Singing hip-hop's praises
"When so many people are sucking up to the system for personal gain, we need a voice of reason to speak for the voiceless"
FOUR years ago hip-hop icon Nas claimed the genre was dead. He even released an album bearing that title. Since his proclamation the phenomenon that is hip-hop has been slowly but surely dying.
When young hip-hop artists join the movement you feel sorry for them. You wonder if they are going to make it and if people are still interested in the genre.
But budding hip-hop artist Mfundo Lunga Tony Mkhize, aka KayDee, thinks people still love the genre.
The 22-year-old from Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal thinks there are stories that South Africans should hear that can only be told through hip-hop.
"Hip-hop artists are like praise singers," he says. "They say what other people are scared to say. When so many people are sucking up to the system for personal gain, we need a voice of reason to speak for the voiceless."
Talking to KayDee is like talking to a man twice his age. Perhaps he grew up fast because he had a child at age 19.
He says this experience has been an inspiration to his music.
"I was not ready for a baby, but I thank God for him because I matured quickly."
KayDee was introduced to music at school through a rap and poetry society.
"Being an introvert, hip-hop gave me the chance to speak out. I started writing my own material," he recalls. "When I was in Grade 9 I started my own movement, bringing together pupils from various schools and hosting successful talent shows.
"Friends encouraged me to compose music and one day I got a call from a local rapper who wanted to feature me on his track. The track was completed at Ghost Town Konnection studio.
"On hearing my work, the owner of the studio was impressed and asked if I would assist him in exchange for experience."
In 2008 KayDee got a break in the industry after taking part in the Redbull All Elements Battle of the Year competition. He came second as Producer of the Year.
After that he worked on his first project, The Dawn, which brought him more contacts. In 2009 he was crowned Producer of the Year again at the BOTY (Battle of the Year). By 2011 he had finished working on his first mix tape, The Take Off.
UCRFM (Umgungundlovu Community Radio Station) started playing his music and his single, Bay' tholile , won the local battle six times in a row. The hosts would play two songs and people would call in and vote for their favourite song.
He later joined Lucid Productions as an artist.
The composer, writer, producer and music arranger recently released a 16-track album called The Next Level with Lucid Productions.
"This is the biggest achievement of my career. It was inspired by my life experiences. This is who I believe I am. What I love about it is that it is mature and clean."