Monday, 27 April 2009

South African Hip Hop Part 2 via Jonzi D

So last night I wrote about the quality of South African hip hop and the fact that I was put on to it by Jonzi D, who got involved and sent me some more artists to share with you guys...but first I just want to make sure you know who Jonzi is!

The short version is that Jonzi is hip hop. He's been involved in the UK scene in every possible way you can imagine as a pioneer, advocate and keeper of the culture, particularly in the Hip Hop Theatre movement. Jonzi, whose family is from Grenada, actually studied at London Contemporary Dance School (not common to see a dread doing ballet and modern dance back then but he - as always - just did his own thing). He went on to create the seminal Hip Hop Theatre pieces "Aeroplane Man" and "Lyrical Fearta", the legendary night "Apricot Jam", has worked with everyone from The Roots to Gangstarr, travels all over the world performing and teaching, has been on TV too many times to mention, set up his company Jonzi D Productions (which has produced amazing hip hop theatre shows such as "Tag: Me vs The City", "Ivan" and soon "Marcus The Sadist"), and is the Artistic Director of (the world renowned and happening next weekend!) Breakin' Convention. Oh and he is probably Spurs' biggest fan.



OK, the first amazing artist Jonz sent me was Tha Hymphatic Thabs. This one is called Fire Fables.


Next up is HueMan aka Nicke, (R.I.P.), who was a classic lyricist in underground SA Hip Hop circles...this one is called Stereotype and the lyrics just blow me away.


I was so excited to hear this - an artist called Tumi on a Kev Brown beat! (If you read this blog you know we're big fans of Kev, who's a mate). Kev actually went out to SA last year and was met by screaming fans and girls trying to climb the hotel walls which I believe was a first, ahem. Apparently Tumi also wrote a play Jonz directed in SA. This song is called Bophelo Hame.


Last track is from Gin-I-Grindith, I've listened several times and know I'm still missing stuff ("our smiles no longer ivory"). It's easy to forget what a history South Africa has and how recent, but the intelligence and political awareness shown by its youth is truly inspirational, and really exciting. This one is called The Length of Time.


A huge thank you to Jonzi for doing what you do best - shining the spotlight on the most talented hip hop artists from all over the world.

2 comments:

  1. Let's not forget that Jonzi also had ties with the contemporary poetry scene through his affiliation with the Urban Poets Society, which also included Roger Robinson, Khefri Riley and Vanessa Richards, to name a few...

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