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Hip Hop Flops kwa Langa


26 July 2005 One Comment

Hip Hop kwa Langa has died, it’s so underground people don’t know who, what or where the art is happening, it is as underground as the word underground can ever mean. Contrary to this fact some individuals (hip hop heads) pledge that the genre is still alive and happening. Back in 1998 – in the good old days when hip hop heads where called my man – Langa (Cape Town) was one of the first locations to be up in your face in hip hop…

uLanga was one of the first locations in Cape Town to set a standard and pace of hip hop. Cats from Langa are the definition of an underground Mc. Langa got tight cats. Even in graffiti most of them leading artists are from Langa,‘ says Zozo Mohoto, 26. Zozo Mc’s for Ghetto Pioneers, they have been together since 1996.

Zozo says, ‘… the hip hop gigs in Langa, cats that would rock them mic where 5th Floor, Ghetto Pioneer, Zinzi and Zolile. These mc’s were the foundation of hip hop in Cape Town.’

‘There are crews in Langa but it does not get much attention. Just that our population is less compared to Gugulethu, Khayelisha, so crews in Langa are smaller. But the standard is of the highest level, good stage presentation and relating to the audience.’

Zozo claims, ‘another obstacle slowing down hip hop is that Cape Town is predominantly white, as African Bantu we dis-advantaged. If I was in Jozy (Joburg) in two years I would have moved faster.

Hip hop in Langa is as underground as the word underground ever means. When it blows it will blow beyond imagination, globally; umzanzi (South Africa) is the shit,‘ concludes Zozo.

Again Lolo Petros is not at home. Its 10am, this time I just missed by ten minutes. Lolo is one of the really happening Mc’s in Langa. He rhymes for a four men crew called Archetypes. His crew members are Soley and T.O.P. He occasionally dj’s hip hop and ragga at Cool Runnings (in Observatory and Long Street – Cape Town).

Xhanti Petros – Lolo’s brother says, ‘against current systems Lolo entertains his belief, using different styles to attract different fans. It gave him a back bone, he found himself as a person.

Archetypes perform a lot around Cape Town. This year they decided to take their art out of the province. Between June and July they performed at the Grahamstown Festival, in Grahamstown. From there they went to Joburg to market their debut album, 3rd World Hustles.

Zipho Dayile, 19, says there is no hip hop scene in Langa. ‘I am not saying there are no artist involved in hip hop. Nothing is happening, there are no shows or performances. People don’t even know a kid who is their neighbor is an mc. Mc’s also move out of Langa. They might not have enough space at home. If you wanna have a studio you need bigger room. You need space to grow.

Langa is also smaller than other Locations like Gugulethu, Khayelisha; but that’s not the only excuse. Kids in Langa are not exposed to role models to look up to, that used to rhyme. Langa also has no unity. There is no body or organization out to teach kids and motivate them to pursue the art,‘ Zipho says.

Unathi Dyantyi, 24, says ‘hip hop in Langa right now is happening in the corners and gutters. Shows are no more happening. Back in the days almost every weekend it was happening within Cape Town and Langa.

‘There is not a lot of mc’s in Langa. Heads used to survive in Langa but they end up getting other jobs. Then they don’t give hip hop as much time or effort. They don’t abandon it, it’s too real to leave it.’

‘The problem is hip hop is not sponsored, business men around don’t know about it. Maybe if hip hop can be rhymed using the Xhosa language (like spaza), people can understand it. Use the audience’s mother tang, maybe they might relate’, says Unathi.

Unathi believes that ‘hip hop is about life, it’s the shit, its a form of life. People know its history, its education which empowers. Mc’s are inclined with the realities of life, they use hip hop as a positive tool to uplift the community.

“Mc’s and hip hop lovers (underground of course) know that concise living is the guider. Our realities are underground. People are too comfortable to face them. The conscious hip hop is a weapon against this shitsteem (system). Hip hop teaches what da youth won’t be thought at school. Hip hop teaches things you need to know as a black youth,‘ says Unathi.

Ndumiso Sibindlana, 27, from Ghetto Pioneers also claims that hip hop is happening in Langa. ‘The young talents have taken up the platform in activities going on around. Most of our generation listen to hip hop. It gives us opportunities to expose your music and life style.‘ People are excepting hip hop as a life style, as part of integration in their society.

Our problem, ‘halls in Langa are mostly / only for church purposes,’ Langa has an art centre (Guga Sthebe). Its main purpose is to empower the community in skills and art development’, wraps up Ndumiso

Monwabisi Sopitshi, a Craftman at Guga Sthebe, says ‘Guga Sthebe is for the youth that lack belief in themselves. Guga Sthebe has classes on living value, where by we deal in virtue.’

Guga Sthebe is an art centre for music, craft, painting, still designing, theatre and children crises. It’s a platter where all African people can come and share or teach their expectances to develop uLanga or the nation. Guga Sthebe focus’s on African music, jazz, kombela… Guga Sthebe is all about art. Anybody is welcome to show / share what they on / have’, says Monwabisi.

Article by Mihla Kumalo

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