“I’M from Pretoria, Shoshanguve to be exact. Tsonga speaking through and through. You can even hear the traditional Tsonga guitar or vocals in the music I produce. It’s my culture and I would also like to carry it with me in my Hip Hop journey,” says rapper Joint Pusher.
Often as black people, we shun at our own culture, until it’s embraced and sometimes misinterpret by Caucasians, in Eurocentric spaces. This was evident at the release of the movie, Black Panther. The euphoria and the passionate African pride that the movie brought was embarrassingly funny-that for black people, being a proud African was also just a phase that came with the movie and now is gone.
You see this every September in South Africa, during the heritage month. The veteran rapper, Joint Pusher is preserving our indigenous sounds, through sampling that music and making it Hip Hop. “We been sampling international musicians for days. It’s time we chop up our legends so they can relive in the music we put out,” he says.
His project, the Heritage Tape truly explores this. On one of the tracks, Afrika, he features emcees Quest Yahkeem with poignant spiritual ensemble, BCUC providing the vocals. The kick of the beat gels well with the native sounds from BCUC.
Joint Pusher has a couple of features on the whole project, including SCF clique member Shynin Armour. Bar-dropping emcee, Mothipa is on a track titled Never Give Up. While New York band Thunderlions from New York did the African Mist song with him.
Released independently, the project was produced by Joint Pusher himself, with Tuxman and KG from the colony group of producers. He says it’s been challenging getting the project marketed, since it’s not the usual Trap sound nor is it strictly Boom-Bap. “I hope to get heads aware that we can also use our African instruments and sounds to flourish worldwide. You don’t want to get to a point where you’re featured by an act from overseas, and all your beats have the same samples he rejected at home or heard elsewhere.”
But having an artist such as Sjava in the mainstream, who celebrates his culture even in his music, shows the diversity in the local Hip Hop scene. “I believe we have just started to scratch the surface. We got to identify and carve the South African Hip Hop sound and it’s up to the yougins to take it forth just like Naija music, the way it’s taking over the world and its authentically African, you don’t have to look for it.”