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