Chit Chat – AKA

2011-12-11 10:00
Brenda Masilela
Hip-hop’s newest crown prince has had an amazing year collecting awards and cementing his place in the music industry.

Tell us about your upbringing.

I was born in Cape Town on January 28 1988. I grew up between Westridge and Bellville. I moved to Joburg when I was seven years old. I grew up pretty much like most kids. In 2002 I started rapping and my life changed.

Have you always wanted to be a rapper?

I’ve always had the character traits of an entertainer. I was always extroverted. I’d like to say I chose rap, but saying rap chose me sounds much cooler.

Was it hard for you to get into the industry at your age?

Looking at the game now, I’d have to say that getting in is quite easy. There are so many platforms to get into the industry.

All you need is a plan, a dream, work ethic and the talent. I started out when I was 15 so this has been a long time coming. A lot has changed for the better in local hip-hop.

What were your highs and lows of 2011?

This year has been a year of highs. Coming from working on my album and not being sure how it would be received to winning multiple awards for it has been a trip.

It has easily been the best year of my career. Away from my career, I am struggling to find a balance with my personal stuff because of the demands on my time and energy. I guess those are the lows.

From the Channel Os to the Metros, how does it feel to pick up all these awards?

I’ve been waiting to blow up. The icing on the cake was that the awards that I won were all based on public votes. I am loved and it feels good. I’m humbled by the support I’ve received from my fans.

Who do you give credit to for your achievement?

I have always maintained that I would be accepting the awards on behalf of my fans.

I am lucky enough to walk up on that stage and accept the awards because I make the music, but the truth is that without my fans it would never have happened.

How do you manage to stay grounded?

I am the result of good parenting and good values. It’s so easy to lose yourself in this industry.

 If you attach value to the fame, the moment it goes, what do you have left? Maybe there will be a new kid on the block next year, maybe not a new AKA, but a new kid nevertheless.

Place value on your family, your loved ones, your music – especially your music.
Who do you consider as your competition in the industry?

Myself. I compete with my last video, my last song, my last performance. I want to beat it.

Who are the musicians you look up to?

I look up to Khuli Chana, a friend of mine. He’s offered me a lot of good advice. I look up to Tumi and the Volume.

The live performances are phenomenal. If I can be half as good in a year, I will be pleased. I look up to Teargas, Jabba, Slikour’s work ethic.

They are constantly raising the bar for local music. I look up to JR as a reminder that hip-hop can exist in the most mainstream and commercial spaces available.

Do you think South African rap music is gaining recognition and gets fair airplay compared with American rap?

Our airplay is nowhere near what American rap gets on local stations.

Then again, there is only so much quality local rap available for them to play.

What we really have going for us is the love and support of all the fans who are proud to be South African, and who take pride in supporting their South African artists.

They are happy to hear their slang, their languages and their stories being represented.

What are your plans for the festive season after all this year’s hard work?

More hard work. This year was great. I’m trying to make 2012 historic. I’m going to work until I burn out, then I’ll go
on holiday.

What are your plans for next year?

Same thing I do every year, Pinky – try to take over the world! I want to push Altar Ego, my album, even harder.

More videos, more touring, more L.O.V.E.