K.O is in full con­trol

As a part of his mu­sic evo­lu­tion, K.O talks to He­len Her­imbi about be­ing one man with a ‘Two Piece’

Cape Argus - - TONIGHT -

AFEW days be­fore K.O de­buts his new EP, Two

Piece, on a com­mer­cial ra­dio sta­tion, we are sit­ting out­side on a pa­tio. It’s a lit­tle chilly but he, dressed in a trench coat and a draw­string col­lar sweater, has brought the heat.

An ex­tra ta­ble, on which he can place the speaker so he can play me Two Piece, is brought out. But the rap­per can’t help him­self. He quickly gets up out of his chair, picks the ta­ble up, and turns it around, so the lines on that ta­ble are in the same di­rec­tion as the ones on the ta­ble we were sit­ting at.

“Sorry,” he says, although un­apolo­getic. “It’s that OCD,” he smiles.

A pen­chant to take con­trol of not only decor but his des­tiny led to the artist whose real name is Ntokozo Md­luli be­ing la­belled the Skhanda Gen­eral when he ush­ered in a sound that would shape some hood hip hop along with his then-crew, Cash­time Life.

Now, just over half a year since he re­leased his sec­ond solo al­bum, Skhanda Repub­lic 2 (SR2), the man who is now known as the Skhanda Gawd, took mat­ters into his own hands once again and de­cided to drop a two-track EP.

“My plan was to drop a sin­gle out­side of SR2,” he tells me. “I haven’t been out of the stu­dio since I put out SR2. I had recorded this one record with AKA, and I was go­ing to fol­low that up with an­other sin­gle a month or two later, de­pend­ing on how the first track did. Both records were go­ing to fea­ture some­one.”

He played Fire Emoji, fea­tur­ing AKA, for his la­bel, Sony. Then he also played them a song called

Waya Waya, fea­tur­ing Cassper Ny­ovest.

“The la­bel felt since we’re go­ing into the last half of the year, fans would want to hear some­thing more up-tempo from me and sug­gested that the Cassper record might be that song,” says K.O.

“In­stead of me opt­ing to can the Kier­nan (AKA) record – he took time from be­ing busy record­ing his al­bum to give me a hot 16 – I de­cided it might be a good at­tempt, on my end, for me to try to build on the unity thing,” he con­tin­ues. “I felt me be­ing on the same record as Cassper was huge for the cul­ture.”

You might re­mem­ber that Cass and K.O weren’t nec­es­sar­ily on good terms af­ter Cassper re­leased a track called Beef, where he took jabs at the MTV Base Hottest MCs list by try­ing to dis­credit K.O’s achieve­ments. Cassper apol­o­gised on so­cial me­dia, but K.O had never planned to hold a grudge.

Years later, the pair have a jam called Waya Waya, which is one side of the coin that is Two Piece. On it, K.O’s sig­na­ture Skhanda non­cha­lance takes cen­tre stage, and he raps about how ilok­ishi needs this col­lab. He also anoints him­self K-Hova. Cassper raps about money and swip­ing his card till the last credit.

This track is be­ing put out at the same time as the only other song on Two Piece, a blaz­ing ditty called Fire Emoji. Pro­duced by Buks, the track sees AKA, and his auto-tune, talk about shoes and he tells peo­ple they’re talk­ing num­ber two.

On this song, K.O gets into high-in­ten­sity flex mode as he looks back at his ca­reer and tells us he’s been get­ting money from do­ing what he wants. He also looks for­ward and de­clares that he’s set to own sum­mer 2018.

“I was just stamp­ing my author­ity on this record,” K.O says. “This was just an­other day at the of­fice. I’m 12 years in and no one has re­ally done it on this level – which is why, on the Cassper record, I boldly called my­self K-Hova as (Jay Z is) some­one I look up to. On Fire Emoji, I am ap­pre­cia­tive of my past and am just build­ing my fu­ture.”

This third mem­ber of Tear­gas has a past that in­cludes the crum­bling of Cash­time Life. While he pre­dictably doesn’t men­tion this on Two Piece, he is com­pelled to tell me about his cur­rent head space.

He felt he was pushed to be more vul­ner­a­ble on Skhanda Repub­lic 2 and as a re­sult of lis­ten­ing to peo­ple’s ad­vice and opin­ions, “that took away the raw ver­sion of me,” he says. “I was too pol­ished and too clean and that dust el­e­ment wasn’t there.”

“Now I’m care­free. I don’t want any­one’s opin­ions,” he smiles.

“That’s why these two songs are com­ing out now. Whether they work out aor they don’t, I know it’s my call. This is my ship. I can only steer and cap­tain it the way I see fit.”

●Buy the Two Piece EP at on­line mu­sic stores

K.O de­buts his new EP, ‘Two Piece’

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