YFM

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10min1243

AT the time of typing this, the number of COVID-19 deaths in South Africa stands at 15 168. Fatalities, especially when expressed in big numbers can simply go over one’s head as just statistics. But even one death hits hard when you lose someone you love.

I lost my brother, Thulani Ntiwane two months ago and this writing is no way about the virus. But a way of healing and honouring my brother who was by far the biggest influence in my life.

So while awaiting a match between Thulani’s beloved Real Madrid taking on Alavés in a La Liga game, we watched a recorded episode from season five of Black-ish. Aptly titled “Black History Month” the arch in which Octavia Spencer makes a special appearance, where her character pays homage to black persons she believes should never be forgotten. It’s only right I jot this, so that Thulani is never forgotten in the jam of all these numbers.

It is said that influence is when you’re not the one talking, and yet your words fill the room. The influence my brother had on me was just that.

As his name suggests, he was a quiet, reserved and nonchalant lanky dude who understood the power of being an African, who loved music, appreciated sport and who had reverence for knowledge.

HE NURTURED MY EAR IN MUSIC

Thulani would always say that I’m his student, to which I’d reluctantly (’cause of pride) admit. My brother’s music collection, over a thousand discs, was like a radio station’s playlist. A childhood friend of his would always joke that Thulani should be a music producer or a DJ.

In his collection you will find The Legendary Roots Crew, Khabzela’s Mekonko, Busi Mhlongo, Incognito, Mfaz’Omnyama, Maxwell, Masibuyele Kujehova, Brothers Of Peace, Gang Starr, Bill Withers, Hotstix, Lenny Kravitz, DJ FRESH, and so on and so on.

In the mid-90s my Thulani appeared in the Tembisan newspaper, after winning a music quiz that ran in the local publication. He walked away with 2PAC’s All Eyez On Me double-disc.

Thulani was a big advocate for buying original albums. He enjoyed tagging all of his CD covers with the trademark ‘Thulas’…this too was etched on me because, when I started buying CDs, I vividly remember scribbling ‘Bongs’ on my Like Water For Chocolate album cover. He shared music with me, this is why I enjoying doing the same for others today.

I grew up listening to a lot of music, hence I never had any problems even in my career when I was presented with the opportunity to interview great artists such as Musiq Soulchild, Ray Phiri, Mary J Blige or Raphael Saadique- I’d always find confidence in the knowledge my brother instilled in me. I could sense his pride-nothing egotistical, but happy that a seed he planted had sprouted in ways he also couldn’t fathom.

HE INTRODUCED ME TO JOBURG

Thulani was the one who showed me Joburg and how to carry myself in the big city. It must’ve been around 2004 when I first went to Carlton Centre, where we took that long and seemingly unending walk on Small Street. He bought me lunch at legendary boxer Baby Jake Matlala’s restaurant while we waited for the movie Troy to start-also my first time at the cinema.

Although I later grew to know the city for myself, it was Thulani who literally held my hand when I first came to eGoli.

HE SPARKED MY INTEREST IN MEDIA

I remember the days when the YFM studios were still in Rosebank, at the mall. I will never forget the feeling of being inside the Y Store-it felt like I was right inside their studios. He somehow knew it would interest me.From then on, the love for journalism, albeit broadcast journalism, began.

It was Thulani who got me reading newspapers every day. He got a subscription for the paper, and even after he moved out of home, he never stopped the paper from being delivered. Making sure that I carry on reading and engaging with the world around me.

HE CONSCIENTISED ME

This happened through music, books and in conversation. I was listening to the Wolves interlude on the Dead Prez Let’s Get Free album recently and it hit me, that at 10/11 years-old I was listening and reciting lyrics about imperialism and how evil the white man is without real comprehension of what was being said.

I remember when I told him that we’re reading Animal Farm in high school. His strong interest in the book (which he later borrowed) grew my interest.

I’ve read Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like a couple of times. I was first intrigued by the title, but more fascinated that my brother was reading such content. I went in and gobbled me some Biko and nothing was the same.

I doubt Tha Bravado, which has a strong voice in telling stories that are for Bantus by Bantus and inspired by Bantus, if it weren’t for Thulani.

SHARED THE BEAUTY OF SPORT

It’s very normal to support the team your dad or your older brother supported. My dad was a Kaizer Chiefs fan and so is my eldest brother. But I became an Orlando Pirate fan and a Gooner because I grew up watching Thulani cheer on Amabhakaniya and Arsenal.

He taught me how to watch the game of soccer. I remember watching that FIFA 2002 World Cup Semi-final between England and Brazil. Sport really brought us together.

I’m the rugby guy in the fam and he played a bit of cricket and soccer . We both had a strong love for sport, hence we spent his last moments watching a Real Madrid game. Whenever we’d see each other we would catch up on what’s happening, on and off the field.

Till we meet again bro,

Your faithful student.

Thulani Ntiwane is survived by his wife and four kids. His mother, two brothers a sister and two nieces. He was 44 years-old.

Clement Gama03/04/2019
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8min2200

TODAY marks 14 years since rapper ProVerb released his debut album, Book Of Proverb. The project came hard as debuts come, setting the emcee as one of the best lyricist to come out of South Africa. And the world.

Tebogo Tekisho has grown to become more than just a rapper in the industry, now a radio personality, a voice over artist and a television producer. Regardless of the uncanny strides the rapper has made outside of music, he remains one of the fiercest emcees in the country when talking lyricists. Book Of Proverb is the sort of album every kat needs to listen to, for lessons on how to create an authentic Hip Hop album. Because like he said on Microphone Sweet Home

…I drop knowledge, buying my album is like paying school fees, so take notes while I tutor emcees…

Here are five reasons why Book Of Proverb is a classic album:

IT’S REAL

The first box to tick as an emcee, or any participant in the Hip Hop culture, is whether you’re a genuine person or not. ProVerb didn’t come in the game claiming Cape Town or Joburg as his hometown. He is Kimberly’s finest diamond.  I can imagine the sense of pride that people from the city of diamonds had, when they heard Kimberly Rise.

But true to who he is, ProVerb didn’t paint a picture with glitter of the Northern Cape city, he spat about the harsh realities of the place-the high suicide rate and unemployment. But it gave so much hope to the people that, if he can make it outta there, so can they-and that’s some real shit!

IT’S COHESIVE

Back in the day you’d find them lyrical-miracle typa dudes walking about with dictionary in hand, rapping just about anything. This way of rapping often crept into their albums, where they would go on a 20 track tangent. Book Of Proverb was quite solid, taking us into the rapper’s different chapters in his life track-by-track. It could be a long album in today’s project duration, but because of its cohesiveness, you kinda forget that it’s a 15 track album and just let it play.

BEAUTIFUL STORYTELLING

The first verse on My Vers’d Love, where ProVerb paints a vivid picture of his love affair with Hip Hop dating back to his school days, is one of my favourite verses of all time. Even on Where Did She Go, ProVerb takes you through his relationship with a beautiful mysterious girl he first exchanged eye-contact with while performing, to ending up in the sheets with her. His storytelling is gripping as series on Netflix.

HIGH QUALITY OF LYRICISM

Very few kats can easily drop punchlines, metaphors and similes like ProVerb. Some kats have great vocals, and exceptional flow to help better their whole product. ProVerb relies on his skill as an emcee.

Who can touch the Pro’s style? None of

You, barely move me like a school bus with no driver,

Who can bust a flow lava, and who got enough rhymes to be your entire

Crew ghost-writer, the provider,

Grow wiser than a story told by an old timer,

I’m burning up the charts with more fire,

Today’s reading is taken from the Book of Proverb,

It’s chapter One verse one

He raps on Index.

MUSICALITY

Although this is an album for Hip Hop heads, you gotta appreciate its musicality. It has songs that are appreciated by people aren’t devoted followers of this Hip Hop culture. Women, which is an ode to all the women in his life and those across the globe, is a beautiful track that I’ve always felt was slept on. The song is cut of the same cloth as the 2PAC’s Dear Mama and Nas’s Dance.

Songs like Heart Beat and I have A Dream were songs I heard on YFM back in the day, which were instantly appreciated by the station’s various listeners. Sex, Drugs and Alcohol where ProVerb teams up with Tumi and Zubz is a fun joint that puts a spotlight on the dark side of media and entertainment industry which trips a lot of young people.


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