THE STRUGGLE OF LOCAL MUSICIANS CONTINUES
By: Samkele Sokhela
Local musicians in Marianhill, located south of Pinetown, have voiced out their struggle they face in the underground hip hop music industry. They believe that they are being neglected
by music promoters because they live in local areas.
For one who may know little about underground hip hop music, underground hip hop is an umbrella term for the hip hop music that is outside the general commercial canon.
The industry is typically associated with independent artists signed to independent labels or no labels at all.
The South African music industry has seen few local artists making it to the top level.
Artists have now expressed their disappointment over the situation, and the majority of them have said that they use their talent to keep themselves away from the streets, and to avoid
drugs, or committing crime.
One of the struggling artist in the area, is Nhlanhla Mayaba (39), who goes by the stage name of “Culprit”. Mayaba has been doing the Hip hop genre for the past 21 years, but still hasn’t
tasted any success.
He said that it is painful to be undiscovered even when you are talented in this ‘underground’ music industry.
“When you are doing underground hip hop, and living in a low community like this one, a lot of top people (promoters) undermine your art very badly,” said Mayaba.
“We need to urge people to visit us in our societies, and witness what we are capable of.
This is very painful because, look for instance, I have been rapping since 1992 but I have never tasted that experience of being called for a radio interview, or given a paying gig,” he
Sibongiseni Ngobese (28), a local event organiser, said that even though he tries organising shows for local artists it is as same as wasting time because nobody discovers them.
“I feel for these artists, because I know that most of them are doing this to stay away from negative things like drugs and crime.
I am known in the area for always organising local events for them every two months, but it is so sad to realise that not even one of these artists are getting signed,” said Ngobese.
Bheko Sokhela (32), who works as an event organiser and artist promoter, believes that the artists are being ignored due to their type of music.
“The problem about them (artists) is their kind of music.
They rap a lot about guns, robbing people on the streets and stuff,” said Sokhela.
“I know it’s not all of them, but the majority of them are doing so.
Another thing is that they are too much on their comfort zones.
Since some of them are highly-praised at their respective communities, now they think that they are ruling the world, and they don’t need to improve anywhere. They are wrong,” he added.
“My advice to them is that, they need to upgrade and change their style of music,” Sokhela advised.