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Cashless Society – The Biography

18 November 2003 No Comment

It all began in 1999 when fate brought together two like-minded lyricists – Kwezi Ngcakani (X Amount) and Julian Du Plessis (Snazz D) – whose mutual relationships with other MC’s Alfred Chirwa (Criminal), Salim Mosidinyane (Fat free), Dave Balsher (Draztik), Jerry Kai Lewis (Black Intellect) and Thabiso Mofokeng (Gemini, a most recent addition who is also affiliated with the Groundwerks crew), amalgamated into the group the streets know well as Cashless Society.

The name, derived from “the hard cashless society”, aptly captures the group’s vision via a pungent double meaning: cashless, as in the plastic economic future of the modern world and cashless, as in Africa, presently the poorest of the poor being at the bottom of the pyramid. But rather than focus on the gloom of that reality, cashless chooses to perpetuate hope and progressiveness.

Explains Draztik, one of the crew’s main producers, “(With our new album) we are taking advantage of our surroundings. We are gonna export what we have… we are not just money makers, we are wealth creators.”

With such high-concept maxims, Cashless asserts their social responsibility of educating the public on how knowledge acquisition is spiritually empowering and absolutely vital in creating consciousness of the world we live in.

With such inherently diverse backgrounds commonly rooted in Johannesburg but stemming from South Africa, Malawi, Sierra Leon and Botswana, their intent to promote “street-hop rather than regular rap music,” as X Amount insists, is hardly a long shot. In fact, in 2000 the inner-city outfit added New York to their urban repertoire. Bobbito of the legendary Stretch and Armstrong radio show picked up on their single Blaze Tha Breaks, which he then released a s 12” inch under his Fondle Em record label, making it their first official release, and then the first African Hip-hop act to be licensed and distributed overseas on vinyl. It sold over 3000 units worldwide. Since then Cashless Society has collected major tour kudos, billing on monumental shows such as Dead Prez and Blak Twang’s tour of Southern Africa, Black August and Blackalicious’ tour of South Africa, Blackalicious.

Their critically acclaimed 2001 EP contained Blaze Tha Breaks, Make It Happen and History – a track which X Amount reckons is the single most concise reflection of Cashless Society’s ethic. But now, with African Raw Material, that essence is spilled out evenly across 15 tracks to create what is bound to be the group’s most commercially accomplished project yet. Proof of this comes from recent performances (e.g. at the Tedelex Hip-hop showdown in September and Redevents / Black Rage Work Hard Play Hard party in October) of crowd pleasers like the summer anthems Summer Craze, Wordz 4 Real and the infectious Hottentot Hop, due for release on video shortly.

But don’t get it twisted; Cashless hardcore aesthetic is as visible as ever on tracks like The Meaning, It Ain’t A Game and Stuck. The latter, featuring Tumi, is one of three collaborations on African Raw Material. The other two feature guest appearances from MC Cuba and and Mizchif. Joint ventures are part of cashless’ master plan as African Raw Material premiers a series comprised of three volumes, which Draztik says will “adopt different themes and serve as a platform for other MC’s who may or may not necessarily be a part of Cashless.” 

Notably, the format of the series’ release will be both a mix tape mixed and hosted by DJ Bionic as well as a standard compilation-style CD. True to real Hip-hop and all its elements, the mix tape will serve to place emphasis on the equal importance of the DJ to that of the MC in Cashless Society’s unwavering mission to reflect our own culture in our sound to give Africa its own voice in this global culture.


1999 Underground 2 Track Single (unreleased records) 
2000 Official International 12” Vinyl Release – Blaze the Breaks (Fondle’ ‘Em World-wide Licensed/unreleased records) 
2001 4 Track EP (CD) – Blaze the Breaks, History, Make it Happen + Remix
(Unreleased records)

2001 Blaze the Breaks Video, aired on SABC, Channel O, and BTV (Botswana) 
2002 DefJux Presents Farewell Fondlem (def jux) U.S. Release 
2003 Cashless Society presents African Raw Material Vol 1

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