Daily Dispatch

‘Vietnam’ is on the rap Map

Perseveran­ce and having right PR team key


HARD work and determinat­ion is paying off for East London rapper, Bulelani “Vietnam” Tanana, who recently made his television debut on e.tv’s Sunrise breakfast show. The 25-year-old rapper started writing rhymes when he was 14 and has never stopped delivering his punchy verses.

How did you get into music?

I started music at an early age being a solo singer in primary school but I never actually took it as far as I wanted because our parents believed in going to school, then graduate, become a doctor, lawyer etc.

Fortunatel­y, I got to do what I love while in high school and did not see the need of pursuing a degree when I can give my all to what I love.

Where do you get your inspiratio­n from?

I get my inspiratio­n from people who believe it’s not possible for an East London rapper to make it in mainstream rap.

My lyrics are driven by the things that I have accomplish­ed and that I would like to accomplish in the near future.

Is there one thing you must do or have with you before you perform?

I have to pray to God for blessing me with the opportunit­y to perform and I must have a bottle of water.

I’m planning on releasing my debut album next year, titled On The Map but the date is not confirmed. I don’t want to put pressure on myself because I take time to construct good music.

However, I will be releasing another single by February next year.

What kind of music are you listening to?

I listen to hip-hop.

What was the first CD you ever bought?

Mandoza ‘ Nkalakatha’.

Do you think it is possible to do music fulltime while based in the Eastern Cape?

Yes it’s possible but it would cost a lot of money, one would have to travel back and forth because most well-known marketing platforms are not in the Eastern Cape.

What’s your take on the change to playing 90% local music in South Africa?

I’m very happy because it gives us faith that there is actually a chance that we could make it in the mainstream and showcase our talent.

You recently performed on e.tv’s show, how did that come about?

It’s working hard and actually having a team that believes in my brand and works to make my dream come true. My PR team is based in Johannesbu­rg and they are the ones who are responsibl­e for that, they set up interviews for me.

This helps to market my brand all over the country. I am grateful for that opportunit­y.

Any plans of signing up with a record label in future?

I am not looking into being signed rather than being my own boss. It takes time but it’s all worth it in the end.

How do you relax?

Being at home alone listening to my own music.

What’s your favourite food?

Fatcake with a cheesegril­ler Russian.

Anything else you would like to tell us?

I’m working on releasing my own clothing line called V.era.

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A: A: A: A: BULELANI ‘VIETNAM’ TANANA ON THE WAY UP: East London rapper Bulelani ‘Vietnam’ Tanana
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