Digital Digger’s Choice: Burgeoning & relentlessly creating a new creative territory with Thiaps.
With “Too kasi for the burbs and too bougie for the kasi” as a description on his Soundcloud profile, you are sure to expect a lot of character from the Johannesburg based wordsmith, Thiaps. Innovative sounds, expression with no compromise and an attitude that is unashamedly South African is what sets Thiaps apart and ahead of the pack. The originality that he boasts can be found in his raps, which is packed with original South African township slang-or one could use the term tsotsi-taal to describe the language used in his music. When listening to his music you are taken aback to an era which entailed Alaska bucket hats, jam-alley with Nimrod Nkosi and Vinolia ‘V-Mash’ Mashego as hosts and Kwaito dominating the South African radio airwaves- and when the Kwaito still shaped South African youth culture. Take those memories of old and mix them with a new youthful flare in 2016. We may have two days left of 2016, but 2016 marked the year where Thiaps released his ground-breaking EP called SUPERFISHAAL.
How often do you get an artist in South Africa or anywhere in the world which can switch between three languages on one song? Multi-lingual artists are rare in the entertainment industry, but Thiaps holds this feat elegantly as he can easily shift from Sotho, Zulu, English and surprisingly a little bit of Afrikaans. The uniqueness that he carries has allowed him to achieve international recognition from Channel ALT from the independent London based radio station, Radar Radio. Thiaps’ creative efforts act as a worthy export to other international markets. The world is clearly hungry for authentically South African music which can give them a sense of what South Africa is like presented through the eyes and voice of a young, black artist that is detailing the daily happenings in the country.
Photo credit: Thiaps Bra courtesy of Facebook
Thiaps is one of the proponents of a new genre in South Africa called Mzansi Mnandi which is a musical personification of some of the experiences that a group of young creatives have gone through and how they choose to live their lives and view the world. Some of the proponents of the Mzansi Mnandi are B1 and XMPL. 2016 seems to have been an interesting year for Thiaps as he also released a collaborative three-track project called 325am which can be interpreted as a play of the word 325is, which is a popular BMW model in South Africa, and AM which may refer to time. As short as project may be, but it has solid theme which is carried through the songs-the songs touch on hustling, being carefree, visions of a life with money in parallel with a life where for one to get the pleasures of having money one has to hustle hence staying up until 3:25 am.
With strong releases in 2016, we would not be too surprised by Thiaps taking 2017 by storm with more quality releases. Thiaps is set out to be a major youth culture landmark like OKMALUMKOOLKAT, who is yet to get the recognition he deserves for giving birth to a lot of the styles that currently exist in South African Hip Hop. Mzansi Mnandi, as a genre and culture, stands a chance to be etched in South African arts and culture history as what Thiaps and his team are working on is inherently original, a worthy export and quality.
Listen to the outstanding EP, SUPERFISHAAL below:
Follow Thiaps on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud to get more updates on new releases and get to know him more.