Marope Ra Ma Ja
Mpumalanga has another clear shot at bringing home a Metro, Channel O or South African Music Award next year. The last time such happened was with Sdunkero who took home a SAMA for Best House track. It was such a joke that the award alone attracted controversy from none other than deserving Cleo, popularly known as DJ Cleo. Some rappers in Jozi even went on to ask in songs, “i-award uyitholile/ Kodwa ubani okuvotele”.
This time the next award will be in the hip-hop category and it will be deserved if the progress made by emcees in small towns and villages is anything to go by. Quite frankly the next best emcee will come from a village – same as Jesus Christ coming from Bethlehem instead of Jerusalem.
This past weekend saw this year’s first installment of the now seasonal seventh chapter of Luv Ur Hood Sessions, the brainchild of Khutso ‘Katsuko’ Malele and Hlompho ‘Masta H’. ThemedMarope Re Ya Maja, the session saw emcees from as far as Acornhoek, Nelspruit and Bushbuckridge trading verses over own beats. This was encouraging because previously people had to freestyle over other producers’ beat. There was a sizeable assortment of those who would bring Pro-Kid and Proverb to shame with their punchlines uttered in fluent isiZulu and English.
The pioneering voices of the initiative were also there to witness the elevation of the platform to something bigger. Last December’s sixth show was even graced by Kwani Experience’s Nkoto Malebye who delivered a rap verse about being an African Queen. Mr Boo was at his element with storytime rhymes reminiscent of Slick Rick.
The hidden gem that has always graced but never performed which on the day finally shone was eseng Mogakane. In his seminal Mali Yam, which had the crowd in raptures he sings, “don’t try and interfere when I change my gear/ nobody interfered when I shed my tears/ nobody gave me a hug not even my peers/ not even my dad so don’t blame a n*gga if I want them dead”. He juxtaposes Jacob Zuma’s Mshini Wami with a chorus that says ‘Awuleth’ imali yam/ awuleth’ imali yam”.
Katsuko, who does not really rap came all the way from Johannesburg where the hustle exiled him to compere the session. While Masta H decried the absence of female emcees in an interview with Kasiekulture earlier this month this time he shared a stage with a sharp female rapper named Blackpearl who stood her ground.
It was such exchanges of rap venom by emcees from different backgrounds who have different experiences of life that indicated the readiness of this province to win the first hip-hop SAMA, after AB-Crazy’s production company Octave Couplet scooped a Hype Award early this year.
Apart from the talented voices that graced the Luv Ur Hood sessions there are those with CDs out such as AB-Crazy’s Gossip Folks and eseng Mogakane’s Tshesa Spakan Vol 1 which has controversial songs such as Mali Yam and Shepherds and Sheep. The next Luv Ur Hood session will be in September and Malele says they hope for more participants.