Rap/hiphop is an ever-evolving art form that mesmerizes the soul and titillates your eardrums as you are drawn in by the words of a lyricist who artistically weaves stories that remain etched in your mind. Just like poetry, it allows you to escape into a world where you can become whatever it is you want to be and perhaps even channel your inner 2Pac, Dre, Eminem and Snoop Dogg (slash Lion slash whatever he calls himself nowadays lol).
It is no doubt that hiphop is big and it is here to stay. There are quite a number of artists in the game but there is one talented individual who is definitely transcending hiphop boundaries and adding what he likes to call a much needed “conscious element” to the game. Thuthukani “The Activist” Ndlovu is the artist in question whose poetic roots give him the ability to spin tales that take you from bobbing your head to snapping your fingers to doing the dougie and back -and still wanting more! He is not your typical booty-poppin’ bubblegum rapper like Juicy J or Young Thug though and I implore you to join me, as I get to know more about this Zimbabwean-born “Conscious Rapper”…
MTL : So when did you start doing hiphop music?
TA : I officially started music in 2012 but I started rapping in 2009 doing conscious hiphop
MTL : What is this “Conscious Hiphop”?
TA : Well, most of my lyrical content depicts current affairs, economic problems, social challenges, activism and knowledge/wisdom…etc. It also shows that I’m aware of what’s happening around me, around Africa and around the world
MTL : Nice! So you also happen to be part of a group… tell me more about that
TA : Yeah! The name of the group is called BYO – Building Your Origins. We officially entered the hiphop industry in 2013. There are 4 members in the group – Tipa, KYA, Tibsy and me (I’m also the manager). So far we’ve managed to release 1 album called BUILDING BLOCKS which was released in September 2013 and we’re currently working on our 1st mixtape which will be released before the year ends
MTL : Woop Woop! Sounds awesome! So who influences your music?
TA : Well, The Activist is influenced by people like Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Slikour, Zubz…just to name a few
MTL : So wait, does The Activist also do solo projects on the side or is it all about the group?
TA : Yeah. I’m working on my 1st solo mixtape and everyone else in the group is doing one of their own. We are influenced by different people. On the same note, the diversity in the group makes us unique
MTL : Naaaaaarce! So you know how hiphop is big in South Africa? What are your thoughts on the Zim hiphop scene and how can it be improved in your opinion? If at all it needs improvement?
TA : Yeah the hiphop here is booming!!! The Zim hiphop scene needs a lot of improvement, but I’m glad to know that it is improving but not fast enough! I think rappers need to be more united and support each other more and more. Too many rappers want to make it big by themselves, individually so this slows down the growth of Zim hiphop in general.
I’m also glad to say I’ve learnt a lot from the local hiphop scene in Bloemfontein (where is currently studying by the way) so I plan to go and share what I’ve learnt with my Zim cats
MTL : So you’re doing music and gigs in Bloem right?
TA : Well, I decided to be more of a fan than an artist. The music industry here is way different so I decided to listen first before I rap. I attended a couple of gigs this year, but next year I will be performing at a couple at a couple of gigs. This also gave me a chance to work on my poetry
MTL : You do poetry? Whaaaat? That’s dope! And with you album and mixtape with your group members, who did you collaborate with?
TA : Ive actually published 2 books/anthologies! *and the crowd went “Woop Woop!”*… lol…
With the album, we only collaborated with a female vocalist (her name is Rue). We wanted to first identify our strengths and weaknesses, so that we know the right people to collaborate with. However, the upcoming mixtape will a lot of features because we’ll be collaborating with artists, vocalists and producers not only from Zim
MTL : E.g.?
TA : We’ve decided to keep most of the names on a low for now. Don’t want to spoil the surprise
MTL : Oh, aite And what current music/songs do you guys have that people can download and get a hold of?
TA : The best song from our album is “Hard” by Tipa ft Rue (produced by Ralph the Crunkbeats) which has received constant airplay on a few Zim radio stations. The second song, which is a ladies favourite is “Feelings” by Tibzy and KYA ft Rue which has received airplay. The third song is a conscious track called “Flashback” by Tipa and The Activist. The fourth track is “Freedom Activity” by the Activist which has received airplay on ChannelZim (Radio Dialogue)
MTL : That’s really cool! So if I’m not mistaken, you’re not only a rapper and published poet but you are a blogger as well – that’s incredible! What’s your blog about?
TA : My blog is an entertainment blog. I talk about poetry, music, art, fashion and I.T. plus Activism that is creative, inspirational, educational and deserves to be seen/heard by the world
MTL : *claps hands* That is amazing! So how can people hola at you? Facebook? Twitter? Your blog? Soundcloud? Reverbnation? Alladat!
TA : my blog is http://www.radioactivetuts.blogspot.com , Twitter is @2tukani or @BYO263 , http://www.facebook/BuildingYourOrigins and http://www.facebook.com/TheActivist 🙂
That’s it folks!!! Please take some time to go onto his blogsite, follow him on twitter and facebook and listen his music and downloading it is free btw #ImJustsaying! Lol! Hope ya’ll enjoyed it!
From me once again,
Peace, love and a whole buncha pork ribs!