The new buzz in Motswako

2011-01-21 13:38

Notshi (literally meaning “bee”) is causing a buzz in the local rap ­fraternity with his album Insert Coin.

The ­20-year-old, whose real name is ­Kabelo Oageng from Itsoseng in North West, has garnered a lot of attention from music lovers for his rhymes and apt lyrics. He spares 10 minutes to chat with us.

What are you about?

I do what I love, money is a bonus. I started ­rapping in 2004 but I was influenced by music at a younger age.

I was not in a rush and I got my lucky break in 2008 when I met DJ Lemonka ­after he had heard my song on the streets.

He ­included it on his mixtape and from there he ­included me in his stable in 2009.

What are you bringing to the table for ­Motswako rap as a new-school musician ?

I define my music as the new school of ­Motswako. We mix Afro-pop, R&B and whatever genre we like to add a new flavour.

You can add Ntando into your song and all will be good. The only problem is that there’s so much focus on competition in Motswako instead of working ­together.

Can Motswako be conscious rap?

It definitely can. Tuks’s Monopoly album is a ­perfect example. I also have a couple of ­anti-­xenophobia tracks which call for respect. ­Motswako is not only about parties and having a good time.

Who is the greatest Motswako rapper of all time?

Even before I could meet and work with these people I always felt that Tuks was great.

I still think so.

What have you learned about life coming from ­Itsoseng? Is hip-hop alive there?

I left Itsoseng to live in Mafikeng and then went back.

When I got back, hip-hop was alive but at that time it lacked a push.

We had hip-hop ­sessions on Sundays and we could see growth in artists.

There is a future for hip-hop, all we need is passion and not just the desire to be like ­someone else. It should come from the heart.

What inspired songs like O Ikepela Lebitla and Ako O Reetse?

I wrote Ako O Reetse from my experiences as I was growing up. It’s about the youth losing focus and children selling their bodies to survive – bad choices that young people make when there are other options.

O Ikepela Lebitla has happened to a million artists when they are caught up in drug abuse and contracting HIV.

It’s sad to want to achieve something and when you get to it you die. These are the things I see happening.

How important is it to you to rap in Setswana?

I feel that what’s in my heart comes out better in my home language of Setswana, better than any other language. I can’t express myself to the ­maximum in English.

How did you manage to maintain such high production standards, who did you work with?

I’ve learnt from a lot of people that with your first album you should not sacrifice and cut ­corners. Working with Lemonka I knew I could get any producer or any beat I wanted.

I worked with the Ivy League, Towdee from Morafe, DMonk and DJ Hypnosis, and many talented producers who have not yet received public attention such as ­Instro, Leano, Big Junky and Apu.

What can we expect from you this year?

I will push to promote Insert Coin and will have two music videos out before July.

I will tour all the provinces and then embark on a high-school tour because there are young fans who can’t ­attend gigs.

I’m taking piano lessons at a music school in Joburg so I can also venture into production, and my tertiary studies will continue.


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