Over the years I’ve always appreciated that one of my many jobs is to maintain HYPE Magazine’s progressive nature which is a line I use quite frequently if you know me well. One of the many reason HYPE Magazine exists is to continue discovering and shining a spotlight on young artists that are constantly striving to build successful careers with their music. The trials & tribulations that these young stars go through is tough I know… I’ve seen many give up and less than a handful “make it” but I do not want to ruin this moment by riding on the bad side of music careers, so let introduce some positivity into my written word by mentioning one artist that we as HYPE purely discovered solely because of her hustle. Ever heard of 3ple B? Well, she is one of the lucky artists that became one of our Freshmen for the year 2018. In fact, 3ple B actually accumulated some higher numbers in terms of votes which signified that she really wanted it. And so I had a conversation with her to get to know a little bit more about how it all began for her and what kind of artist she is. I won’t lie, this interview made me feel good about the aspirations that young artist have to not only change their lives but change the lives of those around them. Here’s 3ple B…
“All you need is one person to believe in your dreams and visions, and that person is yourself” – 3PLE B
The first time I came across your music was actually on our HYPE music platform. Your music was getting some major plays which encouraged us to find a little more about you. This is really our first interview with you, and I want to take this opportunity to know about how 3ple B became who she is today. So, my first question is, when were you first introduced to hip hop?
I was first introduced to hip hop when I was 8 years old. But I did not know that it was hip hop, I used to write lyrics as a way to blow off steam and escape reality, little did I know that the foundation of who I’m becoming today was being laid. I was never allowed to go play with other kids that much, my mom would rather have me in the house studying. As I grew up I later then realized that I did not own hip hop when I first heard ‘Leather So Soft’ by Lil Wayne. I played that song so much my mom ended up knowing the lyrics; she then started getting me more music from my older cousin. Then I came across Drake and other artists. I got to be in my first crew when I was in high school, those were the guys that gave me my name 3ple B. They groomed me for a while then we were forced to all go our separate ways, but they had already given me the tools I needed and capitalized on that. After High school, I met Jnzbeats and recorded a few songs to listen to with friends and family.
Word. When did you make the decision to actually pursue building a career with your music? What pushed you to go for it?
My plan was to study media at Boston Media House and work my way into the radio since people think I talk a lot but unfortunately halfway through my first year I had to drop out because I could not afford fees and get a job, which made me feel lost and the only thing that kept me together was the music. People around me saw something in me and always motivated me to pursue music, Therefore, I decided to get myself a manager to help me get my music in order and see how far it will go, but the problem at that time was that I did not have enough time to get to studio and work on new music. Luckily my manager loved the song I wrote for my mother titled ‘Thul’bheke’ which I recorded in 2015, so he decided to submit it to the South African hip hop awards Cypher Corner and I was stunned when he told me that the song made it as part of the Top 30 candidates. We had to campaign but unfortunately, we only made it to top four and they were only taking top 2 but being on that list alone made me realize that my music really could go far and everyone who was supporting me at that time took the Ls with me and they will always motivate to keep me going. So we decided to put together a few tracks I had at that time and only had time to record ‘Squad’, ‘I’m On My Way’ and ‘Part Of The Plan’ and put them together with ‘Dreams’ and called the EP B.O.T.D (Because of These Dreams) just to get feedback and see how far it will go. The response from people was overwhelming and HYPEMusic had just launched so we decided to release the EP on the Platform and that’s when things started to happen for me.
Then we get a radio interview with DJ Keys while he was still on VowFM to promote the EP and at that moment I believed it was possible and that I could actually become an artist. We then shot a zero budget music video for ‘Squad’ with rawxcreative at The L Word’s house and we put it out and it got to premiere on Shiz Live. It was critiqued by DJ ZanD but I missed the show that day because I was at work and people on my Facebook were buzzing telling me they saw me on tv… That’s when I decided to take music seriously then my manager introduced me to East Rand hitmaker Beats by Blass and we worked on ‘Suk’endleleni’ which made it to Back To The City’s Top 20 10K Challenge 2018 competition but we did not get enough votes to perform as part of the top 8 but I was really grateful for the platform it helped me get my music out there to the people leading on being on the 2018 SA Hip Hop Awards Cypher Corner which was the highlight of my career. And for that, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rashid K and his team for giving me a platform and helping me realize my talent.
“the spotlight it is no longer about who can drop a hot verse but who has more followers” – 3PLE B
It is never an easy thing to make a success out of a musical career especially within hip hop. How does 3ple B keep on motivating herself to keep on doing what she does?
I am motivated by my fans, I don’t know whether “fans” is the right word, but people who consistently support me and reach out to help even when I don’t ask for that help. People who gave me studio time without asking for me to pay to record. I’m motivated by the platforms that put up my music even when I had 45 followers on Twitter and 150 Page likes on Facebook I knew for sure that the number of followers got my back for sure they and were actively involved in my journey. It’s no longer my journey alone but it’s our journey. So every day I think about those 45 followers and 150 fans I had when I first started out so I cannot let them down and they keep me going by supporting me in everything I do. My music was mostly played on HYPEMusic because of them, Hype Magazine discovered me because of them and I became part of the Top 7 Freshman because of them they keep me going and I just want to make them proud, make myself proud because for a short period of time we pushed our music without a major team or resources but we managed to do what we could and worked hard to make sure we can do bigger things.
You have a couple of records already out there and of course your B.O.T.D EP. What have been some of the challenges that you have faced not only as an up & coming artist but as a female in the game?
Well, I really feel that we as female rappers tend to look at others as competition, which makes things twice as hard because there is no unity or just unity for a group of few here & there. The industry is really small as much as there are a lot of hot female rappers but only a few get to shine on the spotlight, it is no longer about who can drop a hot verse but who has more followers, who can get more engagement or who is connected to whom. Then again there is that issue with sound quality not having a right engineer to do the job and having a professional mix & master, which makes one wonder should I spend more money on my music production or on music promotion because at the end I will be stuck with my hot song which is produced well but not enough budget to put it out.
“Don’t let people who failed to follow their dreams tell you that yours are not worth the fight, Stay positive God’s timing is perfect” – 3PLE B
What would you say makes 3ple B so different from the rest of the artists currently pushing forward too?
What makes me different is that I am not trying to sound like anyone or make music because of trends as much as my music may come across as trap but when you listen to it properly you will always hear a story. I am currently finding myself and my sound, so I’m not trying to compete with the next person but rather build with them because you lose yourself trying to compete and keep up with trends, rather keep working on yourself and discovering your talent.
I feel you… What is the story that you are trying to tell with your music? How would you describe your artistic narrative?
All you need is one person to believe in your dreams and visions, and that person is yourself. Being an artist means being unapologetic about how you express your views, your feelings, what matters is getting the positive message across. I guess I am trying to remind people that self-belief is everything. What you perceive yourself to be is power. Don’t let people who failed to follow their dreams tell you that yours are not worth the fight. Stay positive God’s timing is perfect.
Then what is your current opinion on the state of hip hop in SA?
SA Hip hop is growing and a lot of artists are breaking boundaries beyond our imagination, big artists are reaching out to young cats and giving them opportunities. Big events are starting to feature upcoming artists and making it a bit easier to break in the industry especially since everything is digital and platforms like Spotify & YouTube music being available in SA. So there is a lot of ways to get your music out there, you just have to build your fan base one day at a time and always research new ways of promoting music and getting on big platforms.
“I guess I am trying to remind people that self-belief is everything. What you perceive yourself to be is power” – 3PLE B
What would you say are the negatives of SA hip hop culture?
I would say that competition and egos have ruined good music for us, if everyone was looking to work together rather than compete with each other and not have to pick sides, big things would happen because we have a lot of great musicians in South Africa and we are all working towards the same thing. But we choose to push individually than togetherness which would be better and could benefit the next coming generation.
How would you define success for yourself?
Success for me would be having my own studio and team to help me produce quality music and content, having enough budget to get my ideas into reality and not having to work with favors to get things done and finally getting consistent sales of my music so that I can buy my mom the house I promised her.
What are your plans for 2019?
My plan for 2019 is to invest more in my music in terms of quality production and content, I have already started working on my new EP titled Verification produced by Beats by Blass which I plan on dropping later on this year in August, it features some artists which I really think are amazing and I’m planning on working with a lot of other artists as well. Hopefully, I’ll get some female rappers on my music and share the little platform I have with other great artists out there who are willing to collaborate.
Lastly, you made it onto our 2nd annual Freshman cover. The campaign wasn’t an easy one but you here. How did being a part of the whole experience make you feel?
To be honest I really didn’t think I would make the top 30 list, not event thinking being part of the top 7, when I first saw the names I scrolled halfway through and I closed the page thinking I didn’t make it, a few minutes later my manager called me and asked me if I saw that we made the list. I didn’t take him seriously until I got a congratulations tweet from turn up music then I lost it. The whole experiences of being one of the candidates was amazing, I still find it hard to believe that I got this far, got to appear and perform twice on Shiz live in one month that’s crazy. I would really like to take this opportunity to thank Hype Magazine firstly for the HYPEMusic platform, not many artists get a chance to be heard and we need more platforms like this to help us grow and build our fan base. Secondly, I would like to thank you guys for taking a chance by picking me to be part of the top 30 candidates, I took the time to listen to some of their music and I think they are really good and it shows that there is a lot of talent in South Africa working towards being discovered, all we need is more platforms which will give each and everyone a chance to be heard plus at least let your talent speak for itself because I understand that there is a lot of us “upcoming artists” and not all of us will make it. But it’s all up to us on which doors you knock on and how often you knock because some doors won’t open when you just knock once.