Now here’s the thing. The term “underdog”, meaning someone thought to have little chance of winning a fight or battle, will never suffice with regards to describing the magnificence that is Tshego. Here’s another thing. The word “magnificent” is probably not even the right word to use in this intro. Basically when we think about Tshego, we can’t even digest the thoughts. Damn that’s deep. When we think about Tshego and the level of skill that he possess as an artist, he almost seems alien. Actually “alien” might be a perfect word to use right now. Why you ask? We don’t know, but we do feel it in the music. At the end of the day music will always be our sense of pure understanding and Tshego is one artist at that radiates across all genres. Let’s not pretend to have to have not slept on him, let’s not pretend that our ignorance blinded us from seeing the flair that was right in front of us all along and let’s finally realize that he is more than capable.
By now the public should know who you are. By now SA’s music scene should be threatened by what you can do. But let’s not dwell on the fear of it all, but rather let’s dive into how it all started out for you. When was it all clear that you wanted to walk down this route?
It all started way back by accident. I mean growing up I always used to enjoy listening to music, listen to radio and dancing. I was a dancer first [Laughs]. Then I just discovered that I could hold a note. Along the way I used to listen to a lot of Genuine, I was an Rnb dude you know what I’m saying? My mom didn’t really like the whole rap thing, they weren’t about that.
Okay. Why did you sing at church or something?
No but my parents are ministers. I was a rebel but my parents are the coolest and my parents are the World. They were both ministers but you wouldn’t tell and they literally just let me explore everything that I wanted to explore. As long as I just put my focus/energy into it and just finish what I started. Fast forward, I’ve always liked music and always loved listening to it. High School started, I hooked up with some guys when (I guess) rapping became popular. I discovered that I could also write some rhymes, so I started strictly as an artist first and it just got to the point where I felt like I wasn’t making music fast enough only because I didn’t know how to make the actual music and the composition. So that just drove me crazy and then I started working on production. I picked up Fruity and had my own little set-up of hi-fi speakers in my little room with one of those mics that you just hooked up on the back of your pc. It really started from there and it’s just never stopped.
We try to imagine to imagine how you must have been received artistically, especially within our hip hop culture. Singing wasn’t really perceived as a “hip hop” thing at first. You must have received some back-lash along the way.
Mentally, but people actually have been coming and giving me the energy. This whole thing is a mental game and things happen when their meant to happen. I just have an organic approach to things. I love all types of music and I can make all types of music. So it’s never really been an issue because I don’t consider myself to being an Rnb guy. I’m an artist and I feel like rapping today, I’m going to rap and I feel like singing then I’ll sing.
Word. Then how did you envision yourself fitting in?
I did not.
Damn. So you just dove into it huh?
Honestly I don’t think and I’m not going to say never, but show me a guy who’s just started making music and says “this is me” you know? It rarely happens. This thing is a thing that you really have to love to do, so regardless of whether I’m popping now I will be making music. The blessing is having people who appreciate it. That’s all you can hope for and just build your life on that. End of story.
“but this is my problem with South Africa, Africa as whole, we sleeping on ourselves” – Tshego
Speaking about the music, that dope Since 1990 project. You re-released it right?
Yes I re-released it because I signed with Family Tree and we took it off net in hopes of putting it on iTunes but that took too long. So we ended up just giving it to the people again.
We won’t front okay? At first we slept on it, but now when one listens to it, it’s a totally different experience. The level of quality is amazing. What were you constantly telling yourself during the development of it all?
Listen I just told myself that I’m going to make something super fly, dope, album quality and classic sh*t. That is it and that’s all I’m going to do. That’s the zone I was in, there’s no hype here, nobody really f*cken knows me, I don’t have anything to lose and I don’t have anything to prove either.
But come on, haven’t you felt sort of underestimated even though you artistic excellence can’t be denied?
I mean yes that’s why you have to be strong. I’ve been doing this thing for a long time. Me and Nyovest (Cassper) started making music around the same time, we’ve been doing this thing for a long time. I’m talking 12/13 years old and its 2016 now, come on. So yes I do feel like I have been underestimated and have been slept on but that’s not my problem. I just have to keep putting in the work and just pray that something happens. I’m just enjoying the journey and I feel like I’ve got a lot to be thankful for at the same time.
You ideally came under the Family Tree and the clique work ethic seems to be quite strong. What drew you to joining that affiliation anyway?
For me these are the homies and I’ve known these homies since Maftown. I knew Cassper before the ponytail, so first of all that counted a lot and it was just an organic thing. I don’t make friends easily, people say I’m a d*ck and I’m not a d*ck, it’s just that I don’t like new people especially if I don’t understand your vibe. First of all that made me comfortable, I was comfortable having that conversation and we were at a gig, I was performing at his (Cassper) first Fresh Prince of Maftown event and it just came up. The next day we actually sat down were serious about it. For me this is an independent situation, it’s an independent label at the end of the day.
“I love all types of music and I can make all types of music” – Tshego
Now your presence in the game is evident. Remember when you dropped that ‘Do The Most’ joint and the public kid of forced you to drop it officially?
You see this is my problem, I did put it out for download but this is my problem with South Africa, Africa as whole, we sleeping on ourselves. Why do you want me to do all the work? I put it on my website and any day you could just go on my website and just download it. Now I must drop it “officially”. What do you mean I must drop it “Officially”? I gave you a video as well, it’s there.
Word. So when you reflect on your journey and how far you planning on going. What overall impact does Tshego want to have on the game?
Classics. I want to go down in history. I want to be a memory that’s forever. For me it’s not about the money, I come from very humble beginnings man. I don’t come from a very rich family but I’m cool. At the end of the day I just want my sh*t to be classic. We need to do something for the World. I want to do something for the World.