[Cover Story] Loatinover Pounds: Understood

This interview appears in issue 27 of our monthly ezine available for purchase here.

Written by ubereatzz

Photography by Percy Kanon (IG: @percykanon)

The remix to Loatinover Pounds’ hit single ‘Sosh Plata’, where he features PTA hip-hop frontrunner 25K and emerging rapper Thapelo Ghutra has had the streets talking since its release. “I had the song for like three months without a second verse,” Loatinover Pounds tells HYPE. “I wanted to have a 25K or a Maglera on the song, but I couldn’t reach them at that point when I first made ‘Sosh Plata’. Thapelo Ghutra happened to be in the studio when I played the song, and I gave him the verse and he killed it, so when the song started buzzing to the point that it had already reached the ears of people like 25K, I asked him to be part of the remix and he put the final nail in the coffin. So, how I sequenced is exactly how I initially wanted the song to go. That’s why we didn’t even change the verses.”

The remix was a defining moment for the emerging artist, and it catapulted him into the mainstream; the audio is currently sitting on 205K views on YouTube. “Yoooh! The original blew my mind; the remix was just worse. To think I went from just playing, having fun in my bedroom studio, to having a big song with 25K on it and people singing it everywhere you go… it’s an amazing feeling; you just can’t get used it. It’s also my first time having a song with like more than 200K streams.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be this huge, ’cause I was just playing around when I made that joint, but it showed me that people can relate to the ordinary stuff, the random stuff, you know, and I’m glad they received it well, ’cause that was the whole point of the song… just me being free and not being too serious.”

“To think I went from just playing, having fun in my bedroom studio, to having a big song with 25K on it and people singing it everywhere you go… it’s an amazing feeling; you just can’t get used it. It’s also my first time having a song with like more than 200K streams.”

Punyete flavour

While Loatinover Pounds has done a healthy number of guest appearances in the last few years, it was when he was featured by A-Reece on ‘Live Once Interlude’ from the superstar’s 420 release The Burning Tree in April that 2022 started shaping up for him. “I was having a random day and Reece hit me up to ask if I could record before Friday ’cause he had a project he was working on and a song he felt I could kill. He sent the song; I recorded. Next thing, I’m on The Burning Tree; my people going crazy. I didn’t really care about how people received it, ‘cause I knew I brought my A-game. I listen to Reece a lot; it meant a lot to me way before people could hear it,” Loatinover Pounds says.

Reece and his brother JayJody are some of the rappers he has seen grow around him into the major artists they are today, so, as a result, he draws a lot of inspiration from them.

Other notable features he’s done include Icemanbeatz’s ‘Airforce E Black’, featuring upcoming Mabopane (Pretoria) rapper Mochen, who is also one to watch out for in 2023; ‘Evident’ by frequent collaborator, the Pretoria rapper Kaydence; and IMP THA DON’s ode to car-spinning culture, ‘4 Pipe’, a song that had listeners raging in praises for Loatinover Pounds’ exceptional verse. “IMP heard me on ‘Beke Le Beke’ via Ghoust Trapbully,” explains the rapper who also dabbles in graphic design, “and it was easy for him to hit me up ’cause I was already doing covers for him and Ghoust, so he hit me up. He sent the song, I religiously related to concept, and I had to bring that punyete flavour into it. The rest was history.”

Yes, he uses the mysterious word “punyete” in conversation, too. A word which he uses in all his verses and a word that has intrigued the masses who’ve been wondering about its meaning. Based on the contexts he has used it in, many speculate that it means something good. For instance, he raps, “Ke faka punyete! Akelwe le motho ke!” on ‘Sosh Plata’.

For those who’d like to know what it actually means, Loatinover Pounds says, “Punyete ke punyete, ene rae faka! Sorry!”

Pushing punyete

Loatinover Pounds comes across as an artist with a thorough understanding of the level of branding that comes with building his career as he has with his trademark “punyete”. He has turned the word into a brand that consists of merch, a record label he signed himself under and an event series called Punyete Picnic, which he hosts annually in and around Pretoria. “The Punyete brand is just an unknown-known creative collective packed with creative talents from a wide array of fields like music, events, clothing… everything. We are taking over!” he says.

This impressive trajectory was aided by the release of his debut EP, Hood Misunderstood, in June. “I grew up in a hood where a lot of people were listening to house music or bacardi, so growing up under hip-hop made us outcasts and we were always misunderstood, especially in the streets, from the music we listened to and how we dressed. So, on this project, I was just being me in my rawest form and Hood Misunderstood matched what I was going through when I made the tape.”

Loatile Managadi was born in Ga-Rankuwa and raised in Mabopane, situated in the North of Pretoria, Gauteng, in 1999, to parents who were both educators. “So, they were semi-strict,” he says. “I also attended a parochial school, which was very strict, so I was that kid who was never in trouble ’cause I was always on my computer making something, whether it was beats or designs. I wasn’t really outgoing like that. Most people classified me as a nerd who had good taste in music, fashion and style, which made the cooler guys at that time relate to me also, because I was making dope music.”

Loatin started producing his own music while he was still in primary school, around Grade 5 or 6. “I didn’t even know that I was producing, ’cause to me, at that time, Fruity Loops was just a video game, just like your GTAs and FIFA.”

Now a respected rapper and producer, Loatinover Pounds was booked and busy in 2022. “I did 40-plus gigs last year, but the notable ones I did are the Homecoming Africa festival, Streetfest, Tshwanefontein, and Road to Reece Effect,” he says.

He was also the winner of the Artist On The Rise competition by HomeComing Events, a competition that aims to help local artists get on the stage and grow their exposure. Loatinover Pounds details his experience: “I entered the competition in 2021; unfortunately, I got fourth place. They did the competition again the following year, and I knew what I needed to win, and this time I had bangers: ‘Sosh Plata’, ‘Run X’ and ‘Beke Le Beke’! I had to take it, but the talent that showed up there shows the Pirara (Pitori) sun gonna shine for a long time.”

Hood Misunderstood

True to the fashion of street rap, repping his hood is almost second nature to Loatinover Pounds. For instance, when he got a chance to rap a young verse at the SA Hip Hop Awards in 2022, he delivered his trademark Pitori slang. “I had to represent Pitori kamo Jozi, so I came in with my vernac flows in it. Ka tshela punyete ya chaya,” he says.

The cover art of his EP shows him standing outside a home that resembles a typical South African kasi, while he has his eyes closed, looking pensive. “With that cover,” he says, “I wanted something raw; something that will tell a story; and something that could give people that hood nostalgia. So, I just took a ride with Michael (IG: @mm.nobert) – the one who shot the cover – and we took a ride in Ga-Rankuwa Zone 1 and we found that house. Ga-Rankuwa is the place where I attended primary school and church; most of my friends who were there when I started this music thing are from Ga-Rankuwa; and both my parents were born in Ga-Rankuwa. So, it made sense for me to go back and shoot there. We also shot the ‘Beke Le Beke’ music video in Ga-Rankuwa Zone 1 – it has a special place in my heart.”

In the EP, Loatinover Pounds managed to strike the balance between light-hearted, fun and catchy hip-hop songs, with just enough complex bars not to overwhelm his growing fanbase. “Making this tape, I didn’t wanna over-complicate myself,” he says, “so I just made music with everyone who was around, and I could relate to. Khalee G is a friend of mine who’s also an artist. We spend a lot of time in the studio together, so if there’s a hook killer, I know it’s him, and it’s easier to reach out to him, so that’s why he did ‘Fly Away’ and ‘How U Feel’. When I recorded ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Victimz’, I could hear Kaydence’s voice playing in my head, so I knew he’d be the perfect man for the job, and he delivered. Also, Swartspeare and Earl P – they were people who were there when I was recording Hood Misunderstood… R.I.P Swartspeare. I also produced every beat for Hood Misunderstood.”

In the EP, Loatinover Pounds vulnerably interrogates the self, confidently shows it off, and explores the theme of love. On the EP’s opener ‘Karma Delivery’, he juxtaposes the musician and the person he is in real life, as he raps, “Wish I had confidence in real life like I do on the stage.”

On ‘Victimz’, which starts off with a soulful trumpet solo that is layered over a boom bap beat that locks in the spiritual feel of the song, Loatin and his collaborator – up-and-coming PTA rapper Kaydence – detail how they became victims of their own thoughts. “I just wanna say what I wanna say, but I overthink some sh*t, I always end up refraining,” raps LP, and Kaydence echoes Loatinover Pounds’ words as he raps, “Freed by the bars, I was caged by my own mind.”

This is followed by ‘How U Feel’, a beautiful rap record that has Loatin exploring his relationship with a love interest, and how he wants to make it official, as he raps: “I think we can change that ’cause you can be mine, and I can be your n*gga, think you’ll like calling me that.”

It features singers Khalee G and Earl P, and the late singer Swartspeare, who sings a rendition of Chantey Savage’s 1996 RnB hit, ‘Body’, after a beat switch, as he sings: “Don’t you know, my body belongs to you.”

Loatinover Pounds has the ability to effortlessly make light and fun songs that are relatable, especially on ‘Run X’, where he explains how he starts noticing the increase in interest in him as a musician by those around him, especially women. He raps, “Shawty, she crashing the VIP/ Next thing she wanna sit next to me/ Suddenly all of her friends are taking us pics (sh*t)/ It got me asking myself ‘am I really that big?’”

‘Flower Seedz’ is a melodic rap song that has Loatin reminiscing about a time when he had a love interest who seemed to want more than what he had to offer, as he raps, “She wanted flowers. But I only had seeds in my garden.”

The EP ends with ‘Fly Away’, where he again features his frequent collaborators Khalee G and Kaydence, and displays his fine penmanship, rapping, “I’m what you get when you collect all the seven dragon balls cause I appear like Shenron, I’m a fire spitter.” Hood Misunderstood debuted in the Apple Music Top 200 albums.

Loatinover Pounds uses his art to be understood by those around him, and there’s no stopping his rise. What can fans expect from him this year? “More punyete; more everything,” he says. “‘Sosh Plata’ music video is gonna drop in 2023, and also more merch, more videos and more music.”

This interview appears in issue 27 of our monthly ezine available for purchase here.

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