Q & A With Slikour
Siyabonga Metane has undoubtedly earned the respect of the Hip Hop fraternity, both as a musician and as a businessman. Slikour, as he is fondly known, burst into the music scene with hip hop outfit Skwatta Kamp and has since soared to new heights. Not only has he been nominated for the SAMAs and Metro FM Awards but he is also co-owner of Buttabing Entertainment, ambassador of Butan Wear and currently presents Jam Alley: Crew vs. Crew on SABC 1.
I recently had a chat with him to find out a bit more about the man behind “Blacks Are Foolz”.
For those of us who don’t know you on a personal level, how would you describe yourself? Who are you?
I’m very chilled, observant and awkwardly passionate.
Would you say Siyabonga and Slikour are the same person or are you some what schizophrenic like Beyonce and her alter ego Sasha Fierce?
Siyabonga is a thinker and a learner. He’s about internalizing everything while Slikour is all about output. If you don’t love Slikour you’ll probably love Siya.
You’ve been in the music industry for a number of years, why music? And why hip hop?
It chose me I never chose it. To this day I still listen carefully to where my destiny wants to take me. I plan to be great in whatever it offers. I don’t think I’m the best rapper but I’m probably the most visible so I can only think that it’s my calling
Being what some call a hip hop pioneer, what do you think of the current state of South African hip hop and the quality of the music being put out?
The music is evolving according to what’s happening overseas. I can honestly say that some of the music currently out has no direction, it’s almost as though the artist has an identity crisis of sorts, but that is just my own opinion.
I appreciate everyone’s effort in all respects though whether I like it or not I have to respect them for carving their own paths because this is not an easy industry to be in.
You also present, Jam Alley: Crew vs. Crew, what has that been like? How has the response been?
It’s been amazing. Not only have we won a SAFTA but we were also the most viewed show on the 6pm time slot. Once again these are things I never planned so I am learning everyday and most importantly giving thanks. I’ve been planning to do some behind the scene TV work and this happened so I have the opportunity to learn.
And father hood?
It is the only constant thing we have a reason to fight and live for.
Let’s talk about “Blackz R Fools” for a minute; the song has set many tongues wagging. A lot of people are outraged about the title; some are shocked at the subject matter while others are praising you for having the guts to talk about these issues. What was going through your mind when you wrote this song?
I wrote this song three years ago I’m not too sure what was going happening in my head but I believe in mental liberation. The only way anyone is free is when they confront the truth and if it happens to be a truth they not proud of they then make an effort to change it. I wanted to make an effort because I hate being undermined by anybody from anywhere especially because I know I’m better than that.
The title of the song in itself is quite controversial. Is that what you were going for? Was it your way of grabbing people’s attention?
I couldn’t have called the song “We Better Than That” it wouldn’t make sense, better than what?
“Blackz R Fools” is obviously provocative and when I though about it I thought people would see it the way I saw it.
On the chorus I quote what many skeptics say about South Africans. This is not just white people but even black foreigners from neighboring countries that come here and make something of themselves because they say South Africans are lazy and spoilt. I’m merely quoting that and I respond as a South African by saying “I hope we are better than that”.
If people say they haven’t heard those skeptical voices that judge us like we are useless then I apologize but this is what’s being said about us. I’m talking for us and when my people should be listening they are instead shooting down the person that’s expressing some hope us.
I noticed that the lyrics for “Blackz R Fools” were put up on your Facebook page in March 2011. Obviously this is not a new song, why bring it out now?
I wasn’t ready to pull it out let alone use it to sell a cd because the message is so important. It’s bigger than Slikour or Siyabonga. This is channeled from something greater so I couldn’t even intoxicate it with any commercial intentions. Some people have openly said that I’m trying to sell a cd or remain relevant. The truth is that I haven’t been relevant since Skwatta Kamp was born, between then and now I’ve just been doing relevant things. We are all replaceable I’m just using the leverage I have while I can because I feel it’s my duty as a vessel.
The song has a strong message behind it and people will naturally interpret it in their own ways, what is the message that you intended to convey?
We are better than our social and political conditions. There are little scientists, architects and doctors living in a shack somewhere or even in a mansion. We just have to believe that we are better than the odds against us; we need to understand that we can be better than any first world country.
We need to create more optimism and unite as South Africans in townships and suburbs both blacks and whites. We need to believe in ourselves as creators and not as consumers. There are a lot of great South African role models that are doing amazing things for the country and we need to celebrate them more in the media. In my opinion education and inspiration should be free. If we start looking, listening and appreciating everything we have, what we will be is nothing less than great.
People are aware of what I’m saying in “Blackz R Fools”. I’m not saying anything new people are just afraid of saying these things. That alone makes you wonder if we are living in a newSouth Africawhy we are still living in fear.
Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, let’s talk about your music. You said Ventilation Vol 3 was your last album, but then again the Jay-Z’s and Ja-Rule’s also said the same. It that a final decision, if so why? What does this mean for Skwatta Kamp?
I’ll always record music whether I release it or not is something else. To answer your question, yes it is the last Ventilation series. As for Skwatta Kamp, well I can’t talk about that for now.
You are also quite involved in the running of Buttabing, Ventilation Productions, Butan clothing and of course Jam Alley Crew vs. Crew, what else can we expect from you this year?
I’m listening carefully for the next step. When I see it you will see it too. Perhaps another TV show. We’ll see.
For those of you who haven’t yet heard the song, you can listen below:
What do you think of the song? Do you agree with the message behind it?
Interview By Helen Namponya