[Cover Story] Bravo le Roux: Upward Trajectory

This story appears in HYPE magazine #29, available here.

Bravo Le Roux on Cape Town hip-hop, relationships with YoungstaCPT and Dee Koala, and his upcoming album.

Bravo Le Roux has been making moves, building his name, not just in the Cape Town scene but nationally as well. As one of the faces of new age Xhosa rap, Bravo Le Roux has been repping the streets, even in corporate environments; in his partnership with fashion retailer, The Fix, he says his aim is to “take the mall to the streets and take the streets to the mall”.

Bravo dropped his debut album, International Gubevu, in 2021, which was preceded by The Rise of Istrato, a mixtape he did with DJ Switch.

Last year, Bravo Le Roux dropped ‘Kuse Kapa Apha’ with fellow Xhosa trap icon Dee Koala, and it has been causing havoc in the streets since then.

We caught up with Bravo Le Roux to find out more about his journey, what he’s been up to and what to expect next.

“YOUNGSTACPT IS TO ME WHAT RIKY WAS TO EVERYONE. FOREVER GRATEFUL”

 How was your album International Gubevu received?

My International Gubevu project was very well received. The day the project dropped, we did a launch at Jordan’s Way Of Cooking in Kwa Langa and people knew the lyrics, which was really wild for us. We did more than 500k streams in four months independently. We also did our own tour in the Western Cape, and every venue was filled up. It was really a beautiful experience and journey. It surely opened a whole lot of doors for us too.

You worked with DJ Switch on The Rise of Istrato mixtape, which was fire. What was the process of putting the tape together like, and how was the experience?

The Rise of Istrato was actually done in two weeks. I met DJ Switch in Jozi to record one song and we spoke about doing a mixtape together. He was keen, and after we landed back in CPT, we were on it over the phone and having artists in studio every day with Msai Beats and Ta Nomzo (Zolani Jama).

On the tape, you worked with Kideo. What was that experience like, and what do you like about him?

Kideo is so special. I always looked up to him, and that was one of my dream features. I had a song with an open verse, Msai called him over, and they sent me his verse. I was wilding out. He’s a great artist, and forever will be. I wish he could still come back and the rest of the country could witness his greatness. He’s like a Lil Wayne to us.

Tell us about your relationship with The Fix.

The Fix is my family now. We are looking at having a long-term thing and just merge culture and fashion. I am glad they are always keen to listen to my ideas and willing to work with us to take the mall to the streets and take the streets to the mall. That’s culture.

‘Kuse Kapa Apha’ is fire and was well received. Can we expect a joint project from you and Dee Koala?

I always knew that Dee and I would get along. ‘Kuse Kapa Apha’ was so effortless, and we are sitting on more songs that haven’t dropped yet. We hope to drop some more bangers together, for sure. She’s great energy. She’s like a Brenda Fassie of this time.

Tell us about your relationship with YoungstaCPT.

YoungstaCPT is my brother. I even have a Y? tattoo on my neck, which proves that it runs deep. The family really took me in and embraced me in many ways. To him, it wasn’t just about the song, but it grew to brotherhood. He brought me out at Cotton Fest before they even booked me. He pulled up to my tour, and he and Jerry (his brother) always have my back. He even paid my rent one time. Always teaching me game and looking after me. I always feel at home around the gents because I know they mean well. YoungstaCPT is to me what Riky was to everyone. Forever grateful.

It took a while for Cape Town hip-hop to play on a national scale the way it is right now. What would you say your generation is doing differently?

I personally think the music wasn’t commercialised because we didn’t have enough people in power who listened to us. Radio/TV presenters and people in corporate didn’t really listen to us, so nobody was pitching and making sure that the culture and the movement was pushed forward. Now we have a lot of powerful Xhosa people everywhere with the likes of Laduma Ngxokolo, Mawande Sobethwa, Scoop Makhathini and others…

When is your next project dropping, and what can you tell us about it?

My next project is dropping late March or early April. It’s titled Igazi, Iinyembezi Nombilo. It’s a really personal project for me. I am actually super excited with how it’s sounding already too. It doesn’t even have a genre, I am bending and fusing a lot of different Afro sounds. And, no, it’s not amapiano. [Laughs]

This story appears in HYPE magazine #29, available here.

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