TOUCHLINE COVER STORY FRESHMAN’18 STORY BY RUDZANI “ROO” NETSHIHENI PHOTOGRAPHY BY @blackmilk_za MAKE UP BY @themarchwolf STYLING BY TOUCHLINE I don’t know how many times I’ve been told about this guy but best believe it’s plenty. Ahh… Where do I begin? As hinted earlier, Touchline is a name I’m way too familiar with because of the number of recommendations I’ve received from not just close friends but the public as a whole. Since my discovery of the Muthaland artist, I can proudly say that I’m a fan and not because of the hype surrounding him but I became a fan after I heard what he stood for. His music is a pure reflection of life, which is a subject that affects us all and so when you combine an artist that has the lyrical ability to narrate what’s happening around him with dope ass beats & pure intentions, you get Touchline. Well, at least that’s my idea of him. Last year he captured enough votes to become a HYPE Freshman and so I took the opportunity to get to know him a little more as a fan, journalist and public hip hip servant. Here’s Touchline… “the kids ekasi bump Hip Hop more than anything, and that’s word to the people in the game right now” – Touchline I must start this off by firstly saying that this interview has probably been one of the most requested from us. We’ve has so many of your fans hit us up and demand that we speak to you and it feels good that things have just happened organically. Over the past 2 years, we’ve noticed how your fan base has increased solely because of your music. I think before I get deeper into other aspects of your life, could you tell us how you first were introduced into hip hop? I developed the interest after hearing Eminem during my primary school days, but when I started hearing Prokid’s incredible ability in my high school days, I decided to take the whole thing seriously I don’t know if many people are aware of this but it’s not like you just came into the scene like that… Even Priddy Ugly mentions how he knows you from way back. During the development stage of your career what kept you pushing forward when things seemed like they weren’t picking up at the same speed your peers’ careers were moving. I have always known that time and chance come to everyone in this life. More than anything, the fact that people that I knew personally were making it in the industry was proof that my dreams are valid and that it is all possible…I was inspired, not only to get to where they are but also to solidify my hood’s name on the map. “life hasn’t been kind to us, and my music is there to inspire abantu abamnyama” – Touchline What were some of the challenges you went through that we & have don’t even know about? Challenges that affected you to move differently… Coming from a background where your financial situation does not allow you to relax unlike that of your peers. Also, Meeting people in this industry that make false promises and exploit your talent has been a tough lesson in my life. The content of your music strongly touches on social injustices and topics that affect us all. Why do you tend to deliver heavily conscious music during an era where that approach isn’t really that commercialized? It’s just really important to speak about the things that are happening around us. Our biggest investment is the youth and if we don’t speak positivity and teach them how to deal with the pressures of just being on earth, then we’re going to have trouble in the future. What is happening in SA right now is not pretty but ignoring the problem does not mean it will disappear and that’s why I use my music as a catalyst for the change I want to see. “It’s just really important to speak about the things that are happening around us” – Touchline You’ve got so many records in the bag, project and freestyles. What would you say makes you so different from the rest and which moment really convinced you that you were destined for this? What makes me different is the ability to speak on crucial matters while appealing to the masses with uncomplicated stories that are easy for them to relate to…and the fact that I do it predominantly in my home language makes the everyday person on the street resonate with my message. There was never one particular moment that convinced me that I was born for this, but people’s reaction from back when I started out has been consistent…they love my work, and that has kept me motivated to not give up. What is the picture that Touchline is painting with his music? What’s your story? The story of triumph irrespective of where you’re from and what you’ve been through…victory is for everyone. I especially want to instil that sort of confidence in the black child…life hasn’t been kind to us, and my music is there to inspire abantu abamnyama to reach for the stars regardless. “I was inspired, not only to get to where they are but also to solidify my hood’s name on the map” – Touchline What is your current opinion on the state of hip hop in SA? I think we could have a little more of our identity in it…we take too many influences from western culture, but at the same time I believe we have added our own flavour to this whole rap thing…the kids ekasi bump Hip Hop more than anything, and that’s word to the people in the game right now who have made iRap easy to understand and more relatable. What would you say are the negatives of SA hip hop culture? Lack of Identity, The drug and alcohol abuse and the lack of respect for women in our musical content. How would you define success for yourself? Financial freedom, being influential enough to impact more people in more places, to take my music to the rest of the world, but essentially, just to be happy doing what I love every day…that is success to me. What are your plans for 2019? More videos, more features, more travelling, more music and a few things outside of music that I would like to venture into. 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? It made me feel like my efforts haven’t been in vain, that the Hip Hop fraternity is listening which is a result of the masses listening. It was also motivation to keep going and never changing the way I do things, only improving END.