Meet Raheem Kemet: Durban based Hip Hop artist committed to bringing difference to the game

With so much music to choose from, it’s easy to get lost in the streaming maze and forget who the true emcees are and what they stand for. One of these artists who truly captures the hip hop art form is one of Durban’s favorite sons, Raheem Kemet.

Raheem Kemet is an acclaimed South African hip hop artist, songwriter, poet, beatboxer and one of the most respected lyricists that Durban has ever produced. He has been on the music scene for the past 16 years, firstly as an Independent artist and is currently signed by major label, Sony Music Africa. Raheem is responsible for hit singles such as ‘The Fire’, ‘Lampin’ and ‘September

image of raheem kemet
Photo credit: Robyn Jessica Botha

After a busy 2018 where he launched Deconstruct Live, released a single and was performing live a ton, I had a chance to chat with Raheem and cut it up with him about the local music scene, news on any new releases and more.

Thanks so much for making time to chat to me today Ra. First of all, what does picking up the mic mean to you when you perform live?
For me, music has always been something that has been therapeutic, a means for me to channel my thoughts. I’ve always attached it to spirituality. I think of it like words manifesting. When I speak and when I rhyme, it’s like I’m either speaking into my life or I’m trying to convey a message across & speak into people’s lives. Getting behind the mic helps me get through this crazy thing called life. The stage & studio is like a sanctuary, a space where I can channel energies and allow it to manifest into the world.

If Kwa-Zulu Natal had a supergroup of emcees and a DJ, dead or alive, for one show only, who would be in it and why?
MCs: XO, Blackmoss, Solomon of BFG, Manelis, Jet Wentworth, ByLwansta, Champ Tile, HCL, Celestial Mic, Canis Major.
DJs: P-Kuttah and The Brother Brother Experience.

This was a tough one to answer as there are so many more dope hip hop artists out there that I didn’t mention. I feel that all of these Emcees encapsulate what a lyricist is all about and are active on the scene except for XO who unfortunately passed away. Whenever I have l have seen these artists perform live, it challenges me to be a better Emcee so I salute them all as they push the game further upwards.

What are you working on musically at the moment and can we expect any music videos or releases in 2019?
At the moment it’s all about the music man. Right now I’m focusing on key features, it’s an element I feel is needed and I have the time to work on this currently which is exciting. I can’t say who the tracks are with right now but they will feature some exciting local and international artists who inspire me. Artists that I want to be aligned with and have their listeners find my music and vice versa. There will definitely be some music videos on the way in 2019 and maybe a full body of work too album wise, an EP or a few singles.

What do you think the Durban music scene needs most at the moment?
Creatively and musically I feel like the scene is perfect right now. The most important thing I feel like the Durban scene needs is a music business infrastructure. Artists from Durban have been suffering for years due to the lack of this infrastructure and have had to travel outside the province to tap into this. If you look at the type of people that really blow up in SA you will see that they are mostly from Durban.

image of Raheem Kemet
Photo credit: Njabulo Mgubane and Juice The Giant

Are there any local Emcees or Hip Hop groups in Durban or anywhere in SA that you are really excited about at the moment and would love to collab with?
YoungstaCPT– Really like the homie’s movement especially with the type of vibe he is pushing right now culturally in Cape Town and the identity of the people, it’s powerful man. I can relate to it as I’m a part of the Zanzibari community here in Durban and I feel a responsibility to teach people about my culture.

Champ Tile– I’m excited about him as he is really nice with the pen, his stories and content is very relevant. I hope people start to recognize him more soon.

ByLawansta is doing powerful things in the Durban Hip Hop scene and all over SA.

Stogie T– I admire what he is doing on the scene.

Rouge Rapper is dope and really killing it at the moment.

Otarel (Lerato spelt backwards) is lit!

What is your ultimate dream music-wise?
I’m a huge fan of Anderson .Paak and Smino, it would be a dream to work with them. Being in a studio with The Roots and collab on a EP or album with members of The Wu Tang Clan, Talib Kweli, Black Thought and Mos Def would be the ultimate scenario.

Keep an ear out for Raheem Kemet, 2019 is going to be a huge year for this Durban Emcee. Check out his latest track, Never Late, from earlier in 2018 if you haven’t heard it already.

Follow Raheem Kemet on Facebook, SoundCloud, Instagram and YouTube.

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About Author

Llewelyn Screen Llewelyn Screen is a Cape Town based freelance music writer who is passionate about the underdogs, the up and comers and new age innovators pushing South African acoustic music to new heights.


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