To create something new in a world that already seems to have more than enough can be a mammoth task, and those are the kinds of achievements Creator Culture celebrates. Within the youth culture, we have so many entities and personas who have taken on the mission to dream and, ultimately, get their hands dirty to make their dreams come true, not only to serve themselves but also those around them. Those who are reading this who have attempted such a feat probably understand what we mean… That’s just one reason why we decided to connect with Rihn Tihn Tihn, who successfully managed to get her The Drop platform started, not only as a means of proving to herself that she could, but also as a way to lend her voice in service to our culture.
To create a platform that is solely dedicated to a niche seems to be quite a difficult task in today’s climate, especially if that niche focuses on hip hop in SA. What have been the challenges you’ve faced, thus far?
It is THE MOST challenging experience to create a platform in a niche market, especially in South Africa. Some of the challenges involved financial independence – having to self-fund your own production is not pap en vleis. Outsourcing equipment and studio space to give out quality content is challenging, especially in a male-dominated environment. Having to fight for the respect of your quality content, not being taken seriously and often being overlooked can discourage an individual. Dealing with difficult individuals and others not respecting your time will test your patience, but it also teaches you to be calm during the storm.
What’s been the ultimate goal or your ultimate vision for the show?
The ultimate goal is for The Drop to be a universal show that amplifies the hip hop culture globally, to showcase the unique versions of hip hop on the different continents. Basically, WORLD DOMINATION!
What, would you say, has been the best part about doing what you do?
The best part has been learning the different gems and having sit-downs with individuals I’ve looked up to; individuals I relate to and whose music I listen to… And just creating my own fully functioning production that has become a platform for so many people, and having people reach out to be on this platform.
What’s something that’s surprised you about our hip hop industry?
The kindness of so many hip hop stars, the support, and building lifelong relationships within the industry. The day-to-day struggles people go through, the diversity and individualistic authenticity of each and every guest who’s been to The Drop.
Who’s on your playlist right now?
Maglera Doe Boy
Stino Le Thwenny
So, your honest thoughts on our hip hop industry?
South African hip hop is alive!
South African hip hop is a lifestyle!
South African hip hop is evolving!
What a time to be alive, to witness this culture and music.
I’ve always felt that SA does not have enough platforms dedicated to hip hop or youth culture, especially when compared to our counterparts abroad. Do you agree with this? If so, why do you think that is? If not, why do you think that is?
I think there are plenty of platforms dedicated to hip hop; however, they are not all on traditional media, and those that are on traditional media have only one or two outlets on TV and once-a-week shows on radio, which is not enough, because traditional media is the first outlet that the majority of SA has access to, for example, your SABC 1 and MTV.
Digital media has an endless list of platforms dedicated to hip hop… podcasts and blogs are some of the big role-players in maintaining hip hop media, but the lack of support from consumers makes it difficult for these platforms to grow. The content is there, and the content is available, but consumers are only interested in the commercial aspect of hip hop knowledge – those being tabloids and reality TV – and not necessarily actively following the latest hip hop news, which is why people will tweet that “SA hip hop is dead”. People are actively cheating themselves out of the culture by only focusing on the smoke in the mirror and not necessarily the mirror itself.
Let’s not forget that not everyone who is part of the youth has internet access, with the unemployment rate being what it is… Digitally, 76% of the youth are struggling to survive – their main focus is their daily needs, not their wants.
If you were given the chance to change anything about our culture or journalism industry, what would you change?
I would ensure that everybody got paid for their creative content; that everybody got access to digital media; and I would focus on real-life, relatable yet informative aspects of journalism in our industry.