Masego gets into swing of local things

Masego recently set the stage on fire at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Masego recently set the stage on fire at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Image: SUPPLIED

When I first encounter TrapHouseJazz pioneer Masego, he is full of effervescent energy and impeccable style.

The American musician is fresh from setting the stage on fire at the 19th Cape Town International Jazz Festival and, on the day, the world is abuzz with news that Ghanaian-American designer, DJ, and Kanye West's right-hand man Virgil Abloh has been named the new artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear.

The internet is flooded with everyone from supermodel Naomi Campbell to house music maestro DJ Black Coffee sharing on social media
pictures with Abloh - accompanied by congratulatory messages. Masego's chic look
includes wardrobe separates from Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. Aside from our love for fashion and tattoos, we first bond over how historic Abloh's appointment at the French fashion house is in moving forward to a more inclusive and diverse industry.

"Only recently I started to dress cool, before then I used to dress like an old man. I started dating this girl; she was 'phly', so I had to match her," he says when I compliment him on his wardrobe.

"You have to match your woman's 'phly', it's a lesson I learnt. So, I just started getting into fashion, fabrics and who made it. Virgil Abloh just became the menswear designer for Louis Vuitton, which is a great thing for black people."

This is Masego's second visit to South Africa in just a year, and he reveals that on his Spotify playlist, he has been listening to Bucie and Heavy K's 2013 hit Easy to Love as well as Black Motion and Xoli M's hit track Rainbow.

The 24-year-old artist, renowned for his hits Tadow and Navajo, is a big fan of local rapper AKA.

"I'm a huge AKA fan. I have been here twice and I've seen how his music moves people here, especially in the club. When he comes up, everyone moves. That's powerful.

"I don't know why people in the States don't know about him. So, I put my friends on [to] him when I went back to Coachella [music and arts festival] and showing different artists that I discovered when I was here. If an opportunity happens [to collaborate with him] I'm open to it."

Born Micah Davis in Kingston, Jamaica, he can play various musical instruments including the saxophone, marimba, bass and drums. He explains how he got his Tswana stage name.

"It all started in high school, trying to figure out the roots of my culture. I started with a name chart and at the time my nickname was 'Little Blessing' in church. So, when I found out the name Masego meant blessing and prosperity, I thought it would be a great artist name for a talent competition I had entered.

". when I eventually came here, I started learning more about the culture, traditional languages and food."

Before heading back home to Los Angeles, Masego ended his week-long SA visit with an intimate jam session in Rosebank, north of Joburg, that featured local artists such as Amanda Black, Lady Zamar and Tresor.

"This old man at the airport said I was the highlight of his week and he has been going to the Cape Town Jazz Festival for years. That really got me," he shares. "Another highlight was experiencing Table Mountain."

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