Rap is my call­ing, says Rock­lands’ Y.O.G

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - LELAND ED­WARDS

Y.O.G is the name and rap is his game.

The 17-year-old rapper, real name Ameer No­or­dien, has been tear­ing up stages in his neigh­bour­hood, Rock­lands, Mitchells Plain.

Grow­ing up in Rock­lands had its night­mares be­cause of all the shoot­ings, gang-re­lated deaths, ac­cord­ing to Ameer.

He at­tended Seav­iew Pri­mary School, a stone’s throw away from his home and it was here where he per­formed in front of the school and com­mu­nity at school con­certs and tal­ent shows from the age of nine. He wowed the crowds with some well-timed, slick moves and fin­ished third and sec­ond at two of the school’s singing com­pe­ti­tions.

“I was al­ways an in­tro­vert, but get­ting onto a stage to per­form was al­ways in­side me. The crowd got my at­ten­tion and I got theirs.”

He was well-known among his peers and teach­ers be­cause he was will­ing to help fel­low pupils and was dili­gent with his school work. He didn’t play any sports.

“I was an in­tro­vert in pri­mary school. I didn’t do sport be­cause I was sort of fat (laughs).” Ameer is now a pupil at one of Mitchells Plain’s most pres­ti­gious schools, Spine Road High. He con­tin­ues to per­form aca­dem­i­cally and is still well-re­garded by his peers.

“I was scared, but re­alised I had noth­ing to be scared of or for, this is an op­por­tun- ity and I should grab it with both hands.” It wasn’t un­til he reached Grade 10 that he started to truly en­gage with ev­ery­one else, he started play­ing rugby and was big and strong for his age at the time.

Like most boys his age, he had a love for rap music and started out just like many fa­mous rap­pers writ­ing lines and bars with a rel­a­tive and mak­ing jokes.

At first he had dreams of be­ing a singer, be­cause of the in­flu­ence of the leg­endary Michael Jack­son and lo­cal per­form­ing sen­sa­tion Emo Adams, but that changed when he hit pu­berty.

His in­spi­ra­tion is an­other lo­cal hero on the Cape’s rap scene, Riyadh Roberts, bet­ter known by his stage name, “Youngsta”.

“When he raps I saw the way the lo­cal peo­ple showed him love. He raps the same way I do, he is a great lyri­cist and our use of slang is the same, that was be­fore I knew about him. I start tak­ing writ­ing ser- iously and this is where it all be­gan.”

Ameer be­gan by us­ing his phone to record, he would down­load an in­stru­men­tal and put pen to paper.

“The peo­ple who lis­tened to the record­ings on the cell­phone of me rap­ping said I has flow and the words made sense.”

It was ob­vi­ous that he needed a stu­dio and it wasn’t go­ing to be easy find­ing one close to home. A fel­low rapper and friend from school sug­gested some­one who could pro­duce his work.

“My first stu­dio is still my stu­dio to­day. It’s not re­ally a stu­dio, it’s ba­si­cally a friend’s house, in a lounge, with a mi­cro­phone and a com­puter. It’s not much, but it’s what we do with that that mat­ters.”

The stu­dio is in the Beechcraft area of Rock­lands. Ameer has to cross Eisleben Road, which is the ter­ri­tory of two ruth­less ri­val gangs.

“It’s tense be­cause I know what can hap­pen at any mo­ment, but I put my cell­phone in the front of my pants and I don’t care about the gangs, be­cause I do this for me. I re­alised that noth­ing is easy and so you have to put your guts over your fear and go get it.”

He is in ma­tric and wants to con­tinue rap­ping af­ter high school, but also wants to study.

He feels that rap­ping is his call­ing: “Just to see the peo­ple’s faces, it tells me that what I am do­ing is re­ally good and it en­ter­tains them, re­mem­ber I have a beast flow (laughs).”

Ameer No­or­dien

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