IT MAY BE TIME FOR A Tyrant

TIRED OF TRAP AND SWAG? PLUS... FASH­ION TRAVEL BEAUTY V#trend­ing

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I was fea­tured on a rap al­bum pro­duced by Def Jam called Soul Pur­pose along with Pharoahe Monch, who I re­ally wish to col­lab­o­rate with one day

Iwas at an award show last year that is meant to hon­our the best in lo­cal hip-hop. This fairly pop­u­lar show drafts lists of nom­i­nees in var­i­ous cat­e­gories, from which a group of judges then se­lects a win­ner.

What I no­ticed, though, is that, for the most part, the same peo­ple won awards through­out the night. I was par­tic­u­larly sur­prised when it came to the sis­ters of hip-hop.

The cat­e­gory for best fe­male rap artist in­cluded a name I wasn’t too fa­mil­iar with and, from the 30-sec­ond clip they played as her face rolled across the big screen at The Lyric theatre, I knew she was prob­a­bly the most gifted rap­per in this cat­e­gory. But, in the end, the award went to a more es­tab­lished name and, for the re­main­der of that night, acts like Tyrant were over­looked for more com­mer­cial rap­pers like Kwesta.

Those 30 sec­onds stuck with me and I had to track Tyrant down.

“My name is Mmabutsi Jacque­line Mmat­shepo Matha­bathe. I was born and raised in Benoni, East Rand, but my home ground is Den­nil­ton in Lim­popo. I will be 22 this year,” the hum­ble beast on the mi­cro­phone tells me.

Tyrant has been a writer for 13 years and a record­ing artist for seven. The driven writer says she fell in love with hip-hop at a young age through her fa­ther’s mu­sic col­lec­tion, which in­cluded artists like late rap­per Tu­pac.

Tyrant ex­plains: “My whole fam­ily loves mu­sic, es­pe­cially hip-hop. My fa­ther kept a huge box of cas­settes. We would lis­ten to all his favourite hip-hop artists, in­clud­ing Tu­pac, and rap along to the songs.”

She be­came hinged on hip-hop so much that she even started writ­ing her own verses to rap mu­sic. She honed her skills while be­ing near her fa­ther and un­cle, who would talk about rap reg­u­larly to­gether, and stud­ied the art un­der their guid­ance.

As for the method she uses to craft her mu­sic now ... “I re­search and study the world the best way pos­si­ble. I make sure that ev­ery song I write has unique con­tent to it. I like to keep my verses a bit com­plex. Peo­ple lose a bit of ex­cite­ment for your mu­sic when you rap about what they al­ready know, or some­thing sim­i­lar to what they’ve heard from an­other rap­per be­fore.”

Tyrant is in­flu­enced by an ar­ray of artists. “My cur­rent in­ter­na­tional mu­si­cal in­flu­ences have to be Pharoahe Monch, Black Thought, Jean Grae, Rap­sody and Busta Rhymes. I was fea­tured on a rap al­bum pro­duced by Def Jam called Soul Pur­pose along with Pharoahe Monch, who I re­ally wish to col­lab­o­rate with one day. He’s my favourite rap­per and has been the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind my lyri­cism. My lo­cal mu­si­cal in­flu­ence is most def­i­nitely Proverb.”

Her EP called Stress of a Ge­nius is a hid­den gem. I could quite eas­ily liken her to a Ba­hama­dia or a Yu­gen Blakrok. Parts of this record sound like they come straight from the Soulquar­ian era (Quest­love, Erykah Badu, D’An­gelo), so you might want to make sure you’re care­ful who you play this around. The pro­duc­tion is re­lent­less boom bap with a fresh sound and crisp pro­duc­tion pro­vided by MBzet, who has worked with the likes of Big Zulu, Proverb and Zakwe. It’s an emo­tive project that, for Tyrant, is the most es­sen­tial thing to have in her mu­sic.

She is work­ing on new mu­sic and in­forms me that we can look for­ward to a few videos and per­for­mances ga­lore.

“My EP ti­tled Stress of a Ge­nius is avail­able on all dig­i­tal plat­forms for on­line pur­chase and stream­ing.” There are few things I en­joy more than point­ing out a wack rap­per, so you can be­lieve me when I say Stress of a Ge­nius will be on heavy ro­ta­tion at my house.

HID­DEN GEM It’s about time SA had the plea­sure of lis­ten­ing to a sen­sual rap­per. Trap­ping is tir­ing

PHO­TOS: SUP­PLIED

STRESS OF A GE­NIUS This record is a hid­den gem

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