From the bedroom to the backyard and beyond - Hip Hop eKhayalitsha
It’s not very often that a charismatic, socially conscious hip hop crew from Khayalitsha takes a bunch of city slickers to their bedroom for a freestyle. But then, it’s not very often that city slickers go looking for inspiration in the townships.
When it comes to the meeting points of music, graphical and cultural boundaries, there is loads of talent in our own backyard, and when it comes down to it, the gates are generally open. But it’s the backpaths that need more people if the music industry is to make inroads in infrastructure and integration.
In its capacity as connector and co-ordinator, the non-profit Cape Music Industty Commission (Cape MIC : http://www.capemic.co.za/projects.htm) is keen to blend borders and expose artists to each other to facilitate cultural and professional exchange.
Talking shop in the backyard
Almost a year ago, the proactive and progressive Backyard Records manager, Marley Planga, approached and invited Cape MIC to meet the crew in Khayatlitsha. We discussed their history, portfolio, intentions and aspirations in the bus on the way to their hood.
Then, in a typically impulsive display of authentic, original Hip Hop that is tasty enough to test international standards of the genre, the Backyards Record Crew treated us to our own show in their bedroom ‘studio’. Getting up close and personal with their charisma, rhythm and rhyme in the very setting it was created in gave the content a tangible authenticity that only context can.
With a performance history extending from Voice Of Ekasi gigs in malls around Khayalistha to Black Dillinger Tour (Feat. Black Dillinger, MXO, Bongo Riot of Gangs Of Instrumentals) in Gugulethu and Kaizer Chiefs versus Man United at Mzoli’s the boys have proven their commitment to the cause of quality music in the motherland.
And we mean quality. These young men are HOT, passionate, dedicated, brotherly, socially conscious, cheeky and alive. They co-write, self-produce their beats and samples, and spin witty, wise tales about growing up in Gugulethu and Khayalitsha. By investing in stronger relationships, they believe that talent can flourish financially in the Western Cape.
Cape MIC’s focus is on helping them and other musicians, bands, managers, producers etc to make smart business decisions and protect and profit from their talents. Its efforts include a Business Development Centre for artists, workshops on the business of music, Intellectual Property protection, a music industry trade fair, talent exchange and a scoping project to map out the Western Cape music industry.
In September 2006, Cape MIC hosted the province’s first trade fair/ideas exchange. Engaging a range of professionals that feed into the marketing, promotions and communication strategy of local music, the expo put on a performance for the people who usually do the entertaining. Dressed in tables, chairs, flat screens and couches, the Assembly got up early to spend the morning as a lecture space, a meeting space, a showcase of the local design talent involved in branding and marketing music. Cape MIC facilitated a brand exchange between The Backyard Crew and VICE magazine, which meant the Crew came away with a professional photo shoot and VICE came away with cultural kudos that boosts their CSI.
The top note from our experience with the Crew is that our own backyard is teeming with fresh talent. The bottom line is that we want to hear and see more of Kideo's clever Xhosa wordplay, Phoenix's sharp street sense, Point2's provocative philosophies, Vannemerwe's twist and flow, Mashonisa's thick, tight wordplay.