Whether or not South African Hip Hop has a sound is a hotly contested issue. On one hand there are Hip Hop purists who believe that following specific elements of the Hip Hop culture, especially when it started in the USA, is the way to approach this diverse and well-loved genre. And on the other hand, there are some who believe that personalizing the genre and incorporating our own flavour and language within it making it our own is the way to go.
We chat to Skhanda Gawg, K.O who explains the importance of both perspectives and whether or not South African Hip Hop has a particular sound.
He also explains why it was so important for him to come up with Skhanda as a sound and cultural movement and what it means for South African Hip Hop.
“My idea for it wasn’t for it to be a K.O sound. I wanted to give us as SA Hip Hop an identity,” he says. Explaining that movements such as Motswako were not terribly South African when it comes to the beat selection. “When we did what we did with the Skhanda sound, we tapped into those elements of Kwaito. Taking what was going on within that space and putting it over Hip Hop beats. I thought that was supposed to be like an identity that we were gonna run with,” he explains.
K.O also touches on how it was like for him before he found his sound- explaining that he also used to sound American. Saying that it is important that we do not reject artists who don’t exactly sound South African because they also have a market that they are catering for outside of the country.
“Those guys still have a voice, they have an influence and they also have responsibility themselves, whether they know it or not, to make sure that the identity and the authenticity of our country permeates throughout their music.”
Check out the rest of the interview.