Celeb Interviews

Zakwe Interview

Zakwe came and took Mzansi by storm with his straight Vernac rapping and greatest lyrics. KZN has done it again; Zakwe is best Zulu rapper this country has ever heard of. Zakwe’s DELUXE EDITION in STORES now Nationwide, Featuring new tracks (WOSH & ISUKILE ft Duncan)…..”Bathi iTsotsi By Nature Gazi.”

ZakweYV: Who is Zakwe?
Zakwe: Zakwe, is Ntokozo Zakwe, an artist signed to Native Rhythms/Sony Music.

YV: How was growing up in KwaMashu?

Zakwe: It was exciting, I studied in the area while I was in primary and when I went to high school that was multiracial, there was this respect and fear from other students just because I’m from Kwa Mashu. This is a very controversial place and people who never lived here are stereotype about it but in my songs I always try to paint a good picture about our hometown, make people understand why those ‘bad things’ happened. When I grew up, there were a lot of gangsters, people who stole cars, murderers etc. and people are still stuck on that era. Now we are united and all working towards success and painting a good picture about this place of many talents, we are slowly getting there.

YV: Who/What tricked the love of hip hop in you?

Zakwe: I won’t lie, have no idea, I don’t remember why I started penning my thoughts, there’s no specific something that made me love/do hip hop.

YV: Did your parents support you?

Zakwe: In the beginning, yes but after I dropped out of varsity, they didn’t but then again, now they do.

YV: While you’re living in KZN did you record your songs or you had to come to Joburg to do that?

Zakwe: I recorded the whole album in KZN except there were I feature artists from Joburg.

YV: Why did you choose to rap in Vernac instead of universal language English?

Zakwe: Music is universal, I subconsciously chose to rap in vernac. I still rap in english and that also happens subconsciously, I never sit down and plan the language I’ll use when writing a song, though I know I express better when I rap in vernac and I believe it has more impact, its evident from the airplay and sales feedback the album is getting.

YV: What is your take on the hip hop scene now?

Zakwe: It’s growing a lot, and I’m glad I’m part of the people who are raising the flag higher. In our days, I doubt you can do a show/club gig without a hip hop artist, we have made it that far and people, not just listeners but also musicians and starting to believe in this genre and showing interest, to an extent of features with gospel/choral music artists. Maximum respect to those who paved the way for us, and hopefully we are doing the same.

YV: How did the relationship between you and Native Rhythms come about?

Zakwe: It was via a feature I did with Zuluboy for his album released in 2009 titled ‘IGODA’, after recording a song titled ‘Sizinsizwa’ wich featured 4 other artists. We then did another song also on the album titled ‘Zobe Zisho’, it was successful because we shot a video for it and it received airplay, after that feature, Mr. Sipho Sithole requested me to join the family, the rest is history.

YV: How did you feel when you saw you were nominated 5 times for the 18th Annual MTN SAMAs?

Zakwe: I was actually at the venue were the nominees were announced, I was very excited and it was more exciting because my Native Rhythms family was there with me and after the announcements, we celebrated in style hence on the day, it was also my birthday.

Zakwe2YV: Which Award was important for you to get and still is?

Zakwe: Best Street Urban Album.

YV: Do you think female rappers are given enough exposure? If No. What need to be done to balance the hip hop scene?

Zakwe: Hip hop is male dominated and is all about skill, I don’t believe women should be treated differently when it comes to giving props or getting signed. No one is special in this genre, its all about proving yourself and I know female rappers who will make it in the industry for how good they are and not because they are women who should be given a ‘chance’ or exposure, its only a matter of time.

YV: Who would you like to work with on your coming project (being a producer, song writer, singer, DJ or hip hop artist)?

Zakwe: I would love to work with Dj Cleo, Pro, Proverb, Tumi, Toya Delazy, Professor, Khaya Mthethwa (from the Idols) and The Jazell Brothers.

YV: Beside South Africa, which country would you like to perform at?

Zakwe: USA

YV:  Who inspires you musically and personally?

Zakwe: Jay Z, he’s one of those rappers that can balance business and music perfectly. He is still relevant till to date, regardless of how busy he is.

YV: What has been your biggest challenge? How did overcome it?

Zakwe: Proving to my parents that choosing Hip Hop was a perfect decision. I pushed hard to get signed and release an album, not only did it do well but it has also brought respect to the surname – ‘Zakwe’.

YV: How has the journey being like so far?

Zakwe: It has been exciting and building me for the better. After not winning any award at the SAMA’s, I told myself that its my initiation, its just that, maybe it was a bit too hush but with the love from my fans, friends, family and record company, I got over it easily. I’m also shocked at how warm the reception towards my music has been, I thank God daily.

YV: Amu or Kanye West? And why?

Zakwe: Both, they are both hit/classic makers via samples, mostly, respect.

YV: Who has given you the best advice? And what was it?

Zakwe: Cannibus – ‘Its not about who strikes first, its about who strikes the hardest’. That to me, means it shouldn’t bring fear to me that there are veterans in the game, I should pay respect to them and continue to do what I do best.

YV: Any future projects that you are working on?

Zakwe: Not at the moment, but I would love to one day, record a live DVD. My Deluxe Edition album is out, and available in stores, nationwide.

YV: Your Advice to young people?

Zakwe: Keep pushing and pray till something happens. ‘Don’t Do What Sells, Sell What You Do’.

If you want to know more about Zakwe and his tours go to www.nativerhythms.co.za/Zakwe.html or

you can follow him on facebook at www.facebook.com/ZakweOfficial

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