20th Oct2014

Colour of Reign Interview

by admin

Gigi Lamayne talks to us about her latest Mixtape, The Colour of Reign.

GM

Tell us a bit about your new pre-album Mixtape?

The Colour of Reign mix tape album is a culmination of a two year project that is intended to showcase my diversity and growth as a musician. It is also meant to prove to the South African music industry I have what it takes to take SA Hip Hop to the greater level despite my gender and age. The mix tape features a lot of acts from around southern African countries as my eventual target is global domination. The album was executively produced by Shayzar and his production crew named Mix Masterz International, alongside top S.A producers Dynamic, Neo Beats, Tuxman and J-Twinn. It features artists such as Zakwe, Rashid Kay, Infa from Skwatta kamp, Kruna, Maraza, Fimo the beat boxer, Captain FS, Siya Shezi, Karma YungMarley, Cindy Munyavi , Tumi (of the volume), DJ Naida and many other big names from around Africa. The album is available online via iTunes. You can also preview a minute of some of the tracks here.

So a pre-album mixtape is…

So a pre-album mix tape is basically a concept album, an imprint or a general outlook of what the forthcoming album should be. More importantly it is the definition of my brand, the act and the artist Gigi Lamayne.

When does your full album release?

For now we have just dropped this mix tape which has sixteen tracks plus to add to that, we have exciting new singles and music videos on the way. So to speak of the proper album when we have all this is a bit premature for now. We would not want to pre empty our grand scheme.

Tell us about the inspiration for the name of your pre-album mixtape?

I was at a point where I was unsure of what people expected of me after winning the Hip Hop awards. I felt the pressure of having to maintain the credentials I had attained throughout the past year; however I didn’t possess the exact formula for being the best female out there. I didn’t know where I was going but I knew where I was coming from. My vision for this mix tape felt like a blank colorless canvas, like the colour of rain. Hence, the album title was somehow inspired by that blank “colorless feeling” but also the feeling of being able to conquer the said “colorless feeling”.

What are some of the inspirations for some of your tracks?

The inspirations come from the trials and tribulations I have gone through as a female Hip Hop artist and to a certain extent my own private life combined with the joint experiences of family and friends I have witnessed.

Do you have any favorite tracks on this mixtape?

No favorites, they are all my babies :). I love them all in a different way and each track means a lot to me and was definitely meant to be there. It is a very introspective album if you get the chance to listen to it.

Thank you for the interview

14th Apr2014

Back to The City 2014- The biggest Hip Hop festival in Africa

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at the upcoming Back to The City festival that will be taking place in Johannesburg.

gm1It cannot be denied that Hip Hop is one of the fastest growing genres in music. With Veterans such as Amu, Skwatta Camp and Ben Sharper to name a few, it is no wonder that South African fans of Hip Hop needed a platform that focused exclusively on Hip Hop culture. We (South African Hip Hop fans) were never exposed to any large platforms incorporating underground and commercial Hip Hop alike but finally, there was a solution- BACK TO THE CITY!

Back to The City is currently one of the most popular Hip Hop festivals across Africa and is one of the most talked about events on any South African Hip Hop head’s calendar. The event is held on the 27th of April every year and is now officially hosted at Mary-Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg due to the large numbers of crowds that have attended in the past. As many as 17 000 Hip Hop supporters were present at last year’s gathering and it is speculated that numbers will increase this year.

The masters and gurus of this event include a team of Hip Hop enthusiasts who have managed to take the music industry by storm. The Ritual Media Group consists mainly of: Osmic, Lerato, Rashid Kay, Dynamic  and TTP who are in charge of the event while a steadfast and hardworking team help to get the job done in the background.

The Event begins with a Hip Hop summit at The African Museum (opposite the Mary Fitzgerald Square) where the current situation of Hip Hop is discussed and debated upon. The workshop encourages inter-connectivity and collective problem solving. This is then followed by the main event, the concert.

Back to The City showcases some of Mzansi’s hottest contemporary talent as well as veterans who have contributed to the South African Hip Hop industry in the past. Other happenings at the event include:

  • The Annual Sprite Uncontainable challenge, which sets up an audition platform for Hip Hop heads that would like to take part in the competition this year. This competition includes rappers, dancers and graffiti artists who will battle it out to become winners in their respective categories.
  • Red Bull will also be hosting the 10k challenge for MCs and producers alike who will compete for a cash prize of R10 000 as well as the chance to perform at Back To The City on the very same day.
  • A beatboxing battle will also be held on the main stage.
  • Stalls are also set up where food, music and clothing will be on sale to the public.

Back to the City also brings Hip Hop Heads an international act that is announced closer to the time.  So far, the line up for 2014 includes the likes of Reason, Blaklez and Ginger Breadman to name a few.

Tickets are on sale at The Ritual stores (Corner Bree and Henry Nxumalo) Newtown.

Tickets Range from R80.00 – R180.00.

For more info follow @ritualstores.

You can also visit the festival website: www.backtothecityfestival.com

gm2

Get your tickets soon –Gigi LaMayne

 

17th Mar2014

An open letter to Hip Hop

by admin

Genesis Manney shares some of her poetry.

gg1This has to be one of the least controversial letters of our time. Friends and foes alike, cannot dispute the impact you’ve had on your followers. The healer of broken hearts, restorer of broken dreams and revealer of ceded fears. You’ve held my hand in the dark and helped me sing into the light. All hail Queen hip hop. Mother of an open mind.

How is your love for me so evident? In every song, every score, every note. How many tears have you dried? I know this because – I myself have cried. You were the only one ever allowed to be in my room with me alone. Maybe the reason why you’re my home, my hook, rap delight in Al Capone. You made me see I could be a beautiful woman alone.   All hail Queen hip hop. Healer of a broken life.

gg2Boom bapped my heart into love, dubstepped me out of trouble and trapped me into school. Never once have you told me to sell dope. You never made it look cool. You wanted me to see all you had been through. A struggle song for your people. You were never above us  but equal.  All hail Queen hip hop. Seeker of inner joy.

Graffiti your name in my heart, krump your synergies into my brain, beatbox your strength into my veins and battle your way into my pain. After you I never was the same. My emotions lay with you, and so do my fears.  I love you too much to ever be without you. That is why you’re my religion, my struggle. My one true love. All hail Queen Hip Hop. Liberator of an oppressed mind-Gigi LaMayne.

10th Mar2014

No local play, no legends

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at issues around airtime given to local and international music in South African Media.

Kwesta

Kwesta

“Play local or Die” has to be of the most controversial statements made by supporters of South African Music. While some may argue that local music remains not up to standard with other fellow international artists;  the ordinary South African looking for a music platform for local music, considers the controversial open letter by Kwesta. Questions about the place of South African, and more specifically, hip hop music being playlisted on our local government  radio stations were raised.

In a detailed and displeased outcry to the SABC, Metro FM Music award winning artist, Kwesta DAKAR, explained his dissatisfaction with youth radio station, 5FM.  He explains that there seemed to be marginalization of hip-hop music on the national youth radio station. One could agree to an extent that the issue resides within the amount of airplay local artists get as compared to their international counterparts. The last documented collective uproar was in 2010 in the midst of the world cup, when local artists protested against the imbalanced airtime given to international artists in comparison to them. The small hitch was covered up throughout the duration of the world cup, however, this was not carried out post- world cup.

Although, a radio station that seems to be paving the way for local artists alike has to be Radio 2000. Radio 2000 aims to playlist 70/30 percent of music in favour to local artists

Elsewhere, countries such as Zimbabwe have ruled out the slightest threat of international music dominating its national radio airwaves. A quota system has developed which orders the playlisting of 75% of local content on every distributive level. With such a clear attempt being made to promote local music, would South Africa still be facing the phenomenon of, “the broke artist” if it had the same systems in place?

Blondie Makhena

Blondie Makhena

In the last five years alone the City Press claims that South African Artists Pitch Black Afro, Blondie Makhena and Stitch were reportedly “broke” at some point.

While we can try to justify the conditions in which our artists need to sustain, live and grow within our environment, by making it seem as though they are responsible for their own downfalls, let us not ignore the significance of broadcasters’ roles. Many of these radio stations are not obligated to play any amount of local music, as their mission statements do not state this. Maybe it’s time to re-dress and re-frame this issue.

With finding somebody to blame, a situation will not find itself improving. Artists such as Kwesta had taken a very brave step in speaking up, even if that meant speaking alone. There is no point trying to compete with international musos if our own countrymen have failed to provide us with the resources and exposure that they could have provided us with in the first instance. It is also especially saddening that even private broadcasters seem to ignore the pleas of SA artists to start embracing local talent. While it is said that consumers are often influenced by trends, are public broadcasters not creating these trends and then feeding them back to listeners?  If this is the case, then these trendsetters are capable of creating a frenzy for local music too.

gm3It is therefore not one’s mission to try and slander a particular artist on why they did not “make it big enough”; especially regarding the repression of local music on public broadcasters. At this point, only government can rectify the situation in terms of quotas; especially on national radio stations. This problem needs to be addressed with a sense of urgency before there is a total concentration of international music countrywide. Furthermore this needs to be done before South Africa misses a shot at producing another Miriam Makeba or Hugh Masekela. If this is missed it will not be because of a lack of talent, but rather a lack of support from those with the capacity to either grow or snub ones talent.-Gigi LaMayne.

 

 

 

10th Mar2014

NAN

by admin

Have a look at a promo video from an up and coming South African Hip-Hop artist.

gm4Genesis Manney is a second year Media Studies student and an active member of the exPress imPress blog team. She is also a young, up and coming Hip-hop artist. She has recently released a promo video with a snippet of her single NAN. Have a look at the video below.

07th Oct2013

Krump and uplift

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at the dance form of Krump

gm3I first came across Krump dance at the annual ‘’Masters of rhythm” event that originally took place at the Standard Bank Arena. This event was founded and hosted by Clinch crew, one of South Africa’s prominent dance crews.  The “Masters of rhythm” show has continued to break barriers, broadcasting on South African entertainment TV Channel, Vuzu. With so much exposure from dance crews such as Clinch, the Repertoires as well as Buck fam to name a few, it is difficult to ignore the uniqueness of Krump as a dance form as well as its abstract music. In order to understand Krump, one must be able to delve into its history to find out why it has had such a large impact on young men and women across the world.

 

Tight Eyez

Tight Eyez

The word krump initially originated from a song K.r.u.m.p. which is an acronym for Kingdom Radically Uplifting Mighty Praise. This means that Krump was an art form that was very much praise-based.  Krumping was initially created by two dancers: Ceasare “Tight Eyez” Willis and Jo’Artis “Big Mijo” Ratti in the city of Los Angeles in the 1990s Krump originated from clowning, a less aggressive type of dance created by Thomas Johnson in 1992. This dance, complimented by face paint and make-up was initially used to entertain children at birthday parties. While clowning was the somewhat content of the physical expression of dance, Krump was the “punch line.” Krump has been showcased on many music videos, including, Black eyed peas, “Hey Mama” and Missy Elliots, “I’m really hot”.  The objective of Krump, besides expression in a battle, is to “kill-off” ones enemy so much so that the crowd ends the battle and pronounces a winner. While confrontation stands as a primary characteristic of Krump, we seem to find a very religious aspect to it.

The Christian forum has described Krump music to be an urban Christian hip-hop dance. “Tight Eyez” has highlighted this as a method of uplifting and thanking God for all that has been given to the performer.

With the dance being of such popularity amongst the youth, jargon linking to the dance has found itself emerging from Krump and into mainstream hip-hop.  Examples of words that have now been sensationalised in the hip-hop culture include:

  • Buck- Used to describe somebody that is overly-talented and experienced.
  • Biter- Somebody who feeds off somebody else’s dance expertise and skill and uses it later on for their advantage.
  • Labbing- refers to a session used to practise and create new routines.

gm1There is also a much more intimate relationship between the crewmembers. They usually take up the name “fam””to emphasise their closeness as a dance family.  There is usually a leader of the fam who serves as both a dance instructor and spiritual leader. He is referred to as the “Big Homie”.   The crewmembers usually take up the titles of Lil homies and twins who feed off the big homie and his skill.  Everybody is given a name according to their ranking for example, “Twin, Jr, Boy, Girl, princess, lady. The fam can therefore act as a family unit for young people.

Krump has emerged as a sub-culture to hip-hop that has categorized many young Christian people. It has helped to alleviate many off drugs and violence in many parts of the world and has also granted a sense of companionship amongst youngsters within their fams who may not have family systems back home. Even dance in Hip-Hop has emerged with a life changing contribution to young people all over the world. -Gigi LaMayne.

 

19th Aug2013

King of NEW school and NEW York?

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at the recent track by Big Sean, Jay Electronica and Kendrick Lamar and why it actually isn’t controversial.

Battling in Hip Hop has always been considered a ritual. From Emcee contests to Dance battles, one’s credibility lays within their skills and competitiveness. For many years, the strength of battles was questioned until the rise of the new “Rap Don”, Kendrick Lamar.

gm1

Kendrick Lamar

Previously known as K. Dot, Lamar has managed to grab the attention of many Hip Hop Heads across the globe. With various musical projects under his belt, Kendrick continues to stun us with his amazing lyrical skills and musicality. He has worked with some of the industry’s best. This includes Miguel, ASAP Rocky, Drake and Dre.

gm2Kendrick has however become the topic of discussion for many because of his latest single, a collaboration with Good Music Stable artist, Big Sean and Jay Electronica. The song called “Control”, was deemed quite controversial by many. Some were disappointed while others were proud. Kendrick paid respect to some of the industry’s heavyweights in his verse. These pioneers included Nas, Eminem, Jay Z and Andre 3000. The ‘controversy’ began however, at the mentioning of new school rappers such as Drake, ASAP Rocky, Pusha-T, and J Cole. Kendrick also proceeded to title himself as the “King of New York.”

As a reaction, artists such as Lupe Fiasco and BOB responded using the same production, only different lyrics. Some responses were stronger than others but the message was clear, each tried to prove that they were more superior than the rest.  Some of the strongest responses came from rappers who felt that Kendrick was NOT “The king of New York “as he had stipulated in his controversial verse. Surprisingly none of the rappers that he had mentioned in his verse, responded to his declaration. Whether a set up or “a run for cover”, one begins to question the credibility of these artists. Was this a publicity stunt or just a strong awakening of the battleground, which had hibernated for so long? One would gladly accept that Kendrick did what many artists wouldn’t have dared to do since the time of Tupac. Tupac is known as a matter to the Hip Hop industry. He is respected by Hip Hop heads for his revolutionary musical ideas. One of Tupacs very popular tracks was a diss track titled “Hit em Up”, aimed at B.I.G.

What was interesting with this so-called controversy was the amount of mainstream media attention the track received. Stories were seen/heard on Vuzu, Hot 97, and Hip Hop rewired. Each of these media sources, reported on the noise created on twitter by fans and fellow artists alike. The one common question: Who would stand up to the challenge?

Regardless of whether reasons for conflict exist, Hip Hop remains a competitive genre and culture based around credibility. Sometimes, acquiring this credibility may result in acquiring enemies. This is the point where one has to decide whether their reasons for doing Hip Hop are based on friendship or artistry.

King of New York?

King of New York?

Apart from the huge attention that this track has received, it will not be part of Big Sean’s new album due to various sample clearance issues. However we have to commend Big Sean on being outrun by Kendrick as a featured artist, on his own track! Whose response was your favourite?- Gigi LaMayne

05th Aug2013

Reality Television can ruin your life

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at recent scandals from Big Brother Africa.

gm1Reality Television is a mix of entertainment that allows us to indulge into a slice of life. From Running with the Reps to Keeping up with the Kardashian’s, to this seasons’ Big Brother Africa. With 90 days of being under the complete surveillance, the show is sure to bring about entertainment as always. For some Big Brother can have its perks often in the form of fame.  But what about those participants that are not always well behaved?

This year saw the start of “Big Brother  The Chase” edition, which was centred around the chase for money as well as the chase for love. 24 Contestants were selected from around Africa to represent their own countries. Betty, a teacher from Ethiopia, was arguably one of the most attractive in the house. She was also the first to leave many in awe at her. This was apparently increasingly an issue because contestants are representing their country. Betty was the first of the housemates to engage in sexual intercourse with Sierra Leones’ Bolt. It was not long before housemates voted for her eviction. Bolt, a married man, was also evicted a week later.  Apparently, Betty now faces charges of indecent exposure on television according to Ethiopia’s strict jurisdiction. Viewers are currently unaware of Bolt marital position after his sensationalised affair with Betty, but one things for sure, publicity turned out to be far from what Betty Expected.

gm2As if the drama wasn’t enough, Tanzania’s Nando was later disqualified in the game for provocation, intimidation as well as pre-meditated grievous bodily harm. He was found not once, but twice in possession of both a steak knife and a scissors, which he later handed in in the diary room at the request of Big Brother. He was granted a third chance after his near-altercation with Sierra Leones Bolt. This was not the first time that Nando engaged in a fight. Most contestants on Big Brother aim to expand their names as brands inter-continentally, however in the process, some end up deeming themselves as wild uncontrollable beings, according to society.  Some may argue that the main aim of reality television is to expose the day to day behaviour of an individual, unable to hide from the lights and camera, but wouldn’t it be pretentious to try and “behave’’ in what viewers believe to be a representation of everyday life?

A large fan base, a possibility of opportunities in terms of endorsements and gigs are some of the many things that can come from the fame contestants receive post these shows but how far does this go when post the show, one’s own life and reputation is negatively harmed?

One could thus argue that there are three types of people who enter the house. We have the individual who seeks fame regardless of what the consequences are. These individuals are most responsible for upping ratings and adding drama to the show. We then have the second type of individuals, who aim to be recognized and participate in the public eye post-show i.e. dancers, actors, rappers, etc. These individuals aim to spread their brands and so end up taking a more controllable stance when on the show. We then have the third individual who entered for either reason but gets caught up in both. So what is your favourite characters reason?

 

 

 

29th Jul2013

Double lives…. Double thoughts

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at balancing talent and qualifications.

gm1Choosing between two different careers, one based on qualification and the other, on talent, is considerably, one of the most difficult decisions in anybody’s life. Tyra Banks, renowned model and television personality is one of the purest examples of a prospective law student, accepted into university, who made a decision a few months before the first semester, to pursue a career in modeling.  A choice had to be made between becoming a learned and highly respected figure in society, or working under the lights with European fashion houses and supermodels such as Naomi Campbell. Under conservative parenting, the decision made by Banks would have never been accepted, however, after almost 20 years, Tyra returned to business school to complete her once-abandoned law degree.

gm2Lethy Zulu is a 20-year-old undergraduate General BA student at Wits University from Johannesburg. With a hectic school life aside, Lethy possesses a phenomenal talent of singing. After numerous auditions in and around Johannesburg, Lethy finally made her break through at the first ever “U CAN DO IT” talent search aired every Tuesday at 10pm on SABC 1 hosted by renowned king of kwaito, Arthur Mafokate. After numerous knock-outs, she has finally made it to the top 25 alongside some of South Africa’s greatest singing, rapping and dancing talents.

‘’Balancing my schooling life as well as my music career, was no easy task” she said. “Education is vital and if I can, why not try to balance the two?” Lethy is due to perform at the finale hosted at Emperors palace, in the coming spring.

Some may believe that formal careers are most stable and beneficial in terms of income and opportunity, whereas talent-orientated careers may not always provide a stable income. The idea of talent versus skill and qualifications remains controversial even in the 21st century. Be happy and live uncomfortably? Or be miserable and live comfortably? The only outcome one would hope for would be the best of both worlds.

Whilst understanding the conventional approaches of parents and their hopes for the best possible future for their children, modern day allows for the creation of new jobs in the arts and entertainment industry. However, according to conservative parents, this is not always viable. Industries expand on a daily basis. Whilst surrounded by quantities of global technology, the youth are exposed to a variety of specialised fields, e.g. Food technology. A course like food technology is an example of a course that was not always offered at traditional varsities, but now is. The idea of being able to pursue a career for not only income but for personal growth, enjoyment and industry development, has not always been encouraged in society, however, we see through the stories of Tyra as well as Lethy, that a conflict begins to exist as we make decisions based on our career paths at the beginning of adulthood.

gm3One can either choose to gamble at both conventional as well as talent based careers, or without confusion, choose to do one of the two. In making this decision it is important for one to prioritise according to their personal beliefs e.g. money over happiness or vice versa. One may even choose to merge their careers for example, a journalist who would like to become a radio personality, can still take up journalism and later on venture into radio presenting .

The youth of the 21st century are fortunate in the sense that various sectors have created specialised fields that are more specifically suited to particular individuals. It is up to the youth to ensure that their chosen career paths are satisfactory in every way. It is through diversification of jobs, that job creation will take place throughout all sectors. In allowing the youth to pursue their desired careers, they become more confident within their career paths. The sooner we adapt to the growing changes in society better the chances of getting a great job as well as personal satisfaction.-Gigi LaMayne

20th May2013

SA in need of serious talent search Initiatives.

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at talent in South Africa.

gm1South Africa. A country established under diverse cultures, religions, practices and teachings. With all these diverse phenomena, combined to create our common cultures, charismatic talent stems at the top of the list. From Sbujwa dance to Mbhaqanga music, we never fall short of forms of entertainment that solely represent South Africa.

As a South African youth, I experienced a sheer sense of pride in hearing that both Toya Delazy and Donald were nominated for the international BET awards.  These “Freshmen’’ in the South African music industry plunged into the music scene in 2012 with hit singles in heavy rotation across radio stations. However, in watching the 2013 South African Music Awards, I realized that there was a thin line between South African artist that make an international mark, as well as artists that make a break and with time, slip away into the overpopulated ocean of industry hopefuls.

While countries like The United States create platforms in which raw talent is scouted, South Africa continues to duplicate the same notions, but fails to cultivate these talented individuals into award winning sensations. We are aware of the various talents that are noticeable within the entertainment industry however; we begin to question the organisational execution of marketing, promoting as well as artist development. Some may argue quality is to blame for the lack of progress in the South African Entertainment industry. On the contrary, some feel strongly that the entertainment industry and one’s success, dwells entirely on inter-connectedness and “who knows who.”  This is the speculated point of view of many people who hope to break out into the industry. If this is the case, then to what point does talent play a role in moulding the very same artists that represent the South African population on worldwide stages?

gm3Among some of the most recent talent search initiatives are,: South African Idols, South Africa’s got talent, Jika Majika, Battlestations as well as the Shiz Niz mixtape competition hosted annually by Shiz Niz Hip Hop show. These are some of the very few initiatives that have contributed to the spirit of artist discovery.  Apart from the prize money that some may offer, exposure as well as contracts are offered on the basis of distribution, management and even press.

Personally, I am in favour of these kinds of initiatives. They expose a fair chance to citizens of our country, to take part, promoting procedural and substantive fairness. We need to also take into account, the fact that choice of talent will ultimately determine who represents us. We therefore need to be exposed to projects that will help interact with normal people to find talent in the most veiled of places.

Music channels alike, fail to incorporate the ideas of a diverse entertainment. Initiatives will help the audience feel as though their input and votes count in any instance. First world countries continue to support and develop the multi-dimensional spheres of entertainment. American projects continue to be of influence to fans around the world while African bred artists are rarely noticed.

The truth is that South Africa needs to be able to place itself on an international scale where artists are purely accepted openly in the eyes of the public while also being able to support the South African culture musically and in terms of everyday realities. Many talents remain lost due to the lack of resources and development schemes in our countries. The basic solution would be to implement initiatives that will cater to discovering the best talent that South Africa offer regardless of ones societal or class status. In this, we will begin to feel more confident in the talent that our country has to offer.– Gigi LaMayne

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