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Gallo Record Company Signs South African Hip Hop Group Skwatta Kamp


20 June 2003 No Comment

In a first for a major South African record company, Gallo is proud to announce the signing of the hip-hop group Skwatta Kamp. The signing of this SAMA winning group is a major move on the side of Gallo to enter the urban arena two fisted. Even though hip-hop has received a lot of media attention over the last few years it has never really converted into sales.

The hip-hop culture, which has been a predominantly underground movement and only acknowledged by some small independent labels in the past, has taken the country by storm and is set to become a major factor in the South African music industry. Since Skwatta Kamp broke into the industry in 2001 with their debut album ‘Skwatta Kampain’ released through the independent label Buttabing Records, they have been rocking some of South Africa’s biggest stages. In 2002 the release of their second album ‘Khut En Joyn’ saw them win in the ‘Best Rap Album’ category for the 2003 Sama Awards. The Skwatta Kamp sound is as unique and fresh as hip-hop gets. Skwatta Kamp is comprised of 7 members and has collaborated with many artists during their career including N8ive, Spexx, Amu and Ramesh, to name a few. 

Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Gallo Music Group, Sipho Sithole said: “As a record company and the only South African owned major record label, Gallo wants to ensure that hip hop and rap music is given the platform and status it deserves. Our commitment is to continue to be a key player on the world music stage through showcasing our South African artistic talent, as well as ensuring that the product coming out of our stable reaches international channels: This is the intention with the signing of Skwatta Kamp.” 

Lebogang Mothibe, a member of Skwatta Kamp, stated that “anybody can rap to the beat or rhythm, but hip hop is a way of life: hip hop is a lifestyle and lifestyles are relevant to the people. So, if hip hop can find relevance to the people, then hip hop is going places.”

By signing with Gallo Record Company, Skwatta Kamp sees this as an opportunity for hip hop as a whole and a channel to the mass market and that this signing will open doors for other artists and create a life long business and music career just like Kwaito did for others. According to Buttabing Entertainment’s CEO, Sibusiso Molefe the reason Skwatta Kamp decided to sign with Gallo instead of any of the other majors that put offers on the table was because “Gallo was prepared to give us creative freedom, agreed not to censor us in any way and consult with us about the placement of our music in advertisements, films and even compilation albums. This was a very important point for us in any negotiations.” Buttabing Entertainment is Skwatta Kamp’s management company.

Skwatta Kamp is derived from the word Squatter Camp, which are shantytowns littered around South Africa’s open landscapes. The people who live in these settlements are seen as outcasts and a nuisance. This is the situation in the music industry that Skwatta Kamp finds themselves in, where their form of music is not seen as an art form but a passing fad and not worth mentioning in high regard. 

With the recent signing of Skwatta Kamp to Gallo Record Company, we can see a change in this philosophy and are urging people to realise that hip-hop is becoming a musical form ready to be noticed.

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