Rap­per KO is back and he’s plan­ning to stay on

The Sunday Independent - - NEWS - @Aman­daMal­iba AMANDA MALIBA

AF­TER the suc­cess­ful re­lease of Skhanda Repub­lic in 2014, KO met with un­ex­pected chal­lenges that pushed him to take a back seat and re­cu­per­ate.

The award-win­ning rap­per and former mem­ber of the ac­claimed Tear­gas said the tough sea­son that fol­lowed posed a threat to his brand. On the other hand, it in­spired him to take a new road of mu­sic with a grander plan.

“All this af­fected my mo­men­tum as an artist be­cause ru­mours and spec­u­la­tions ended up tar­nish­ing what I was try­ing to do.” This called for a break. “I fig­ured that I should take a lit­tle break to try and fig­ure out what I was go­ing to do.

“I also used that time to train and make sure that when I came out I was in top form and shape.”

With no dis­trac­tions in sight and 11 years served in the in­dus­try, KO – real name Ntokozo Md­luli – is back to make a last­ing mark.

“Be­ing an artist of my creed and com­ing from the Pro Kid era, I want peo­ple to cham­pion me as the great­est. I want to make great mu­sic like Jay-Z.”

His up­com­ing al­bum, which was a year in the mak­ing, is due to be re­leased in Oc­to­ber, and KO la­bels it “a work in process”.

“The process took a lit­tle bit of time be­cause, when I was work­ing on it, the stuff that I was do­ing was still likened to my old al­bum.

“And with about 50% of the al­bum done, I took heed of the talks and added a 2017 el­e­ment to it. I had to go back and redo the whole al­bum,” said the rap­per.

But some work­ing styles never change. As with his pre­vi­ous al­bum, KO has grabbed in­spi­ra­tion from South Africa’s her­itage, its mu­si­cal his­tory and its cul­ture and given it his own in­ter­pre­ta­tion by mak­ing it sound re­cent and fu­tur­is­tic. But none of his new songs is like any­thing he has done be­fore.

“It’s also a very melodic al­bum, as peo­ple love the R&B twist to songs. It’s been proven with my last track fea­tur­ing Nandi Ma­dida and some from Tear­gas such as Mhlobo wami.

“Peo­ple love those so I’m giv­ing them more,” he said.

KO doesn’t feel pres­sured by his long-awaited re­turn, but is con­fi­dent that his mu­sic will leave a “dent”.

The up­com­ing mu­sic tran­scends ge­o­graph­i­cal bound­aries but re­mains au­then­tic to who he is, he added.

Of his fu­ture plans, he said: “Be­cause I now re­gard my­self as a legacy artist, I have placed a greater vi­sion on the mu­sic that I make. The tar­get is the en­tire con­ti­nent and the rest of the world.

“I want to make more fre­quent trips out­side of the coun­try and have my mu­sic in all these dif­fer­ent ter­ri­to­ries. The big­ger the mar­ket, the big­ger the in­come and that is what I am chas­ing.”

He is still very much busi­ness-ori­en­tated and has founded a busi­ness, Skhanda Repub­lic.

“I want my mu­sic to have a last­ing mark and in­di­cate that I am back for good.”

‘I’M BACK’: KO

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