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Interview With Windhoek’s Eraze – The Cypha


25 May 2004 No Comment

You can find Namibia on the West Coast of Southern Africa, just above South Africa. Besides having dunes and gemsboks they also have fairly active Hip Hop scenes (Walvis Bay, Skwakopmund and Windhoek). One of the people providing a platform for Hip Hop in Windhoek is radio presenter/emcee Eraze. We wanted to find out more about him and the scene. Check the interview for the entire probe.

Who is Eraze the man?

Well firstly I would say Eraze, is a hip hop fanatic to the fullest.  It’s so sickening the amount of hip hop I listen to.  My now dead hard drive was a 40 gig with no Rnb, no other genres of music just straight up hip hop….and none of that chingy and fab stuff.. secondly Eraze, is an emcee, a very diverse one if I should say… I think I can rap on any topic, I believe the line between commercial topic and underground topics does not exist, what is there is the delivery.  How you rap about a situation puts you in a category, underground or commercial or just wack…thirdly I would say am a producer or learning to become one….hip hop is so flipping big, one sometimes needs to have his/her fingers in as many aspects of hip hop as possible and lastly I am a radio presenter, I specialize in hip hop of course but am not afraid to venture in any direction as far as playing music for my listeners is concerned. 

Tell us about the Cypha, when did the radio show start? Who’s all involved?

Tha Cypha, well the whole idea, came about in 2002 when me and my mans, BONX felt that radio stations in Namibia at the time did not really, show case the type of hip hop that would uplift or broaden the state of hip hop in Namibia. Stations were playing a lot of Mtv hip hop, the type of hip hop you find on the Channle O top ten.  While we were in Botswana, one radio station used to play some tight stuff, the show was hosted by Drastic and Fat Free from Cashless, so on some level they kind of gave a push, an idea.  We approached Unam Radio, after some begging, and I mean begging, we got a Saturday spot, playing some not so underground hip hop but it was still different from what peeps were used to….as time passed things changed, including management, BONX became the stations Coordinator, he chilled on the presenting, and focused his energy on producing the show, hooking up the play list and stuff like that. I got moved to Thursday night, 8 till 10. And the rest is history. 

What style of hip hop do you play on the show?

Basically the only mainstream stuff we play is the new stuff. we make sure no other station has aired the stuff, then we play it once, just to let peeps know that we tight like that. But most of the music is abstract or underground….we like peeps like Immortal Technique, Cage, Weather Men, Copywrite, I am sure u get the picture….sometimes when a tight local emcee comes thru then we hook him/her a spot, some time to shine in the lime light…plus we got a spot for like 30 minutes emcees come thru and freestyle.

As deejays in the land of Nam where do you buy your music from? Is hip hop vinyl available there or is it mostly cd’s?

Most of my music come from the contacts that we have made abroad and some from, the local grapevine. we hardly buy cd’s locally coz that issh is hard to come across, if you guys know of a joint, hook a brother up….most of material is on cd’s like I said I am a presenter not really into djing…..

How much can a Nam cat expect to pay for a hip hop cd or vinyl?

A cd in a store like Musica, you can pay up to N$ 170, that’s R 170.  I got a friend who spent like N$ 200 and something on a Styles cd, and I just flipped…that’s a mega ripp off….but I guess when a dude loves his hip hop nothing can stop him from copping it.

Do people just show up for a freestyle session? How do they get in the studio? What must they do to be down?

We run an open mic session, you think you tight then you come, just walk in do your stuff…this policy I believe, gives every body a chance to expand.  You might not be tight now, but by coming thru, getting burnt you start to learn and get better….the main aim of the freestyles is to teach peeps, how to rap,  what rap is about without actually going straight in they face and saying you are doing it wrong do this instead….

When does the show air and on which radio station?

Every flipping Thursday’s from 20:00 till 22:00, that’s two hours, hip hop none stop…on Unam Radio, 97.4fm…the problem is you got to be in Windhoek or somewhere really close to catch it.

When and how did Eraze get involved with hip hop?

I would say 1996, that’s when I wrote my first rhyme, and when I started understanding what the emcees on the tapes were doing….before then I would pop in a tape, bump to the beat, sing along with the hook and say,  yeah this is a tight song…my ears were shut, not listening to the words, the word play and all that stuff.

If you could offer a thumb suck, how many hip hop crews/artists are there in Namibia?

Not a lot, or maybe I should say, peeps is still rapping in they rooms, the scene seems empty, but once in a while I bump into a sick cat, and am like yo, wassup come thru to my show…why you hiding.  Peeps on some level fear coming thru and getting burnt by some of our regulars…. and one problem is that peeps want to do the commercial stuff, which am not feeling.  A lot of crews fall short….I think I know of about 3 crew’s that are ok and a lot of hot emcee’s without any work put out…that’s our other problem, emcees love to get high adn talk about recording and do nothing.

Who are the more famous most respect emcees/crews in your country?

I can’t really say, but in Windhoek we got cats like the Militants, we got a new group that’s coming out and I am part of Genetik Audio Sexion, we got Home Rolled they got tight emcees and beat makers.  We got some cats that used to shine back in the day before the Cypha (around 2001bc) but they seem to have gone in hiding…

How big the graffiti scene there? Can you drop some names of graf artists for us that you know of?

Graff, the only graff I come across is the silly remarks about your momma being fat in the loo….

Who are the hip hop deejays in your country?

Most dj’s here are on that I got to move the crowd, chicks have to like me tip, so they play a lot of wack issh…. radio dj’s I know of play around with some hip hop, I can’t mention they names, they are from another radio station…last time I nearly got my ass sued coz one dj heard his name getting dissed on my show…

Is Sam Njuma down with hip hop?

Yo, jo that I don’t know….but since we talking about him, I would like to wish him a happy 75th birthday (12-05-2004).

What are the top 10 hip hop tracks out right now in your opinion?

right now, 
not in any order, 

Murs – The Pain
Nas – Star wars
The Perceptionist – Medical Aid
Kany Eest Ft Mos Def – 2 Words
Immortal Technique – everything that he has done…
The Vast Aire diss track for 7lesoteric and Celph

I will stop here, coz most of the stuff I bump is either last years issh or 3 years old but dope…. plus what u mean out now, as in globally or just here in africa….that a tuff question….I got a lot to choose from.

What’s your most valued vinyl?

I am a new age hip hop head, most of my material get encoded to mp3 and the cd stored away…I don’t have any vinyl, plus they are rare around here.

What’s the future of your radio show? Where would you like to expand to?

I would love to go continental, coz I think I will have almost if not no competition, am not really governed so I play anything that’s tight.  Imagine a head in Ghana, calling thru to drop a rhyme on my show that would be wicked, sick….the future, is taking over as the main representer of hip hop this side of the globe…have emcee’s from abroad that want to break into the african market go thru me, that would be sick. That’s my plan, so that hopefully the future for the Cypha.

How would you define the Namibian hip hop scene? Do you have clubs and stuff?

The scene still young, needs a campus but is slowly getting direction.  All we have to do is weed out the wack….wack cats stand out more than the good ones, so we need to eliminate the wack….as of now we don’t really have clubs, I would say the Cypha on some level is like a club, a hip hop society, and yeah I heard of some place down here where they supposed to play underground stuff, but I can’t real say if it’s tight.  I have a problem with peeps who don’t recognise the Cypha as Windhoek’s platform for hip hop…so when an organizer of such an event does not check or holla at me, I don’t check out they stuff….

Thanks for talking to us, you got any last words or shout outs?

These won’t be my last words, coz u are going to hear from me a lot this year, for now I will say “everyone should watch out for that dry country, Namibia, it is coming for it’s spot on the map of global hip hop” and “the Cypha is the train that will bring it” that’s all I can think of, for NOW…..

Shouts to, my G.A Sexion niggaz (Bonx, Ak), Kannibal and the Militants, RV Inc, Home Rolled (X-Rate, Vortex, Da-Liq, Majestik), Wassup to Mic-chanik, Katty Kat, Lethal Ammunition, Splash, my man in Zim’s Thot Illectrik (Kan I Ris), my peeps in Bots (267), wassup Black Death, Syphaglyphix, and one of the hottest up and coming beat makers C4… yeah take a walk with me….let’s get out the door…. yo plus thanks Shane for the support…..Africasgateway rocks…. peace

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