I make music for my tribe – Solo Ntsizwa Ka Mthimkhulu

Rapper to drop his much anticipated album end of June

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Solo Ntsizwa Ka Mthimkhulu on why he had to rebrand himself.
Solo Ntsizwa Ka Mthimkhulu on why he had to rebrand himself.
Image: Supplied.

Rapper Solo Langa isn’t fazed about being considered an “underrated rapper” as he believes in his close-knit tribe that rallies and supports his music. 

Born Zothile Langa, Solo is a mellow yet frolic rapper who has contributed his voice to the South African music landscape for the past 15 years. 

His fascination with the art of storytelling and creating a visual picture through words and lyrics sparked in his teens, leading him to find the identity and sound we know today.

“I’ve learnt how to quieten the noise so I can put my best foot forward. When you ask whether people appreciate my contribution to SA hip-hop, the answer is simple, I don’t think anyone owes me that.

“I’ve noticed that if you make art in search of your tribe, your tribe will find you and that’s what’s important to me,” said the rapper. 

“I’ve also noticed that if you make music out of desperation, you might lose the essence of who you are or the message you’re trying to deliver. You also let go of your uniqueness which isn’t a great reflection on you as a musician.”

In the past four years, the husband to TV actor and singer Dineo Langa has been going through an evolution into a more “mature musician”.

He also went through a rebranding that saw him changing his moniker to Solo Ntsizwa Ka Mthimkhulu – a name with which he’d like to be referred going forward. 

The rapper is also set to drop his much-anticipated album, The God Anomaly, at the end of this month, which took him three years to produce. He would also be headlining the Basha Uhuru Festival alongside Nadia Nakai, Sjava, Mörda, Kabza de Small and many other artists.

“Realistically I no longer identified with Solo anymore – I had outgrown him. I slowly evolved into Solo Ntsizwa Ka Mthimkhulu, who is a married man with different responsibilities than what Solo had years ago. This new version of me has prospects of growing sonically and possibly having his own family one day,” said the rapper. 

“My new offering is my way to reintroduce myself to a new audience. I want to give them an idea of where and who I am as a musician.” 

Actor and singer Kabomo Vilakazi was the first one to open the door for the 36-year-old rapper in the music industry.

Although SA hip-hop has taken the back burner in terms of dominating the charts, Solo still believes in his strong fan base.

Image: Supplied.

“I don’t believe that the surge of a specific genre is a downfall of another. I also feel that hip-hop, in its design, is a genre that has rules that apply to just hip-hop,” the rapper explains. 

“I don’t think there’s any other genre that suggests that amapiano is a threat to it. It seems to be a narrative that only chases hip-hop which is bizarre to me. What I don’t seem to see is the popularity of piano being the demise of hip-hop.” 

As a child, Solo was heavily influenced by the American hip-hop duo, Kris Kross, which consisted of Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly and Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith. Not only was the rapper from Diepkloof, Soweto, musically influenced by the young duo but the 12 and 13-year-old kid-sensation made the young Solo believe and envision a future in the music business. 

“I’m the last born in the family. I have an older brother and sister. My brother is 10 years my senior and my sister seven. So, early in my life, I stumbled upon this neat little trick which was learning lyrics to songs. This really fascinated my brother and sister... it was actually the one cool thing that they liked about me,” laughs the rapper. 

“I was quite young and somehow I got addicted to the feeling of being seen by my siblings... they were my audience who validated my skill of rapping. 

“As soon as my brother realised I had a passion for reciting lyrics, he started introducing me to a lot of music, mainly hip-hop... and essentially I got bitten by the bug, one that has lasted for all these years and will continue to live within me.” 

Image: Supplied.

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