Ishmael exercises his gums

SURVIVING the music business is a feat that most fail to accomplish. Singer Ishmael Morabe is among the few musicians who have managed to become successful in the notorious industry.

He is now a member of the prolific hip-hop group Jozi. What began as an unplanned recording session with friends Bongani Fassie and Da Les has become an international phenomenon.

Their debut album, Muthaland Crunk, released in 2006, won several international awards and saw the boys touring the world.

"Bongani, Lesley and I were friends before we became Jozi. We have performed in London, Panama City and in America."

Ishmael's career began 20 years ago when he added vocal elements to hip-hop crew Prophets of the City.

"POC was a militant hip-hop group. We wanted to speak out about apartheid and give a voice to the youth at that time."

Ishmael has since proven to be a musical chameleon. After leaving POC he formed the group Skeem. Following the success of their album Waar Was Jy he opted to pursue a solo career.

His first solo release Ishmael to Ishmael introduced fans to his more romantic RnB side. He then moved to kwaito legend Arthur Mafokate's 999 label. At 999 he tried his hand at kwaito. The result was the runaway hit album Roba Letheka. Then he released a gospel CD, Ema o tsamaye.

He gives his vocal cords a break and gives his jaw a workout instead. He first tries Hubba Bubba Glop Liquid Filled Bubblegum.

"These look like small tomatoes. The gum is quite hard on the jaw."

Next he tries Bandeez Strawberry Bubblegum. "I like the packaging. It's not too hard or too soft. It's also not too sweet."

Then he tries Pop Pop Strawberry Bubblegum. "This is way too hard to chew and also too sweet."

Last he tries Bubblicious Strawberry Splash. "I like the name of this gum: it's current. It's not too hard on the jaw.

"Bandeez is the best."