You’ve been in the industry for many years, and you’ve made the transition from rapper to TV personality. How has this transition been for you?
Entertainment is my passion and I consider myself an all rounder. This is not to suggest that I’m an expert in all aspects of entertainment but rather that I love the entertainment industry in it’s entirety and I try and expose myself to all is has to offer and learn all I can along the way. I started in radio as technical producer for DJ Fresh and Thato “Freshest Breakfast Show” on YFM back in 2003, in the same year I was introduced to television on Channel O as a presenter for a hip hop segment called “HeadRush.” As far as Music I only got a deal in 2004 and subsequently released my debut album in 2005. I still continue to explore as I’ve now ventured into tv production with my production company [SIC] Entertainment which produces Idols SA & Miss SA and a few other shows.
What inspired you to add presenting to your list of accolades as a producer and an artist?
As I mentioned I’m an entertainer so I’m prepared to explore anything that speaks to my field, whether it’s presenting, production, music, performance, writing, even the business of entertainment. I still have aspirations of running a record company in the future and possibly a talent agency that seeks to groom talent and empower others to thrive in this brutal industry. This will be my legacy project.
You consider yourself an emcee more than a rapper. For the uninitiated, what is the difference?
I’m careful about taking a purist response because I think it’s all subjective and open to interpretation. Having said that, there are many understandings of the difference depending on what you subscribe to. Some say an Emcee is more conscious in content while a Rapper is more commercial. Others say an Emcee is what you are and a rap is what you do. I say the rules and definitions don’t matter, just do you and be good at it.
What do you think of the current Hip-Hop scene? Would you agree that in some respects it eerily resembles that of the beat-emphasized Western commercial scene, with less emphasis on lyrical quality?
Again, very subjective. I love the scene at the moment, the success of the hip hop artists, the domination in the media space and the business aspects – endorsements, we have our own award ceremonies and companies and this in my opinion is what the dream was and is all about. The globe is now taking note and when the pioneers were fighting the system back then, this is what they were fighting for. The current generation of artists are enjoying the fruits that our generation and the guys before us fought for, so let’s celebrate it. The issue of content is neither here nor there as there is a market for everything. The “commercial guys” are successful because there’s a market supporting it and the more content driven Emcee’s (like myself) are still around because again there’s still a market for us. The cake is bigger now and we continue to bake so no need to fight, let’s all eat.
Tell me about your career as a Hip-Hop artist: when, where and how did it start? What inspired you to venture into this industry?
HipHop has always been a part of me but I only pursued it as a career later in life. I always wanted to be a doctor because most of us were brought up to believe you need a “career” first and music and art were never considered “real” careers. Once I landed in Jozi 1999 I was exposed to more and my views began to change. I got a taste of showbiz when I won a few radio and tv competitions and I was hooked. The rest as they say, is history.
What have been the highs and lows of your career as a rapper?
My highs span 10 years, from when I released my debut album, to opening for Guru, traveling the world, celebrating a decade as a hip hop recording artist in 2015 to win my 1st and only award to date for hustler of the year. The lows are harder to think of as I don’t view challenges as lows but rather as opportunities. Having said that the biggest low for me right now is not exclusive to me but to musicians at large, the issue of piracy and radio. The fact that the ratio of international vs local music is still skewed to favour international music and even though the wheel turns it turns painfully slow to the detriment of many South African artists and musicians.
Do you still cipher? (Had to ask this)
There isn’t music opportunity to cipher but when the chance arises I do. Just recently at an event I took the opportunity to tell the crowd in attendance how back in my days we would freestyle every chance we got just before a collapsed into a freestyle and sparked one!
How did the Idols SA presenting gig come to pass, and how long have you been an Idols presenter?
I had to audition to present idols and by the grace of God I landed the gig. This was back in 2010 for season 6. This has since re positioned my brand and exposed me to a lot more of this industry that I love so deepley. I now co-own the production company and this will be the 6th season as host.
How is it, working with such personalities as Somgaga, Gareth Cliff and even Randall?
These are all legends in their own right’s and I take advantage of every opportunity to learn from them. They’ve been in the industry a lot longer than I have and it’s a privilege to interact with them as often as I do.
I feel inclined to ask about your weight loss: what inspired the now-lean and chiselled look, as opposed to the Proverb of old?
This was a personal decision I made to take better pride in myself, my health and my lifestyle. I’m 35 this year and I’m just taking better care of myself. Made some lifestyle changes and I’m a batter person for it. It’s still a daily struggle but the reward are great. I feel better, and I’m leading a better quality of life for it.
When you’re not producing or presenting, what do you do in your spare time, to relax?
I thoroughly enjoy traveling even though I don’t get to travel as often as I’d like, but given an opportunity I really do enjoy seeing places I’ve never seen before and meeting people. I also have a motorbike which I enjoy taking on short rides and just lifestyle activities.
What’s your favourite food?
I’m a sushi man through and through and when I’m being really nice to myself I love oxtail.
What’s your favourite type of music?
Well even though I consider my taste in music broad I must admit that my daily playlist always ends up on Hip Hop. Throughout the day I may switch up to some R&B a bit of soul but my day does start and end with Hip Hop.
What’s your favourite quote?
It’s more 3 questions than a quote: What do you want? What are you going to do to get it? What are you waiting for?
In such a turbulent and unpredictable industry, what is your constant?
My constant is the ever pursuit of the level beyond the next in all I do. I’m constantly looking to challenge myself and raise the bar all while creating new opportunities for myself and inspiring as many as I can to follow suit I the process. I constantly seek to learn and grow and even though no two days are the same, this is my constant.
How many awards have you scooped since the beginning of your career?
One, until last year I had never won a single award in my career. Now I’m very proud of my one awards which I won at the hip hop awards for “Hustler of the year.” I live by the creed my day will come and I believe that. It took Leonardo De Caprio 22 years to win an Oscar but this didn’t stop him from working hard and sharpening his craft. There is a lesson to be learned here, and that is to keep working on me and my craft and the accolades will come.
Your mind is in the industry; is your heart still in Kimberly?
Absolutely, Kimberley is my home and I do all I can to put Kimberley on the map and to share with my homies the little I know in the hopes of inspiring them to achieve even more than I even could. My biggest wish in life is that my journey will show youngsters that anything is possible.
What have been some of your biggest achievements in your career?
My biggest achievement without a shadow of a doubt is that I’m still standing and Ive met a few youngsters who’ve told me that something I once said to them or did has shaped them into the young adults they are today. That’s is what I want my legacy to be.
One last question: what does the future hold for the Verb?
I’m a very spiritual man and if God’s promise is anything to go by then my future is full of happiness, prosperity and success. As far as my career, more music and in the medium to long term a record label and entertainment academy. More television drifting more to production and embarking on the global scale. More radio, I’ve started making my way back on to radio and hopefully from this year I will solidify that. Plenty personal goals many of which Ive already embarked on as well.