In Conversation With North The Jap: Tembisa Born DJ/Producer Inspired By Sounds of Yesteryear

Tembisa is in good hands with the rapidly growing creative scene driven by the youth. Among these youths is a versatile instrumentalist and DJ known by name North The Jap (real name Leroy Hlalele), who dabbles in genres such as kwaito, electronic beats, neo soul, hip hop and alternative music.

I had a short conversation with the talented producer after coming across his work online. Hailing from a township was integral in the rise of kwaito; with groups like the Izinyoka pushing the genre forward inspiring a generation of creative youth in Tembisa. “I grew up living in the streets of Tembisa. Most of my sounds tells a story about where l come from. My production is a fusion of electronic music and kwaito music which I call Future Elektronik Kwaito, but I’m a ‘all-in-one’ producer, setting a limit to my production is really not my style” he shares about his hood and how it inspires him.

image of north the jap
Image supplied.

It is quite clear that his surroundings, upbringing and the artists that came before him influence him heavily. “I produce any sound! As long it is good for my ears and it is good for the public” he shares about his views on his music and how he views the process. The young producer has been producer for about nine years and he shows no signs of stopping. “I started producing around 2010/11, I never knew what I was doing but I had a feeling that one day I’m going to get it right” he explains. Like many producers, North The Jap, is introverted and keeps to himself, and on this he says: “I’m a self-taught producer, I always had a problem making friends around my hood, so I was always indoors messing around with Fruity Loops 7 demo till i got better at it. My inspiration behind the genre ‘Future Elektronik Kwaito’ is that electronic music been part of my life and I’ve been jamming to it similarl to how I jam kwaito music.”

North The Jap is a force to be reckoned with and is definitely a new kid on the block to look out for.

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Sipho Sagesensei Pindela Johannesburg based DJ, playlist curator, mix compiler and creative writer. Born in 1997 and gifted with creative skills to change the world.


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