A MUSIC video is to a song, what an image with a good caption is to an article. It takes the story forward.
Just five months ago Riky Rick said he was taking a break from the spotlight in the music, but last Friday he surprised most with the release of a spirited track, I Can’t Believe It (Macoins) with gripping visuals.
The song and the video presentation is currently being slept on in the country. According to Riky Rick, some television channels won’t air the video because of the content. He said this while thanking MTV Base on Twitter, for playing the video on their platform.
The ill-judgement of some of our broadcasters is perplexing. Local broadcasters aren’t proactive in their presentation; they always prefer to follow a trend instead of being the ones to initiate the conversation. This is just one of the reasons why television lags behind the net, but not everybody in South Africa can afford to watch videos on YouTube due to exorbitant prices of data.
I can imagine an ocean of people chanting the chorus, when Riky Rick performs this joint live. He repeatedly says he wants more money, then sounds in disbelief in the hook, not because he has gotten what he wants, but at what it cost him it seems. That’s what the visuals relayed.
But instead of money, a group of eccentric individuals seem to desire freedom more than anything- to be themselves within an uncomplimentary society. The freedom comes at a cost though, as one of them commits suicide, which then sparks the revolt. The interesting part is that, everyone fighting for something is part of the riot, not only the small group of friends who lost a comrade.
Directed by Adriaan Louw, the video took the conversation stared by Riky Rick in his rhymes, to another level. They chose the perfect time to shoot this, managing to capture beautiful light under Joburg skies, while Marco Filby’s Art Direction was complimented by the cast’s believability and wardrobe.
With the abrasive, in-your face beat Riky Rick reminds everybody who he is in the music and creative space. Steeped in Hip Hop braggadocio, from the first verse he states why 10 years in the game, he still manages to remain relevant throughout the country. But it’s his second verse on which he bluntly raps
I’m in my element, my regiment
Taking over is imminent,
Drop one song per year, and stay prevalent
Old niggers say my name to stay relevant
I couldn’t help but think of Stogie T when I heard those lines, despite the fact that the two recently settled their feud, which was sparked by Cassper Nyovest saying Stogie did nothing for him, during an acceptance speech at the South African Hip Hop Awards last year. iVenda LaKwaMashu, as Riky Rick is known on Twitter, was in Nyovest’s corner and also slammed Stogie for claiming other artists’ success.
The song has a similar refrain as Pick You Up, which came out earlier this year but unlike that joint, he raps in vernac on I Can’t Believe It (Macoins) and sounds original, rejuvenated and grimier. iVenda LaKwaMashu isn’t the lyrical-miracle typa rapper who will get battle kats like Kriss AntiB and Don Veedo salivating at his every line. But his hooks are catchy and he speaks his truth and a lot of people can relate to that shit.
ON a day the country celebrates Women’s Day, we wake up to the sad news of Pro Kid’s passing.
Linda ‘Pro Kid’ Mkhize died on Wednesday night from a severe seizure attack while at a friend’s plac. The paramedics are said to have attempted to revive the 37 year-old, but it had been too late.
Just last week, tributes were pouring in for another rap giant Ben Sharpa…now Pro Kid’s spirit is on the receiving end of these tributes.
Often juxtaposed to each other largely because of their monikers, Proverb wrote a touching message on his social media accounts. “Praying the news is not true, but if it is then my brother I wish you a safe passage into heaven. You were indeed a pioneer, a legend and once an incredible emcee. For the record I never considered you a ProKid but rather a ProKing!”
Maggz, who worked a lot with Pro in their early years in the game tweeted “A dark day-lost a brother, a friend, and a kindred spirit today, brutally heart-breaking. R.I.P Prokid.” One of the dopest songs the two laced was Celebrate which featured Sgebi. The two brought out the best in each other whenever they were on the same track.
While Stogie T summed up Pro’s travels in his career saying “From Le Club to Slaghuis to YFM to Soweto to Loxion Kulture to Backpack Rap to Gallo to IV League to TS Records to Dankie San to Rap Battles to the Charts to Superstardom to one of the best ever to do it. I am leaving a lot out. Horrible news.”
Whether a PR exercise or a genuine sympathetic message, but Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa also sent his condolences. “We’re deeply saddened by the tragic passing of lyrical genius, pioneering Hip Hop artist Linda Mkhize (ProKid). ProKid took rapping in African languages to great heights and he will go down as one of the greatest and most influential Hip Hop Artists of his generation.”
Pro leaves behind timeless music he released in his career that spanned for nearly 20 years. He released five albums; Heads & Tales, DNA, Dankie San, Snakes & Ladders and Continua. There are a number of rappers from ekasi, but Pro stands above the rest because he was able to make music, not just barrage listeners with comical punchlines with each line. A stellar artist who paved the way for this skrru skruu generation. He was second to none, whether spitting in his native language or dropping bars in his English, on beats by Dome. The last performance I got to see of the rapper was just weeks ago at Basha Uhuru.
The game changing rapper is survived by his parents, wife, three year-old daughter and his brothers. Details about his memorial service and funeral will be announced in the coming days as the family comes to terms with the sad news.
When the phenomenal Keorapeste Khositsile started poetry, the best way to get to people was probably through live performances. While the class of Lebo Mashile showed that television could be taken advantage of. Nomonde ‘Sky’ Mlotshwa is a culmination of both, dashed with the overt ingredient that is social media.
“Without social media I’m nothing,” Sky admittedly says. “It would’ve taken longer to get gigs, interviews or the newly found recognition of Sky as quickly as it has if it weren’t for social media.”
The post ’94 era of hardworking poets such as Napo Masheane and Mashile has inspired this millennial generation to speak their words and not feel weird for wanting to make money off their art, from a young age. Not to suggest that the class of the Sipho Sepamla never worked hard, but they weren’t just working for themselves but were doing so with liberation movements against the draconian apartheid government.
This year marks a decade since poetry has been a catharsis to this East Rander. From jotting mere rhyme schemes to now receiving comments such as
“Nomonde I love your poems!!! Where were you all along…keep up the good work girl,” and “Muhle umsebenzi wakho MaMlotshwa,” from some of her viewers on YouTube.
Shot from her Samsung Galaxy Prime, placed on a window seal at home, the videos which were first only relegated to Facebook Notes until her manager suggested she share them with the rest of the world have now an average of at least 1 200 views on YouTube.
“Especially because it takes a little while for poets who are on the underground scene to get recognised, the world responded and so I kept supplying,” says the 24 year-old.
She posts the videos on a weekly basis, depending on the blockage to her writing.
Sometimes you would hear a train in the background in the videos, but disturbing as it is, it’s equally enjoyable because it’s authentic. She says her inspiration is spread out as her work ranges from how Zodwa Wabantu’s frolics affects us as a society, unprincipled married men or simply her high school crush-you’re captivated by her voice and everything else in and around the verse she’s delivering. “For me poetry is a feeling, a vibe and a need to be at that time, so that’s why my dialogues are wide spread.”
She let her feelings known to Stogie T when he told a hopeful rapper to ditch the dream and rather focus on getting a decent job where he’ll be guaranteed a decent living. While others decided to body shame Stogie, Sky was recording a video responding to the acclaimed rapper’s statement. That piece she recorded ended up a verse on Stogie vs Black Twitter.
“It has opened more poetry doors and receiving attention from a wider audience that wouldn’t really listen or vibe to a poet. It has placed my name in a higher ranking,” she says of the collaboration.
As with other art forms poetry isn’t one dimensional in ways of generating income. A lot of today’s renowned poets are committed to their grind which rewards them with recognition as well as remuneration. From MC gigs, literary and art festivals or even government gigs are some of the opportunities open for wordsmiths. Trio Magnum Opus has a column in the Saturday Star Newspaper’s poetry column, which they titled #PoeticLicence.
“One thing I am extremely passionate about is being a radio personality which thus far has boiled down to being a voice over artist. I also believe that other callings will emerge after I have grown as much as God wishes me to, to receive the bigger purpose.” Sky says. She recently worked with YFM to create a jingle for the station.
As much as social media has and will continue to connect her with people she never thought would appreciate her work, she still wants to break boundaries like those who came before her.
“I want to make a living off poetry, to wake up in different countries just to deliver my voice. I dream of a day where poetry is placed as a musical genre, where it grows beyond the internet. I plan to make poetry more highlighted in today’s youth so it may stand strong for generations to come.”