This week will be cemented in our history as one of great turmoil, loss of businesses, jobs as well as life. Even as this insurrection continues, the true spirit of South Africa is never far.
On Tuesday, at the riot-stricken Jabulani Mall in Soweto, an eNCA field reporter pulled aside a young man with a backpack who claimed to be a rapper.
He lowered his mask and grasped at the chance to be on camera.
“It’s your boy TunezRSA, Kippiza Musiq, Kippiza international. We’re doing this sh*t for the love of the music,” the opportunistic rapper yelled, latching on to the reach he would garner from being on live TV.
“I’m on TV! I made it mamma!”
The joyous words were of 24-year-old Thando Ngubeni – stage name TunezRSA – who was simply trying to spread the word of his music. Ngubeni claimed he was just walking to the studio when he saw a riot and security guards shooting at a crowd.
He expounds: “I got off the taxi and started recording footage for my social media [platforms]. I still think it [looting] is not the way to go and we will find a solution to all this. And I hope people learn a lot from this, both the looters and government.”
“There must be a lesson in all of this, otherwise we have failed as a country, and I won’t allow that to happen.”
The youngster, from Mofolo South in Soweto, has been rapping since 2012 but started writing music when he was in Grade six. His introduction to the mainstream was by chance but he made the most of it as he’s already appeared on Morning Live on SABC 2 as well as Onlife Radio with Slikour and with Thando Thabete on 947.
We reached out to Ngubeni to gain some perspective on what drives an underground rapper and what the overall reception to his animated news cameo has been.
“My friend Bongani used to call me Looney Tunez because my other name is Lunel, a combination of my parents’ names ‘Lu’, from Lucas and ‘Nel’ from Zanele. I used to be called Luny, Looney Tunes and Tunez after I started rapping. I added the RSA when I started studying at ASE [Academy of Sound Engineering].”
He currently has one project out, which is ironically called Ghetto Euphoria. “I am however working on No War No Peace, an album with Jeda Beatz and T Drum, which will drop next year, if ready.
“I will be dropping a lot of singles, videos, EPs and doing features throughout the course of the year till the album is out. You can find my music on all major platforms.”
He describes his sound as more Afro-pop/rap music with a touch of trap and whatever a feature throws at him.
“I draw inspiration from old school South African music, politics, traditional customs, my family and friends, the ladies of course as well as trying to put people on. I also hope to touch on my past experiences more in my music.”
Of course, we had to ask about his stable, Kippiza Musiq. People really responded to him throwing out his label’s name, especially after calming down to answer a few serious questions from the eNCA reporter, and then getting straight back in his self-promotional bag as soon as he could.
He looks to emulate local legends such as Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa, Arthur Mafokate, DJ Black Coffee, Trevor Noah, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Brenda Fassie.
Revealing his star-studded list of people he’d like to collaborate with, he said: “I would really love to work with Freshly Ground, AKA, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Nas, Drake, Post Malone, Zonke Dikana, Lira, Black Coffee, Ricky Rick, Lil Uzi Vert and K.O.”
We had to inquire if the idea is that he’d like to get signed, or just get enough support to run his own label.
“Whatever is meant for me will find me. I’m willing to partner with a label, publishers, management companies and production houses. I am also looking at working with brands that believe in the vision of taking African entertainment and culture to the world stage.”
He has his sights set on attaining creative longevity and the milestones this may come with.
He very confidently adds: “I see myself exposing a lot of South African and African entertainers to the world stage and making Kippiza Entertainment the biggest entertainment company in Africa. I would like to drop an album next year and organise a lot of charity work with my non-governmental organisation Afrikaufela.”