The Mixtape Vol. 63

We talk life and hip hop with The Tall Wonder

Goodhope FM radio jockey, MC, and sometimes basketball coach Khanya Siyengo lives life by two words: Be great. A walking, talking hip-hop almanac, Kyeezi (as he’s more commonly known) takes this whole music thing very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he left varsity to chase it full-time. Even with his impressive stride – He stands at a cool 1.93m tall – it’s been a long run for Khanya. Like any other ambitious young dreamer, he’s heard ‘no’ a considerable number of times more than he’s heard ‘yes’. To him, every high and low is just part of the story of his pursuit of greatness. After asking him to put together a playlist of local faves, The Way of Us caught up with The Tall Wonder to talk about life, radio, and South African hip-hop.

Still 6ft4?

Last I checked, but apparently I’ve grown taller. I don't know how that's possible, but my jeans still fit so it’s a yes!

SA hip-hop has officially exploded - where to from here?

Spreading the love. Hip-hop has exploded and it’s amazing, a real blessing. The challenge is to innovate and provide new talent from new regions with a fighting chance to share their stories. The game has exploded nationally but locally (Cape Town) we still need to produce artists that can hold their own audience. The great thing now is that our artists believe they can do it. Shout out to guys who've made us all believers!

Talk us through RUNCPT vs Bread and Butter.

RUNCPT I do every early, early (yes I typed early twice) morning between 3am and 5am Monday to Friday, it’s a show that gets you up and going. Great show for me to practice my radio skills.

Bread and Butter is purely about talking to the hustler within everyone. The show attempts to create a playlist based on local acts that may not have the PR budget or marketing cash to compete with the big guys. It’s also your one-stop-shop for the latest exclusives in the urban hip hop game. Yes, Bread and Butter gets it first - trust me, and we focus on creating quality content for our listeners. In order to produce quality, we need to nurture our talent.

The biggest difference between the two is GoodHope FM needed a radio jock willing to take on the early hours with energy - that's me. Bread and Butter however was the show I started whilst on campus radio in 2011 and it grew incredibly fast. So I pitched it to GoodHope FM and they were keen to take it on. It’s a real blessing to be able to do the show I started my career in the media industry with. Bread and Butter is me and I am Bread and Butter.

TV or radio?

Both. I love radio. Radio is freedom to me: every day I get to tap out and become Kyeezi the Tall Wonder all the time. TV is still a new avenue and I believe I still have a lot to offer TV, so I’m very keen to explore the avenues and unlock the potential within. There's a whole lot of me to go around and I’m planning to stay a while. As Kanye West says, giving up is way harder than not trying! 

Thoughts on the SABC quota?

I’ve been doing a radio show since 2011 pushing the local sound, so the announcement was really just something that reaffirmed that us locals have the goods. The attitude in which it was done that could've been handled better: nobody likes to be force-fed anything, so it’s an adjustment. All in all, as an entertainer and a radio jock, our artists win, and we really need to stay on point to entertain the masses. 

Career pit:

Honestly, with my line of work you learn to get over things very quickly. Even when you think you've lost, there's something you’re winning elsewhere, so you have to keep your focus on the positives. No career pitfalls, just lessons in the industry and a lot of strength gained. If it doesn't kill me, damn right it’s making me stronger.

Career peak:

The day I went and bought myself a pair of kicks after being mad, mad broke having worn a pair of Creative Recs for 3 years. Also quite personal when my father, after years of not really getting what it is I want, calling me and telling me that I don’t have to do this alone anymore, they will support me. My parents are academics, and having left varsity without completing my course, hearing them say they support me simply meant that I’m on the right path. The other peaks are pretty awesome as well, being featured on SABC 3 with my own show and I still don’t believe I was interviewed on Top Billing. I know right, the guy who talks about hip hop and the latest sneakers and always has his headphones on him and his backpack. Crazy world we live in!

Future plans?

Trying to be Great at everything I do. 

Anything else?

I believe in the idea that we all have one unique thing that we can do and be able to match up with anyone in world. I'm just a homie who really wanted to hear Khuli Chana, Youngsta, Blaq Slim and more on the radio. So I did something about it. If you’re hungry to see something happen, start by looking in the mirror and see what you can do to help out. Let’s push each other, and more than that, let’s share knowledge so the generation after us can enjoy the fruits, just like the legends who fought for us to have the freedom to express ourselves. Be Great.