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Karabo Joesph Moeti is a Lesotho born YouTuber who is currently studying in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. His content varies from personal life experiences to conversations with his peers about different life issues and experiences. He is back with a short film entitled WHY DO I CREATE?. This short film came about after a conversation with his sister and his housemate about his content on YouTube. “I was contemplating quitting YouTube because my effort put into my videos versus the feedback I was getting did not match up he briefly explains what prompted the short film. “So I had to go back and reflect, questioning myself multiple times why I create. Do I do it for the audience or myself? I had to ponder on this because I was getting stressed and I was starting to forget why I started making videos in the first place” he elaborates. In his reflection, Karabo was able to exceptionally execute his vision and let us into his creative process and pours out his heart explaining why he creates. “The day I had the vision it wasn’t clear but I knew where I wanted to start and ended up almost being bitten by a snake which didn’t divert me” he explains how the video was recorded.
Born Lee-Roy Tinashe Munemo, WHOISMEDICATE is one of the many upcoming Zimbabwean born artists based in the diaspora. He recently released a music video for his song entitled “Sorrow”. “The video is just to show people how beautiful nature is and that you dont need a high budget video to make a good music video” he explains the concept behind the video. “Sorrow” is a song about heartache; when you let someone in and they butcher your heart hence “you took my heart to the grave” in the lyrics.
Durban MC, the critically acclaimed Raheem Kemet, dropped his latest music video in April and it’s one to tell your homies about. The stunning visuals to Raheem’s ‘SomerSALT’ track from Sony Music Africa are out and it’s a real introspective look into his life in Durban, the ups and downs and what the future holds. This is one hungry MC who is ready to take over 2020.
Keep your eye on Raheem, follow & stream this local artist before he blows up all over Africa. Follow him on Deezer, Spotify, Facebook and YouTube.
Born Ndzabaletimnandzi Mngomezulu, R.K is one of eSwatini’s underground rappers. The young wordsmith is not new to the industry with over 10 projects under his name. R.K mentions winning the Francophonie 2015 Rap Competition which led to him performing at the Bush Fire Festival in the same year and performing at numerous events in the city of Shenyang, China as well as some of the highlights of his career.
The Cool EP Vol.1 is more of alternative/chill hip hop with some really cool samples here and there, layered into a pretty solid offering, with R.K rapping like his life depends on it. “What motivated this release was where I was in my life, and musically. I felt inspired and energised to approach and create a body of work in a way I never have, which was exciting and liberating,” he explains what motivated the release of the EP.”I’m forever looking at ways to express myself and grow in my craft, so the desire to grow was also and still remains a major part of why I make new music”, he elaborates.
At the core The Cool EP is about finding yourself, loving yourself, and being yourself. Allowing yourself to be you and do you. It’s about honesty and growth. All of this presented into a vibe of a project.” I’ve been describing it to myself as “head in the clouds” type music. You kinda end up drifting when you listen to it”, he briefly shares about the EP.
Formerly known as “Wavy Gorilla” Bauer Larson is a Swati born artist and writer with a distinct voice and colorful skill-set. His music often rotates between exuberant optimism and harsh realism. His music can be classified (but not limited to) as Hip Hop and Rap music, with subtle elements of Jazz and Funk. Lars is obsessed with the minor details that most people overlook and he is known for planting layered Easter Eggs throughout his songs much to the delight of rap nerds and music critics.
Born Gcinizwilenkhosi Bauer Saint, Larson Dlamini, Bauer Larson is an artist that has always been creative and has evolved from making comic books and short films to being the future of eSwatini’s hip hop. “I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember. Back in Primary school, my best friends and I used to make comic books at my house after school. In early high school, I used to make short films, animated sketches, and skits for my drama class,” he shares about his motivation to be an artist. “When it came to music, I was spending a lot of time behind the scenes helping people tell their stories, then I realized I had my own story to tell. No one pushed me towards that revelation, the desire to express myself artistically has always been there, I just hadn’t acknowledged it until I decided to tell my own story. In a sense, it was very much self-motivated,” he adds.
Bauer Larson recalls receiving an acoustic guitar for Christmas and playing it all day with no direction before being taught by his cousin (Sands), as some of his childhood musical memories. “The first Hip Hop video I ever remember seeing was 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’. I was probably 4 or 5 years old when I saw that. I didn’t understand what the song was about, but I thought it was cool seeing someone rap upside down,” he continues to share about his childhood memories.
We had a chat with the Taiwan based artist and this is how it went.
Who or what motivates/inspires your music?
Life! My music and creative work is based on the human experience. On life in the real world, not an Instagram fantasy or a GTA video game. That’s why so many people are able to connect with the music on an emotional level. As long as I’m alive, I’ll always have something to write about.
Take us through your song making process?
I don’t really have a formula for writing songs. tbh (to be honest). I do a lot of journaling and sometimes I turn those thoughts into song lyrics. Sometimes I randomly start freestyling stuff and I build concepts around raw ideas. In essence, I make projects. I rarely make throwaway songs. When making a project I usually have some themes and concepts I want to explore so I let my curiosity lead the way. Once I find something solid, I’m able to draft track lists and use titles to represent the themes I want to break down.
You recently released a project entitled “Behind Closed Doors”,briefly share the concept about this project and the whole storyline behind every song?
There’s sooo many layers to this. I’m looking forward to people dissecting it and picking it apart. So, I won’t give away too much here.
Early on, the concept was to bring people into my inner world. Overtime that concept evolved and I developed it in a way where it starts off with me on the outside of a door that leads to my dreams, solid relationships and more. Which then concludes with me on the inside, having crossed over. The project begins with me leaving home and embarking on a journey towards my dream. It then concludes with me returning home a new man having witnessed many things, collected battle scars and formed deeper rooted relationships.
Milk & Honey: This song is about our dreams that were killed coming back to life. About finding the drive to push towards the end goal.
Watch Ya Step: This song is about me finding my own path, I tried to follow in my father’s steps but I couldn’t find my footing because his path is unique to him. Destiny isn’t hereditary, so I had to take the first step along my own path. This song is also about the paradox of progress. About how the closer you get to your goals the further you feel. Progress isn’t a reliable measure of success because it doesn’t always mean you’re going in the right direction. On this song, I was wrestling with idea of taking your time vs racing against the clock. Taking your time can lead to procrastination, whereas rushing leads to mistakes and fatigue. It was interesting for me to try and find the grey area or a balance between the two extremes. On top of that, it’s about handling the drive and passion we have when pursuing our dream responsibly to avoid burnout and overworking ourselves.
Eviction Notice: This song is about rest. Finding rest in God, giving certain relationships a rest and letting my past rest in peace.
Moving Day: This song is about growth and self-acceptance. Coming out of your protective shell and becoming the person you were created to be. Flaws and all.
Locksmith: This song is about being open. It’s about inviting God and trust worthy people into our lives, and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with one another in order to build lasting relationships. This song was birthed from my need to connect with people. I wanted to feel welcomed and accepted as a broken and imperfect person. And, the first step was to be welcoming and accepting of others.
That sums up the journey of self-discovery this project was for me. There’s a lot I haven’t mentioned because I don’t want to spoil too much for the audience. There’s a bunch of Easter eggs people have found yet. Happy trails!
How has the reception to the project been?
It’s been incredible. I refused to dumb down the content in order to be more appealing because I trust my audience. I don’t look down on them, I know they’re intelligent. I’m really glad they’re enjoying it! I work really hard, my creative work has so much value to me and it’s personal, so sharing it with my audience and the rest of the word is always a big deal for me. I don’t share anything unless I enjoy it, otherwise there isn’t much of a sacrifice involved. One major takeaway people should get from this is that there’s joy on the other side of sacrifice.
Who produced the project?
Milk & Honey: Produced By Good Snacks, Recorded By Patrick Kung, Mixed & Mastered By BeatNine09
Watch Ya Step: Produced By Yolophonik, Recorded By Patrick Kung, Mixed By Qiniso Motsa &Mastered By Brian Mkhonta
Eviction Notice: Produced By Zee Will of Blu Makic Beat Co, Recorded By BeatNine09, Mixed & Mastered By BeatNine09
Moving Day: Produced By ULTRV, Recorded By BeatNine09, Mixed & Mastered By BeatNine09
Locksmith: Produced By Zee Will of Blu Makic Beat Co, Recorded By Patrick Kung, Mixed & Mastered By BeatNine09,
Written & Performed By Gcinizwilenkhosi Bauer Dlamini
Executively Produced By Bauer Larson
You featured Yellow Bud and Yanda, how did these collaborations come about?
Bud and I went to the same Primary school, so we were already familiar with one another before he started putting out music. I had such a great time listening to his debut project “Late Bloomer” (which came out around this time last year). I remember wanting to understand the project and the artist behind it more, so I met up with him to reconnect. We met up, spoke about life and had a chill day. Then I played him some early drafts of BCD, as well as a couple of beats I had from different producers. The Moving Day beat stood out for me because it was something neither of us recognized as familiar territory. So I asked him if he was game and he was all for it. We documented the rest of this collaboration and you can watch the track come to life on Episode 2 of the Mini Documentary Series we made surrounding the project. It’s available on my YouTube channel.
Yanda and I go to the same University and have classes together. We never really spoke until a friend of mine told me he was performing at a school event with her. I remember being shocked because I hardly ever heard her speak out loud, yet alone sing. I was curious, so I asked her about her singing the next time I saw her at school. She was really humble about her ability so I immediately knew she was incredible. We started talking more and more about music amongst other things and I gradually became at ease with her. She’s really cool! Before I got a chance to bring up the track that I wanted her on, she suggested we collaborate on something sometime. A couple weeks later we went to Pat’s studio, by then I had already written and recorded the song so all we needed were her vocals on the chorus. It was her first time in a studio setting so I booked an hour of studio time so she wouldn’t feel rushed. She knocked it out the park on her second try, which was within the first five minutes of our session…
I’d love to work with her again. She’s got a lot to talk about in her music, which excites about what’s to come from her. I don’t know when she’s releasing some solo material, but when she does, we all need to press play and listen.
Eviction Notice was the lead single for the project, briefly tell us why you chose those songs?
It felt right. We needed to make a statement and that’s what that song did. In comparison to my release prior to Eviction Notice, the difference in quality, content and substance is night and day. It gave people a reason to wait as long as they did for the project.
What are your thoughts on the current state of eSwatini’s music scene?
I think it currently is in the best place it’s ever been. I’m not the most cultured on Eswatini music, I mostly listen to my friend’s music and they’re killing it right now. There’s a lot of great music coming out. I don’t get to hear everything, but what finds its way to me is usually really good. We have amazing artists in the realm production like Good Snacks, ULTRV, Brainz, BeatNine09 & YungOvee. As of late, I’ve been listening to Yang, RK, Grixxly & Amrig.
My favorite thing about the creative bubble at home is how connected all the artists are. I really call people and people really call me. No ego or nothing, just some young innovators trying to create art at the highest level possible.
Who is currently your favorite artist from the kingdom?
I haven’t heard everyone’s creative work. I’ll focus on Khile because he’s got a large catalog already. Khile (FKA Kaizen) has been one of my favorite artists for a while now. He makes original, conceptual, and intellectual music. I love the honesty, complexity, and layers in his writing as well as the soundscapes and textures in his production choices. It’s only a matter of time before his music catches on. I can see him breaking out the borders into international territory. I’d recommend “Woah Now”, “Dissipate”, “Precipitate”, “Flotra Freestyle” & “Flight”.
Being an artist based in the diaspora, how has it been?
Such a great question! As much as I love Eswatini, I did need to leave my comfort zone to spread my wings. Studying in Taiwan was the fresh start I didn’t know I needed. There are more opportunities, avenues, and resources available here for me to be creative. Being away from my friends and family allowed me to grow as a person. In the past, I’ve noticed that you’re not allowed to dream past a certain level in Eswatini. There’s a limit. My team and I are wired to go above and beyond, that’s our own standard. That’s why I have admiration for people like Kwandzile Bhembe, for playing a role in breaking down the boundaries of creativity in Eswatini.
What have been the highlights of your career?
So far, it’s been making and releasing ‘Behind Closed Doors’. Honestly the journey towards the finish line is more fun than the actual finish. The process of bringing the vision to life and connecting the dots is exhilarating for me. I’m not invested in the praise and admiration our creative work receives. I know that if I get attached to the praise and affection of people, I’ll get clingy and start doing whatever it takes to get applause. That’s not me. I’m not here to be liked.
Where can potential fans gain access to your music?
Everywhere! When it comes to releasing music, our top priority is making sure everyone has access to the music. Soundcloud and Audiomack are really popular platforms for music in Eswatini, however, a lot of people out here in Taiwan (and the rest of the world) use Spotify, Apple Music, and other DSPs, so I wanted them to be able to obtain the music as well. Our music is available wherever you listen to music. In fact, a member of our audience recently let us know that the YouTube links for our project weren’t working in Eswatini. So, we immediately manually re-uploaded it so everyone back home has access to the music.
Get to know more about Bauer Larson here.
Antidote Indie is a subsidiary of eSwatini top underground music label Antidote Music, and recently came through with another banger of note. This time around it is an amazing freestyle from by famed eSwatini based hip hop extraordinaire, Grixxly (formerly known as Young Grixxly), entitled Energy Freestyle. On this freestyle Grixxly flexes, showing his production skills and proves that he can spit fire and is definitely coming for for the throne. After dropping a stellar verse on Mzwaa’s D.F.W.M song, we were all looking forward to hearing more of Grixxly and he has definitely delivered. Accompanied by a stunning lyric video by Unicornindickies, this drill beat freestyle is a dawn of a new era for the kingdoms hip hop and rap scene.
Stream the freestyle on SoundCloud below.
Born Madoda Nsibandze, Oxygen is eSwatini’s latest hip hop sensation who has taken the industry by storm. Nationally known as “The Sensational Oxygen”, the rising star has won over the hearts of many with his charismatic, abstract and show-stopping performances. With the moniker adopted from his high school days, Oxygen aims at giving life through his music and art.
“My music is inspired by the emotional side of daily life on an abstract basis” he explains the inspiration behind the music. “To think and feel outside of the box but still be able to relate to what some may feel about a situation and all its factors” he elaborates. Oxygen’s music is timeless in its lyricism and musicality. With a mixed balance of calming progressions, soothing harmonies yet energetic articulation, Oxygen gives listeners across all age groups something to jam to with the ability to modernize an old school sound. Proving his diversity with every record he releases; the world class performer fits perfectly into any genre or sound he tackles yet still maintaining his authenticity.
Briefly tell us who is Oxygen?
Oxygen is a hip-hop performing artist who believes in and promotes positive living through his music. He considers the stage his home and transforms when he jumps on it, thus the title “The Sensational”.
What or who made you fall in love with music?
Oxygen was born into a musical family where his father and mother were choir conductors in the award-winning Melodious Voices Chorale, which has now been dissolved. Music has always been a part of Oxygen that one may say he is music.
Take us through your song making/writing process?
Oxygen’s song writing process starts with coming up with a melody according to the feeling within him that he is trying to instil in the listener. Meditating on it, he then blends vocals according to the story or concept of the song then the lyrics flow. Magical experience.
In 2019 you were involved in the first MTN Spotlight competition, take us through that journey ?
The journey through the MTN Spotlight competition was an emotional one but very educational. Emotional because you just never knew what was going to happen or who was going to get voted out after giving each round your best efforts. Very educational because it taught ‘The Sensational’ not to crack under the pressures of the competition, especially because he had to write memorise and perform his original songs each week. All round amazing experience.
What effect did the competition have on your career?
The competition definitely jumpstarted Oxygen’s career because of the quality of the stage performances. Many people followed the competition because they would support their favourite competitors and stumbled upon ‘The Sensational’ and many other amazing talents. The MTN Spotlight competition made the top 3 finalists shine on the night of the finale and that set us all on the way to becoming who we needed to be.
You most recent release is a song entitled “Phree” featuring Zoe Genesis, briefly tell us about that song?
The single ‘Phree’, made with The African Rockstar Zoë Genesis, is an amazing jam to be featured on because of who Oxygen is featured with. The working environment was great with energies in synchrony from the beginning
How did this collaboration come about?
She approached Oxygen with a concept of a love inspired song for summer and he immediately loved the potential of it. It was also a way of showing what else Oxygen had in store other than just rapping. Beautiful experience.
2019 was an amazing year for you, what was your highlight?
2019 was a Sensational year for Oxygen and the highlight for him came courtesy of the 2019 MTN SWAMA Awards ceremony. Oxygen was set to perform and when he entered the stage, he got a standing ovation without having said anything. This indeed was the best moment for ‘The Sensational’ in 2019.
Can we expect a full body of work from you this year?
Most definitely. Oxygen has a new single out titled ‘Come Closer’ which dropped on the 2nd of February 2019 and is available on all major online music stores such as iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and more.
Locally and internationally what is your dream collabo?
Locally, Oxygen’s dream collaboration is with Nomalungelo Dladla. She is a beautiful singer and performer. However, KrTc of Hip Hop is not far down the list. Internationally, Drake would best suit the sound and style of Oxygen for a feature.
What are some of the difficulties that you have faced as an artist and how have you overcome them?
One difficulty was having to quickly learn how to deal with the pressure of the expectations of Oxygen. Another was proving to family why music was the correct decision for Oxygen. However, dealing with the pressure contributed to the quality of the music and the fire behind each performance.
What is some of the best advice you have received from anyone in the music scene or beyond?
The best advice came in the form of a statement by KrTc of Hip Hop saying “Nothing changes if nothing changes”. To better the situation you are in, you must change either your approach or what do entirely for what you want to change to start changing. Best advice ever.
Where can potential ‘fans-to-be’ get access to your music?
Anyone and everyone can access my music on all online music stores.
Stream the ‘I Am Here’ EP.
Stream ‘Come Closer’ below.
MotherLand X is one of eSwatini’s music label which is always pushing boundaries and elevating local artists. In the recent months they have been hosting a social Sunday event called Pop Sunday which has been well received by the youth. Since its inception, MotherLand X was founded with the main aim of shining a light on producers. “Producers are clearly undervalued all over the world yet they do most of the work behind the scenes”, Rendition (co-founder) explains MLXs background. Inspired by movements like Soulection which highlight the importance of celebrating producers and giving them the same respect as artists. In its 5th year since inception MLX has grown in leaps and bounds and has elevated eSwatini’s music scene with some of their notable achivements being featured on a number of international projects – with the most recent being Rendition on uSanele’s mixtape, DJ Ohpis perfoming at the Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival, hosted DJ Shimza in December, unearthing new talent – Remedy (one to watch) being the most recent and countless other achievements.
MLX has grown to be a collective of not just producers but an entire spectrum of the creative industry (DJs, photographers, artists, fashion designers, videographers etc). King of the Boards is a new concept show in collaboration with Deck Life Events. The event is called Social Saturday Beer Garden spear-headed by DJ Mkay and it will be hosted at the Albert Millin. With an outdoor upmarket setting, young and diverse crowd this is set to be one of the popular events in the capital city. King of the Boards will be a segment which will feature two local producers to compete against each other. “The challenge to the producers is to captivate a crowd of over 500 people with their beats with the crowd deciding on the eventually winner” Rendition explains the concept. “The battle will be broken down into three rounds, with each producer playing a beat for 2 minutes per round and then the crowd decides on the winner” he elaborates. Each round will test the producers ability to grab the crowds attention considering three different elements.
This new initiative will profile the kingdoms hidden talent and give producers the same platform and respect that artist get. Performances and deejay sets have been scheduled in between the rounds to keep the crowd entertained. With the ultimate goal of this concept is giving bedroom/budding producers the chance to showcase their talent and open doors for mentorship or even collaborations.
Swazi Jive entertainment is back with another superb to kick start the year. At the beginning of 2019 the had their first ever cypher which was well received and saw the president of Swazi Jive also drop some bars. The 2020 cypher is fresh and flaming hot, from the setting of the video to the Wigo produced beat and crazy bars spit by the lads. The cypher features Luci Gang Child, OG King, Jurie, Jody Brown, Able Klein and Steez One of my favourite things about this cypher is the beat produced by Welile Wigo Mthethwa, the beat has a lo-fi feel with some incredible samples put all together into the perfect freestyle beat any rap would love. Major credit also goes to all the rappers featured on the cypher, their delivery and breath control was just impeccable with the end product being nothing short of sensational and their lyrical content was on point with room for improvement. A major shoutout to DIREKTOR ALPHA and Focus Tales TI who snapped on the visuals. The visuals are fresh and clean with the setting blending perfectly with the grimy yet lo-fi beat and hard delivery from the rappers(who are trying to prove a point), encapsulating the whole concept of a cypher. This is a great way to start the year by Swazi Jive after a silent 2019 and an exodus of most of their artist. Credit to all the rappers featured on the cypher, we hope to see and hear more from them.