The Mixtape Vol. 75

Smooth Mike from PHFAT on that rap life

Words: Smooth Mike

Being a rapper is quite a strange job. And I don’t mean the actual rapping part. Don’t get me wrong – the actual rapping part is pretty strange itself, and quite likely to drive you crazy, much in the same way that being a writer is quite likely to drive you crazy. Except with rap, chances are that when you do lose your mind, it will be done in rhyming couplets, on stage, and hopefully people will cheer at the end.

So when I talk about it being a strange job, that’s not the bit I’m talking about, that’s just the part that the public enjoys watching. I’m talking about the mundane "jobby" bits of the job. Like explaining to the tax man that you do in fact wear underwear on stage and that you do need to feel sexy to be sexy on stage and so it must be underwear of a decent quality and is, in fact, a tax write-off.

Or the look in your accountant’s eye when you describe how you had to buy your team Steers in JHB central, but their card machine wasn’t working, and that’s why there is a cash withdrawal of five hundred bucks at 03:37 on a Sunday morning at the Newtown FNB. And yes, it’s a part of the per diems I cover and is, in fact, a tax write-off (here’s the slip).

And if the "jobby" bits of the job are weird then the "lifey" bits of the job are even stranger. I haven’t had a girlfriend for the last couple of years, largely in part, I think, because I cannot stand the idea of having to explain to one more girl’s parents at Christmas dinner what it is exactly that I do.

“So you’re a musician then, Michael?”

“Ya. Well... sort of...”

“Oh wow! Are you famous?”

“Umm... Clearly not that famous if you had to ask."

“What instrument do you play?”

“I don’t really play an instrument.”

“So you sing?! Like Jack Johnson?!?”

“No not like Jack Johnson so much"

“I hope you don’t make that druggy "doef doef" crap that Steven enjoys so much?” 

“Not really... I… I rap."

“Oh so you do what Eminem does? Oh I love him. He has that wonderful song with Rihanna. Do us a rap, man!”

I never really know what to say to that, but I can tell you for certain that “Aren’t you an accountant, Susan? Why don’t you do us a spot of accounting?” as a response doesn't really match the tone of Christmas dinner.  

Anyways, Superbalist is Rocking The Daisies soon, and they’ve added a hip-hop stage this year, which is fantastic because it means I won’t be the only rapper on the line-up and I can muse about the strangeness of being a rapper with other rappers backstage. Even better, I can avoid speaking completely whilst watching some rap shows, 'cos as much as I love the social aspect of Daisies I have generally caught myself thinking “this is great and all, but damn I’d kill to watch a rap show right now."

So I did you a wonderful mix of some of the hip-hop that I've been listening to while I water my plants (I have three now if you don't count the cactus that I wish would die, but won't). It really couldn't have less to do with the set that I'm planning for Daisies, but it's all music that I love and luckily there is a bit of crossover.

And don't tell anyone this, but I've never actually DJ'd properly before, apart from off of my iPhone at house parties and this one time at The House of Machines. They then asked me to maybe never play there again, 'cos I dropped Celine Dion.