“I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they (the whites of South Africa) have turned to loving, they will find we (the blacks) are turned to hating.”
Ok on that note, let me start with some more stuff from my man of the moment:
CULOE DE SONG:
WHERE WE STAYED – LONDON ROAD, KENSINGTON
Yep, SA’s equivalent of London’s Kensington. It was an upmarket part of Johannesburg, predominantly white! Not too dissimilar though to a Prison because all the properties were protected to the hilt with big alarms and armed call and response “shoot to kill” warnings!
Also there were huge electric gates, iron frames around all windows and electric fences all around the property and the toy that every white surburban property in Jo’Burg needs, the guard dog!
I think these places were more secure than the pads at Guantanamo Bay! Ironic – imprisoned by their predecessors’ past history of depriving others of their physical and mental liberty!
This was kind of depressing and I thought it was mighty strange and pretty desperate to try to continue to live in a supposed “free society” in this way. But then again, of course I did not live there everyday and was not aware of peoples’ experiences.
So, maybe, they had a perfectly sensible rationale or fear for living in this way but I kind of doubt it though. It’s probably more to do with the media’s exaggerated moral panics and maybe their own paranoia.
It made me think, that if after Apartheid, wealth had been redistributed a bit more fairly, maybe it would not have to be that way!
No, I was not there on a social or historical docu-drama footing and neither did I have the knowledge, education or full understanding in SA politics and history to understand or make sense of all this. I was there on a musical journey. However, in spite of that and quite unintenionally, I really could not help but notice all these negative things cause they stood out to me clearer than the daylight I was standing in!
Of course Mundial did not send me there to come back and say things like this but they did not tell me I couldn’t either. This is based upon my own experiences and my own personal interpretation of how I saw things. It might be wrong or it might be true. I don’t think it’s wrong though to feel saddened and angry at any form of injustice and unfairness, indeed it would be wrong not to feel this.
Ok, let’s get light and what better way than to grab some more freebies chosen completely randomly cause I have not had time to listen to much of this stuff. At 128, grab it here!
Anyway, onto the next stage of our journey!
We had a very busy schedule today and it started with us attending at the offices of HYPE MAGAZINE.
We meet with the hip hop magazine founder, journalist and Vanessa Paradis look-alike, Simone Harris.
We spoke at length with Simone (or Vanessa..lol) about her magazine, it’s origins and it’s present position/influence within the SA hip hop scene.
Simone is an extremely articulate and intelligent young woman and you can catch her full interview in the coming weeks.
In the meantime here’s a mixtape straight from the mag to give you a flava of what it covers
We then head off for some lunch and for our next scheduled appointment with DJ Bob.
DJ Bob has been ever present in the Jo’Burg music events scene since 1991. He is a DJ, Booking Agent and Events Producer.
As a DJ, he specialises in Funk, Afro-Funk, 60s-90s Classics, Afro Beat, Latin Grooves, South African Music, Brazillian Grooves, Lounge and Jazz.
He handles bookings for a range of artists such as, Tumi, Louis Mhlanga and Kwani Experience.
Indeed, when Bob met us, he was accompanied by Kwelagobe Sekele from the Kwani Experience and we managed to speak to both of them about the music scene in SA which we will come back to in the coming weeks.
In the meanwhile here’s some vids of the Kwani Experience, kinda Jazzy SA vybz.
We next meet up with one of SA’s most in demand and proficient hip hop producers, Dome, at his home studios.
Dome has worked with a host of artists in SA including current hip hop monsters 985.
He looks like P Diddy and clearly enjoys being at the centre of our attention as he plays us some of his beats, released and unreleased. Dome makes beats not only for local hip hop acts but also for major labels worldwide and for TV etc and he is earning a good living from it.
He seems to be fully conversant with the business world and being an effective businessman occupies a very high priority in his music dealings.
Here’s some stuff that he’s produced for 985 and we’ll come back to him again later in the coming weeks.
GHETTO RUFF PARTY
So after we have interviewed Dome, we go for an evening meal. The fact that a menu has an entry called “2 Russians” makes for some good fun and frolicks between us and the local boyz Enzo, Thabang and Proff!
We then go on to the party that Ghetto Ruff throw in our honour which we feel is a tremendous gesture on their part.
There is a problem though, we have to also catch JR at his live show that same evening as we were unable to meet with him the day before due to his very busy and hectic schedule. JR has just delievered a huge big hit in SA and so it’s an opportunity that we just cannot afford to pass by.
So we have to make some compromises and inform the good peeps at Ghetto Ruff that we’re coming but can’t stay all night
To make things worse, here also was a great opportunity for me to DJ but one big problem, I did not bring any of my music with me. We did discuss this before we left for SA and Vince and I just felt that with the schedule we had outlined, we just would not find any time to DJ anywhere and hence why I did not bring any music with me.
We arrive at the party at Ghetto Ruff studios which is kicking into shape.
We then discover another new talent recently signed to the GR label, DJ ACE who is dj’ing and playing mainly his own tunes. Man, we’re being blown away, once again!
DJ Ace is on a Deeep African House vibe, but of the kind that makes most western produced House sound so blaaaand!
Will try to stream some of his tunes soon.
So we stay for a few hours and listen to some reallly gooood stuff and grab some free goodies from Ghetto Ruff including some DJ NKOH, yeaaahhh!
Oh, I also have to pick up a Music Award for DJ Swami that he won for his Engineering work on Ishmael’s album. I promised Lance I’d take it back to the UK to Swami who resides in London but who is originally from my home city, Birmingham!
Man, it was a very kind gesture by Ghetto Ruff to throw a party in our honour and we were very thankful for it. Of course they understood that in view of our limited time in SA, we had to do what we had to do, which was to move on!
So we have to head upmarket to Sandton to The Blues Room.
The Blues Room has earned itself a reputation as a top-class live music venue and has been voted the best jazz and blues venue in Johannesburg for four years in a row. It’s an American-style club with a superb sound system and is frequented by local and international artists five nights a week.
So we get to a fairly affluent looking area, where all the “Black Diamonds” hang out, and head into the Mall in which the club is situate in an area known as the Beverley Hills of Jo’Burg. Our names are on the VIP list (as per usual of course) and we head down some stairs.
As JR has a Top 10 smash in SA at present, I imagine that the venue would be packed out with screaming young pre-pubescent gurrrls as JR seemed to look every bit the Teen Idol kinda star.
Upon arrival however, I am proven so wrong as the venue audience is made up of young to middle aged rick folk and only a quarter full. However, the atmosphere is electric & JR is already on stage strutting his funky monkey!
Indeed, he is quite a performer, like a cross between Prince, MJ and James Brown. Man, his band are “tight” and as funky as hell. He has a great stage presence becoming lover, joker, brother and pop god all at once to the audience who lap up everything he gives.
I am really impressed with this dude, man he is a hard worker and his performance on stage is charming, very professional and entertaining. He really cuts it live with a band and I can see lots of potential in this dude.
After the show is over we get to have a chat with JR backstage and we have a very interesting debate on music sales etc and as to what makes him tick.
At the same time, we also get to have a chat with Pro Kid, Teargas and 2Lani from Do It Now Recordings who are also there to offer their support to JR.
We will stick up all that chat in the coming weeks.
I know Vince already put this video up yesterday, but it’s worthwhile watching/listening again 😉
Back to Vince 2morra with part 5!