The rise of SA hip-hop with Roiii and Loatinover Pounds

We attended the Redbat 20 years of progress event and wow… what a spectacle it was. Following the event we had the opportunity to sit down with Roiii and Loatinover Pounds to find out about their experiences with Redbat, their inspirations and their views on the current crop of artists that are carrying the baton for the next wave of SA hip-hop

What is your earliest memory of hip hop and why?


My earliest memory of the culture came in primary school. I would write raps for fun but at that time I didn’t know it was raps. Eventually that lead to me eventually writing raps for a boy band that I was a part of *laughs* It didn’t pan out but that is my earliest memory of hip-hop.


Is there an artist that you have a particular affliction towards?


I think that the one artist that I look up to in a commercial sense would have to be Cassper Nyovest.


I suppose there is always an artist that influences you from a commercial point of view, however, there are also artists that influence you from a stylistic view point. Who would you say gave you your current stylistic interpretation of rap?


From a branding point of view, I would have to say Drake because I follow how he moves very closely. From a stylistic point of view, I listen to a lot of UK rap from the likes of Stormzy, Tion Wayne and Russ millions. In terms of South Africa, I would say I get a lot of my flavour from K.O. and HHP.


Being such a versatile artist, you can do everything in every pocket of SA Hip-hop what do you find comes most naturally to you when you create your music?


I would say the UK-esque texture is what comes most naturally for me and in terms of my creative process, I freestyle. When I freestyle, the bars come naturally and I separate them and place them in a song.


Before this interview I was listening to your tape and there is there is the song ‘Vuka Kuphuka’ and it was an inspring song and you have has a nice ascension in your career. When did you know that I was your time?


I don’t necessarily think that there was one moment I realised it. That feeling has always been there from the beginning of my career because this isn’t just music to me; it’s my livelihood.


On the interlude ‘Obessed with Progress’ you talk about how hard south African listeners are on their artists. Why do you think that is?


I think that the South African listener criticises without looking at the grand scheme of things. Without a Loatinover Pounds, there is no space for a Roiii. Without a Pabi Cooper, there wouldn’t be a space for a Scumie. Sometimes listeners need to acknowledge that what you don’t like in one artist, might be the thing that someone else loves about that artist.


What comparisons can you draw between the golden generation of sa hip hop and the new crop of today?


I think that we are in a second revolution of SA hip-hop right now. The golden generation established SA hip-hop but my current generation is doing something different to the previous generation in the sense that we are defining what SA hip-hop is to the country which has always been a debated topic. We have so many different pockets of hip-hop in comparison to the golden generation. We have the Luh Twizzy’s who make their dark brand of trap and we have someone like myself who makes a more provocative brand of hip-hop.   


Given that you have just said that, where do you want to see yourself going in the future?

I think SA hip-hop will be the biggest conversation in a few years. You just have to wait and see.

What is your earliest memory of hip-hop?


The earliest memory I have of hip-hop is when my sister was playing Eminem in the house. I would go onto rap those lyrics for my friends at school and I used to think that was the coolest thing ever.  


Who inspired you to rap in the manner that you do?


I didn’t really listen to SA hip-hop until the likes of Riky Rick and Cassper Nyovest, which later turned into the current guys at the top like A-Reece, Nasty C, Shane Eagle and 25K. Those are the guys that really inspired me to rap.


When I view you as an artist, there are two sides of you. There is the side of ‘Sosh Plata’ but there is also this introspective side which we see on Hood Misunderstood.  Why did you make the decision to introduce your introspective side of yourself?


I always believe in balance. There are times when you have to be outside and there are times you have stay inside and work. So as much as there is time for songs like ‘Sosh Plata’, there is also a time to be introspective and that’s why I chose to come out with Hood Misunderstood


What are your views on the climate of SA hip-hop right now?


We are entering a new era of SA hip-hop in the 2020s. Right now, our generation is only starting out but I believe we got next, and we have the responsibility to take it to the top.


What comparison can you draw between the golden generation and the current crop of artists?

Back then you had have a large machine driving you forward. We are talking radio, tv and record label push, in order for you to succeed. Whereas now, we can utilise the internet to push our work.


Pretoria is seen as the rap capital of the country. Can you tell us about the regional sound in Pretoria?


I feel as though you have to be in PTA to truly understand the regional sound but I will try my best to explain. There are the rappers from the west of Pretoria where the likes of A-Reece, 25K, Thato Saul and JR come from. Then we have the rappers from the north with artists like myself, G-Tech 2bit and Mochen. We bring a different perspective and story to the game.


From the outside looking in, Pretoria has a unified movement. Can you tell me why there is so much unity in PTA?


If you actually look at it, you’ll find that there aren’t that many rappers in PTA so eventually you will come to collaborate and support each other. From another point of view, collaboration is a catalyst to growing the culture. We have learnt a lot from the Amapiano movement in how they collaborate.


Of all of the features you have had, which one would you say you enjoyed the most?


It would have to be the joint on the Redbat collab tape because I actually got the opportunity to create the song in the studio with the producer. Once Christer played me that beat, I immediately knew it was the one. I also liked the rollout of the album which was a unique experience for me because I have never done anything like that in my life.  


From a commercial point of view is there someone you look up to?

It would have to be A-Reece and Blxckie because they aren’t your usual industry rappers who they take too long to drop. I want to have the commercial and creative freedom that they have.


Unlike most rappers, you have your own brand through merch. Can you tell us about how you decided to start branding?

Besides rapping, I am also a designer and as a designer, I felt as though I didn’t have the creative platform to express myself. Creating merch allows me to create my my own designs and I can push my music through the merch and besides, all of the rappers in the states have merch.


If you were to have a conversation with the loatinover pounds from 5 years ago, what would you say to him?

I would thank him for all of the of the work he did in the past few years. I would thank him for staying home and working on his craft.  

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