South African born and Mmabatho bred, Khuli Chana is a talented musician who practices the skill of rhyming in vernacular rap, Motswako. Motswako encompasses various elements from various musical backgrounds. It involves street-talk and highly influential messages in Setswana, English; and other South African languages, yet largely comprehended lingo. Khuli Chana brings a different flavor and sound, not only to this type of music but also to the Hip-Hop scene. One of his objectives is to encourage and inspire an international appeal into South African music. Check out his interview below.
Khuli Chana: I got the name from a random drunk guy from the neighbourhood. He always used to call me Khuli Chana’s (Khuli Mchana’s). I just ran with the name. My name is Khulane Morule. I got the name Khuli from my mom. I’m from Mafikeng (North West).
YV: What inspired you to pursue hip-hop as a career?
Khuli Chana: When I was probably between 8-10 years old. My mom left me over at my big brother’s home who is a Motswako pioneer. One night he gave me a lamp, switched off all the lights and I gave him the spotlight in his room. Then he started rapping for me. From that day I also wanted to rap.
YV: Tell us more about the latest single, Jivas Fabulous ft. Morafe, what was the motivation behind the song?
Khuli Chana: The song was recorded in 2008, produced by Ishmael of Jozi. It was supposed to be on our second album and somehow the record label was’nt feeling it. I really loved the song. So when I started working on my album, I was like I am going to put the song on the album and shoot a video. The motivation behind it was to prove that the song is a hit.
YV: Why rap in vernacular?
Khuli Chana: I am obviously from Mafikeng. I like the way I speak and the Tswana we speak is not that deep. We mix Setswana and English.
YV: What do you think about the current state of hip-hop in South Africa?
Khuli Chana: We are doing amazing stuff. Hip Hop is looking good right now. It’s just up to us to really take it to the next level, where we run our own businesses.
YV: What are some of the challenges you come across as a Hip Hop artist?
Khuli Chana: The challenge is still sales. We are not doing the numbers that Kwaito did. We still need to reach the masses. Hip Hop appeals to the youth but there is still a chunk of people that do not get it.
YV: What do you think can be done to overcome those challenges?
Khuli Chana: Music is expensive for one and it shouldn’t be expensive as it is right now. Two is getting people used to the culture of buying music. Three is making music accessible. We need to find a way to bring the music to the people.
YV: Which career would you have pursued if you weren’t a musician?
Khuli Chana: I would be an entertainment lawyer or I would be a film director. I’ve tried to dabble into other careers but realised that I am actually born for music. I love television.
YV: Which international hip hop artist would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Khuli Chana: I would like to work with Kanye. I think Kanye is the guy who would get my style.
Khuli Chana: A lot of charity work. I am the ambassador of the labonating service and hunger fee ( Action Aid Campaign). We are also working on a No More Hunger Campaign. Going into next year there is a lot of charity work. We are the voice of the youth and there is so much more that we can do off stage.
YV: What sentiments do you have with regards to piracy in South Africa?
Khuli Chana: Piracy has been killing us for a while. People don’t exactly know how bad it is. People who buy pirated music don’t know that they are killing somebody financially.
YV: What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Khuli Chana: Right now I am performing at the Drake show. There’s a lot I’ve done. I won the Fatma award which was in Durban for vernacular rap and there’s a whole lot more.
YV: Is there a special lady in your life?
Khuli Chana: I wish, not at the moment.
YV: What qualities do you look for in a woman?
Khuli Chana: I like a woman who can put a smile on my face. She will have to be humble and very patient because I work in an industry which is not for the faint hearted. She has to know Khulane as opposed to Khuli Chana.
YV: What car are you driving?
Khuli Chana: I drive an A4 Cabriolet
YV: Any books you are reading at the moment?
Khuli Chana: I am reading the Empire State of mind by Jay Z.
YV: What do you do for fun?
Khuli Chana: I chill with friends. Otherwise I am very simple guy and will now get into travelling.
YV: What’s in your music collection? Favourite local and international artists?
Khuli Chana: Locally,It would have to be AKA. Internationally, it would have to be Kendrick Lamar.
YV: Any upcoming events you are planning at the moment?
Khuli Chana: There is an angle event we are planning at Welkom its called beach on the track. I am going to be everywhere this Decemder.
Khuli Chana: For inspiration Jay Z, he is like the the brother figure I never had. At home it would be my uncle. And there are guys I admire at my camp.
YV: What advice can you give to aspiring Motswako artists who want to break into the scene?
Khuli Chana: You’ve got to be authentic. You’ve got to be different. You need to remember that everyone can rap. You have to be consistant. You got to be hungry and you got to struggle a bit.
YV: Any advice for the youth?
Khuli Chana: Give yourself some time to grow. Focus on your vision and keep your eye on the prize.