With his ‘Smooth Sessions’ & Rap A Verse With Kwesta competition in partnership with Jameson (still accepting until the 10th of May), Kwesta is clearly in a good space right now. Lockdown clearly hasn’t stopped Da King of African rap from being active which we really have to appreciate and be thankful for because not only is his partnership with Jameson keeping us all entertained but it’s giving up & coming artists the opportunity to be heard. With that short intro said, HYPE got a moment to actually chat with Da King and pretty much just update ourselves with hos everything has been going, his journey thus far, opening doors for others and more. And oh, don’t miss that opportunity to listen to his two new tracks which he dropped under his 2Skeifoffering.
It’s no secret that you’ve built quite a successful career for yourself since you started many years ago. So many young artists have attempted and continue to attempt to reach the level that you have reached. When you look back at how far you’ve come, how does that make you feel?
It’s great because I even had chatted recently with Makwa who is a producer I work with and we were just reminiscing about our journey because he sent me an old picture of us when we were just beginning our journey. And what I appreciate from the journey is that people haven’t seen it and recognize it as an inspirational thing you know? Which made me think about the journey of Kwesta and half of the time you just rapping and doing your thing and not realizing what you are creating or building. For that matter, it’s very fulfilling to see people appreciate your journey and feel like they can do what you did or accomplish.
What would you say is distinctive about Kwesta’s production when it comes to putting a song together?
I mean the most important thing is to capture what it feels like when you’re writing the song to record it. I mean it’s easy to write something and record but it’s something else to attach an emotion or feeling to a song. So I try my best to keep that same feeling when I’m writing, so whenever I’m feeling gully the song is going to come out gully and hood you know? And when I’m feeling emotional that “love” song needs to come out with emotion and things like that. I mean that’s what I try and capture and I mean this whole thing of deciding to do some joints with some sort of the layback “lazy voice” is just to represent guys chilling in the corner so that it feels like I’m “talking” to people on a level they understand. It’s more of me being relatable in the sense that we get closer to the person that will be listening.
“There are still things I want to do but this other side of me is just about bringing upcoming artists “up” ” -Kwesta
Is there perhaps a favorite project that you feel was the one you fully enjoyed compiling?
DaKAR II is still my favorite project because it’s the balance of both sounds. If you listen to the double-disc of the album, you’ll hear in the first disc is all about me rapping and the second disc is more of the singles and the music people can bump in the clubs. DaKAR II really resonates with me because that is what I want to portray: a life of balance. And a project I love and sort of is a resemblance of balance is Skhanda Republic, which one of the well most put together albums of all time.
It’s exciting to hear about your partnership with Jameson, could tell us more about how that relationship began?
The relationship began with me being part of their online campaign and as the conversation between me and the brand carried on… We sort of carried the conversation of our relationship and created something bigger than just me being part of their online campaign. Which led to my collaboration with Jameson to create the ‘Smooth Sessions’ which is an extension we are using use to connect artists and fans during this time of lockdown. Also, my personal favorite part about my Jameson collaboration is the ‘Rap A Verse’ challenge, because I get to connect with the upcoming artists.
What does the Jameson ‘Rap A Verse’ competition & campaign mean to you as an artist, more of what is your perspective about this whole campaign pushing?
This ‘Rap A Verse’ is really important to me because if you think about the upcoming artists, he/she might be at home right now frustrated worrying about their craft might not get heard or recognized. So Jameson and I have created this platform to allow the up-coming artists to showcase their talent and receive the opportunity to have a song with me, which most would have never thought could ever be possible.
Is there anything outside the competition you could potentially do with the lucky winner that wins the competition?
For now, it’s obviously about just the competition but it doesn’t stop there it is to also inspire the upcoming artists out there to keep writing and to continue rapping. To get back to what could potentially happen to the winner of this ‘Rap A Verse’ competition, there is definitely a potential opportunity for the artist that wins the competition to takeoff. And I personally I would love to continue my relationship with the winner on a personal level with Jameson on board and that is a conversation I have had with Jameson because this whole competition is not just something created for the lockdown but it is a platform created to carry the conversation on or letting in the upcoming artist into the industry in the future. But for now, all I can offer the upcoming artist is the song and get the opportunity to visit the Jameson Distillery in Dublin, Ireland. It’s really about creating the launchpad for the artist that wins the competition.
Where would you say Kwesta stands with “opening up” the industry for upcoming artists?
Where I’m at genuinely is that I’m all about closing the gap and opening doors and I’m not saying my career is where I want it to be exactly, there are still things I want to do but this other side of me is just about bringing upcoming artists “up” and that is something I’m going to be about for the next couple of years full-on. And not worry about securing my spot but helping others get the opportunity to receive a spot of some sort in this industry. But obviously the number one requirement the artist I’m trying to help is that he or she has to be dope and be great at what they do, he/she must show and prove to me that they will be able to handle this industry. All I want is drive and “dopeness” I don’t really care if you have the charisma or look good you must know how to rap.
“I mean it’s easy to write something and record but it’s something else to attach an emotion or feeling to a song” – Kwesta