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Nothing For Mahala – Catching Up With Spex – The Interview


28 April 2004 No Comment

The last time we spoke to Spex was around 2 years ago. He’s been really busy this year. This year he released “Nothing For Mahala” and he’s also finalising the May release of the first group on UTHOHT Enterprises called ZULU MOBB. He hasn’t had a chance to sleep for the past 3 to 4 weeks but he made the time to answer our questions.

 “I consider myself the best storyteller in the country”

Hey man how’s life these days?

Busy, very busy. Like i said above, running a lable is hard but fun, exciting and rewarding. Besides ZULU MOBB, we have signed 6 other artists and should be releasing a compilation/sampler later in the year.

I notice they play your video quite often on late night TV these days. In terms of the local perspective does a video make a big difference to help drive sales for an album (in the case of local hip hop) or does it do more for general exposure?

Most definitely. People seem to pay more attention to you when you are on tv. I can definitely say that the videos raised my profile. especially in the townships.

When was that video done (Hizo)?

Early 2000 A.D.

We had spoken to you about 2 years ago right? So between then and now what have you been up to (besides making your new album)?

I’ve been setting up this company, raising funds getting to know more about the business. On the flip-side, I’ve been spending a lot of time with family and friends and staying away from “the glits”. I guess that has stuck with me though because even though my album is out, I’d rather be ekasi rather than the trendy spots or “places to be”.

You’ve recently released your new album, this is your second one right?

It is actually my first album. “RhymzIwrote” was an 8-track EP, actually 5 songs plus remixes.

What has the response been like from the press and media?

The press, radio and tv are responding quite well. The video for “celebrate” should be out in three weeks’s time so we’ll see how that goes. On the whole, I’m happy about the response from that side of the world. I think that we achieved what we set out to achieve.

Out of all the radio stations in this country which stations do you think show the most support for local hip hop?

Y-fm, Bush and Metro is also coming up strong.

How long did it take you to record the album?

I think about a year-and-a-half. I would do one song, the maybe 2,3,4 weeks later I would record another. It took a while, mainly because of the budget we had. The company wasn’t yet set-up as we’ve got it running now.

How do you approach the recording process. Do you first source beats, choose, write then record or does it happen differently?

Sometimes I’ll come up with the chorus, melody or concept for a track and then go and find a beat for it as was the case with “celebrate”. But most of the time I got to my “”sources” for beats and then I take the beats home and write. 

How many copies did you press of this new album?

I can’t say.

How many copies have you sold so far?

I can’t tell you exactly but it’s in the thousands.

By the way how many copies did Rhymez I Wrote sell?

I was told around 700.

The scene right now is better for hip hop in general but can it be right to assume that it might be tougher because of all the competition?

Competition is good for the industry. It will sharpen everybody’s skills and ensure that only the tightest get to be heard. It’s no longer about who can rhyme but who can rhyme the tightest. Therefore we get left with “quality”?

From our rich history (since around 1982) it’s def no lie that hip hop has always been in South Africa. Now last year something happened to make it xplode. What do you think triggered that?

The dam was about to burst and some people realised that so the opened up the valves a bit some some stuff can come out and ease the pressure. I think that the people demanded it and some people like The Harambe crew on Y-fm and lables like Gallo decided to supply.

For those who’ve never heard the new Spex album what should they know about it so they can get it?

It’s different. I consider myself the best storyteller in the country. Nobody is doing it like this because my stories are more than just tales. There is more to them. Check it out

Where can one buy your new album?

Shops like CD Warehouse and Look ‘n Listen have the Cd as well as some other independent shops. For a detailed list and info on where to buy it online, you can check www.spexonline.co.za.

How would you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of emcees out there?

Like I said I’m the best storyteller in the country right now.

How do you think people perceive you?

I really have no idea. I don’t even have an image that you can pinpoint.

During hip hop’s life we’ve seen unwritten rules come and go (such as rapping in American accents etc). Now today many consider it to be acceptable. what do you think will be acceptable in hip hop in, let’s say 10 years time?

The thing about hip-hop is that anything is possible. If you look at what was going on a few years back and what’s going on now you wouldn’t think that it’s the same music. Things that were no-no’s in 94/95 are prerequisites for blowing up now. eg “bling bling”. So I don’t think that anyone can predict where hip-hop will be in tem years. I would like it to return to the way it was back in it’s golden age when we had P.E, EPMD, Kane, Rakim, BDP, etc. Not the music, cos music has to progress, but the whole philosophy of originality ( rappers had a lot of style back then and it was unique ) and skill.

What albums have you been bumping this week?

ZULU MOBB– “Corner Bullet ‘n Knife”. I know that it’s not out yet but since the songs were comipled into an album, I haven’t been able to get it out of my cd player. When I’m not listening to that I’m listening to Fortune’s album, ABOM’RAPPER.

Is there anything that frustrates you about the SA hip hop today?

It’s still hard to make it. As hard as it was a few years back. Companies haven’t completely opened up yet. On the music side I think mc’s of today are lazy to write lyrics.

Do you perform live these days?

Not as actively as I used to but if someone calls and the situation and the conditions are good, I rip it apart.

Tell us something that nobody knows about you?

Been to jail twice for some stupid shit (I won’t tell you what) stayed a few days every time.

What’s the most asked question people ask you?

Why I cut my dreads.

What’s next for Spex?

Check for a new album either end of the year or early next year.

Thanks for speaking to us – let us know your last words.

Look out for UTHOHT Enterprises, we are not going to make a lot of noise about ourselves we are jus going to hit you with GOOD music time-after-time.

Check out the very old interview we did with him a year or two ago:
Get more info on his new album here:


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