Zakwe ready to conquer

2012-04-05 09:03

An unlikely hip-hop cat from an unlikely place stole the thunder from under the noses of many stars last month when he was announced as a multiple nominee at the SA Music Awards (Samas).

Clumsily going as “a kasie rapper with a township flair”, Ntokozo Zakwe is from KwaMashu, a place not known for its rap stars.

His ­self-titled album with the hit single Bathi Ngiyachoma, earned him nods in the categories of remix of the year, best street urban album, album of the year, male artist of the year, newcomer of the year and best newcomer – making him one of the most watched stars currently.

What has it been like since the Sama nominations?
It’s been amazing, people are showing a lot of love, not just from the fans but even the musicians.

I did a tour in KwaZulu-Natal and had kwaito artists waiting to perform alongside me, just for the support including Big Nuz, Zuluboy and Bhar from Afrotainment.

At the nominations party, Professor and Character called me on stage to perform with me, so it has been a huge blessing.

Are you surprised by the sheer number of awards you are nominated for?
I am honestly surprised and excited more than anything. I was hoping for just one, but five was just mind blowing, I thank God for that.

Do you feel pressure to win any?
I would love to win one, I hear people encouraging me and saying I will win at least three, but I know I face tough competition and for me, being nominated with MiCasa and Zahara means I made it to a level I never thought I could reach. I am grateful just for the nominations.

What has the reception been like in the hip-hop circles?

It’s shocking hey! but I am loving it. If someone mentions my name in the their top five rappers in South Africa I believe that I have made an impact and it was a quicker process, more than I ever imagined and planned.

Do the Samas contribute to your street cred or are they just approval from critics?

They contribute a lot, they bring hope that rap is accepted in the music industry; we just have to work hard and make good music.

Have you written five different acceptance speeches?
No (laughs) I will probably freestyle if I win an award.

What will you be wearing to the Samas?
I’m not sure at the moment but I’m going for “all black”.

Who do you hope to meet at the awards?
DJ Cleo, whom I would like to work with in the future.

What are your plans beyond the Samas?
To perform all over South Africa, see the artists that we work with do much more that what I did and reach gold with my album sales.

What do you think helped you receive these many nominations with just one album?
The excellent production team I have and great marketing skills from Sphethu (a company I ­co-own), Sony Music and Native Rhythms.

We’ve heard Durban kwaito and house, what can we expect from the hip-hop?
Half of my album was produced by Durban producers and was recorded in the city. So we work hard to be noticed music-wise.

There’s an artist that Sphethu and Afrotainment will be working with, he is a pure kasie rapper and great lyricist, his name is Duncan. His album is due to drop late this year.

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