in today’s South Africa, struggle heroes are raising spoilt kids and the opulent only meeting the deprived when the latter come clean after them. Directly talking to the country’s inequality.

He challenged stereotypes that Americans always pin on Africans, whilst also showing appreciation of Hip Hop culture in the US and Malcom X.

I’m a Kool G Rap alumni,

These my handlers, the kufi Nas from NY,

Jesus medallion, reading Langston Hughes,

El-Hajj Malik el Shabazz and them,

Shit in the pocket like the Audubon assassin

I couldn’t help but think of Irish poet, Oscar Wilde’s quote, “with age, comes wisdom,” after watching the whole interview. He showed wisdom, not only in conversation with Sway, but also with his raps which got a lot of people pondering on a lot.

He posted a photo of himself at what looked like the Roc-Nation offices, with a caption implying that someone there wanted to meet him. He said going on Sway was something on his bucket list, but it might just be the first step to next level shit for Stogie,since Tumi from The Volume dun did that and got the T-shirt.

 


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6min331

SO I got hold of this album around the same time I got Kev Brown’s latest project. Both albums are by dope producers who are unforgiving in the dismantling of samples.

But what stood out to me when I began bumping Apollo Brown and Joell Ortiz’s Mona Lisa, is that these producers need to chill behind the mic and hand the scrumptious beats to dope rappers.

I couldn’t even get through Kev Brown’s project, it was dope but too long and listening to him rap makes me cringe. Apollo and Joell coming together is perfect as the black and white on a chess piece. It works.

Cocaine Fingertips epitomises the duo’s chemistry. Not once did I get a sense that Apollo compromised himself for Joell, nor vice versa. But like a perfect relationship, the two brought the best out of each other.

Joell is a fine storyteller I first came across a couple of years ago through Eminem’s passion project, Slaughterhouse-one of the dopest rapping cliques the game has ever witnessed. That he could stand out, standing next to Cooked-I, Joe Budden and Royce da 5’9” says a lot about Joell as an emcee.

I’ve listened to his work and till this day Free Agent remains my personal favourite in his discography, but Mona Lisa sits right next to it.

What makes Joell more pleasurable to listen to on this album, is that he’s on beats you wouldn’t often have him spit on. They are heartfelt thanks to Apollo’s penchant of cutting old school soulful joints. These are the sort of beats usually reserved for kats who would sign for Mellow Music Group- dope kats, but a bit too lethargic and quite frankly, too mellow. Joell rips these babies apart, bar after bar.

Joell does get on his mellow shit though on Come Back Home, being introspective about his career and life -admitting that he’ll never pop in the game like mainstream rappers do. The beat that reminded me of Apollo’s 11th Hour and Know the Time (both from his Clouds project). Despite being all smooth in narrating his story, there’s a part in the second verse of the track where the lion that is Joell cannot be tamed. Saying;

I keep it pushin’, beat cookin’
Rep Brooklyn, give whooping’s,
Through the pen like it’s summertime in the bookings

Kats from Brooklyn rep their hood, with every opportunity they’re presented with and Joell takes you through Brooklyn projects and the goings on there in My Block. WIth so much pride. It’s a Hip Hop head’s joint, with a number of rhyme schemes he has on display.

Add ’em a lil’ water, that Eve, I hit the block
Long as I got that ‘cain, I’m able to flip the rock,
I swear to God, I finger-fuck this fortyorty,
like we in a orgy, and have these bullets shakin’ up
whoever comin’ for me, sexy thot talk from a G that pulls strings

Petty as Timberlan’d Up with Royce is, it’s a funny ass dope joint of grown men going hard on new age rappers. It would’ve been doper though, had the two went back and forth together in the last verse.

If you’re into dope raps on rich beats, then Mona Lisa is for you. It might be a bore to one who isn’t into real raps, but wants hooks and catchy beats. Joell has nice quotable punchlines, which helps make his music stick.


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8min460

BY definition, a milestone is; 1. A stone of a kind that use to be fixed beside a road, to mark the distance between towns; 2. A significant stage or event in the development of something.

The latter is where we’re at. So nominees of the seventh annual South African Hip Hop Awards were publicised exactly a week ago.

There were a couple of eyebrow-raising names, or the lack of, such as AKA in any of the categories- he decided to snub SAHHA because as he put it “I no longer submit for award shows because I no longer believe in the concept of awards”. Ironically there is the return of Nasty C, with eight nominations, after choosing not to submit any of his music last year. Zakwe, Kwesta, Da L.E.S and Cassper Nyovest are the other leading nominees.

Founded by Sowetan Osmic Menoe, the SAHHA have upheld consistency for seven years now. Ritual Media’s dependability should be noted-we had HYPE Magazine Hip Hop Awards that fizzled in the past. Regardless of the winners of the night, one always leaves the SAHHA with more discernment of the South African Hip Hop landscape. They put a spotlight on people you’ve never heard of, from provinces afar, who love Hip Hop with the same passion of a Hip Hop head in Brooklyn. This whilst celebrating past and present leaders of the game.

But one guy who gets nauseating love from SAHHA, is Cassper Nyovest. For the fourth consecutive year, Cassper is the recipient of the Milestone award at this year’s SAHHA. The Mahikeng rapper is a hard working kat that could and should never, be juxtaposed to any of the fellas nominated in the best Lyricist category because he is not one. You could argue that he’s an artist, who found a way to manipulate the game in ways that many never imagined.

At HHP’s memorial service, he said the deceased foresaw his stardom. While HHP’s hype man, Nyovest would nag the OG to sign him, but Jabulani Tsambo would turn him down because he thought Cassper could and should make it alone. “He said I’m not an artist that should be signed, I could be a business man and should be as big as Lil Wayne,” said Cassper.

Unlike the late Tsambo, I would liken Nyovest with MC Hammer. The latter is considered the first mainstream rapper who had a financially rewarding career, by pushing boundaries and being smart enough to use gimmicks and other things around his music. Unfortunately Hammer was a spendthrift, which was one of the reasons for his disgraced fade. I don’t foresee Nyovest in those sort of troubles, especially because he’s an independent artist.

His filling of The Dome in 2015,the inaugural Fill Up concert, will forever be etched on the history of South African music. Prior to this he used his ponytail and beef with AKA as gimmicks to push sales, but Fill Up gave opportunity for Cassper to display his ruthless marketing skills.It was a success- success which swelled his ambition to turn a once-off concert to an annual event. Three years down the line, Nyovest has filled Orlando Stadium, FNB stadium and is currently fiery than a campaigning student activist, as he attempts to fill up Moses Mabhida stadium. He will have that beauty in Durban to capacity, come December first.

The dude is in his moment, and you can’t front on that. Now as much as these are great feats, do they warrant him the Milestone award for four consecutive years at the SAHHA?

Are we saying that should Cassper, as I expect, go throughout the country and possibly various parts of the continent filling other stadia, be given this award until he runs out of breath? This is not about Cassper. Let the black man get his bag while he still can. But he can’t be awarded for repeatedly doing the same thing, just at different venues. The novelty of Fill Up died after his concert at the Dome ended that night in 2015.

It’s just not logical for the awards to continue on this trajectory, with the Milestone award in particular. For the safety of not sounding like an advocate for anyone, but the country’s Hip Hop, I will not even suggest who besides Cassper, deserved the Milestone award in the last few years. But take my word, there are people who’ve put in work deserving of a Milestone award. Osmic didn’t respond to questions surrounding the award.

This ruins the awards’ credibility with the fans and artists alike. It could be the reasons why artists sometimes choose not to participate, with the fear of headlines that read “SO AND SO LEFT THE REST STUNNED AFTER SCOOPING ALL THE NIGHT’S AWARDS ” as to suggest that one’s music or work isn’t good enough nor appreciated by the masses because of a gong.


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8min691

“ONE thing about music when it hits you, you feel no pain,” sang the immortal Bob Marley. To perhaps add to that, if an artist’s live performance doesn’t hit you, you may find yourself eternally scared by that experience.

I’ve not been fortunate enough to witness folk singer Adelle Nqeto live, but I’ve already been hit by her recorded compositions. God willingly in just a few hours from now, she’ll break that ice. Her music is so calming, that the imagery of her breaking anything is absurd.

The singer from Pretoria performs in Tembisa’s 4ROOM Creative Village this evening, as part of her national tour which has seen her travel more than three provinces. In each province, she consciously plays at small, intimate spaces which accommodate her music leaving onlookers with that fuzzy feeling inside. “This will be our second time playing in Tembisa, and we’re looking forward to it. Our bass player couldn’t join us last time around, so it’ll be great to play again as a trio. We had such as warm reception last time- we knew we wanted to come back,” Nqeto tells me.

In September she returned to the country after playing Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. It wasn’t her first time gigging in Europe, “but it was my first time with my band though,” she says.

“…we’ve had great responses most places we play. I suppose there’s something novel about us when we play in Europe, being from the African continent, and we’ve had especially great responses over there.”

Some of the things she dabbles in while travelling, is try out different foods. “I also like to know the history of the place, as well as the art, so I do read up about that too, or check out museums and galleries.”

Apropos the band she keeps mentioning? It’s two fellas, drummer James Robb and Dylan du Toit who plays bass. She’s an ardent soloist who understands that being alone, is as valuable to her art as collaborating. “I’d like to be as versatile as possible, depending on the show. I still do play solo, but I especially love to have James and Dylan around, so the three of us have become the core for now,” Nqeto puts it to me.

Adelle Nqeto(center) with her band, James Robb (L) and Dylan du Toit (R). Photo by Susan van Tonder from Tiger & Lilly Production

Her vocal control is unassuming; it has an innocent fierceness to it. She’s the fine epitome that big things do come in small packages. But she’s had no formal voice training at any institutions, but with simplicity says she’s just been singing all her life and “learned a lot along the way. I’ve had few vocal lessons-to hone in on technique, but mostly, I’ve learnt a lot through experience.”

First time I heard her voice, I thought Soundcloud had made a mistake with her name, I expected the vocalist singing on her debut album Lights, to be a Caucasian female. I’m just another statistic, as other people too were gobsmacked by her race. “There are some interesting assumptions about my race, which are always great conversation starters,” she says.

 

There aren’t any songs sang in vernac in her album, but says she can and does write in isiXhosa. “I have reworked a song I wrote in French into isiXhosa that I’ve played for a French project I join every now and then, and have written some songs in isiXhosa that haven’t yet seen the light of day.”

She has a cocktail of musical influences, from Miriam Makeba, Ella Fitzgerald, Mango Groove, Ray Charles-all of whom she grew up listening to, added with the alternative music of Radiohead, Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens.

Last year she released her heart-warming and soul reviving album, Lights.  The ditties in there have a sense of one who has overcome demons and realised the light inside themselves and those around them.  A bit like those sisters that have just taken up Yoga, using Namaste as their only pleasantry.

“The songs on Lights were written over a few years, with some difficult periods of course. I wasn’t going through a difficult time when I wrote Lights [the song], specifically, I was looking back at the bitter-sweet end of a relationship.”

They are headed to studio for a follow up to that album, which could be expected early next year she says.


Clement Gama11/07/2018
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5min450

BACK from a brief self-imposed hiatus, Nasty C receives a handful of nominations for this year’s South African Hip Hop Awards.

After feeling unappreciated for his efforts in 2016, Nasty C boycotted last year’s SAHHA, this was during his time as a Mabala Noise artist. Now under Universal Music Group, real name David Junior Ngcobo, seems to have had a change of heart towards the awards. “There’s no one we actually have a problem with and speaking on the Nasty C issue, we’re still not aware why they chose not to send, but it’s always love. The awards are for the community,” founder and organiser Osmic Menoe says.

Nasty C has had an amazing year, avoiding any possible sophomore jitters, he released Strings and Bling this year and has managed to stay in conversation prior and post release.

He was recently part of BET’s SA cypher together with fellow current chief emcees A-Reece and Shane Eagle. Strings and Bling is nominated in the album of the category, where Nasty C will battle it out with Da Les’ High Life, Cebisa by Zakwe, Baby Brother ya Blaklez and K.O’s SR2.

For his pen game on Strings and Bling, he is nominated in the salivating Lyricist of The Year together with Zakwe, Stogie T, Ginger Breadman and PDotO. The Best Remix, Collab, Radio Show, Video, Song of the year and Best Male and Female categories will be voted for by the public. The awards take place at Gold Reef City’s Lyric Theatre for the seventh consecutive time on December 19. “We have made a home out of the venue, we appreciate the professionalism and love they always show to the awards,” says Osmic.

Nasty C is nominated twice in the Song of the Year category, for Send Me Away and his collaborative joint with A$AP Ferg, King.  The same track is nominated as one of the best collabos of the year, together with Boity’s mystifying Wuz Dat. Nasty C is nominated eight times, or nine if the collab with Boity is included. Also in there is DJ Speedsta and OKMalumKoolKat in Combos Communicating, Riky Rick’s Stay Shinning with Cassper Nyovest, Professor and Major League DJs- among the list of 10 tracks nominated.

The ceremony will be broadcast on SABC 1, after being on e.TV and MTV Base in previous years. “We still with SABC 1 after the good numbers last year of 2 million viewers. We felt at home and appreciated the fact that they were willing to take a chance.”

Other artists who have a slew of nominations are Zakwe, Kwesta and Riky Rick.



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