The Mixtape Vol. 137

An exclusive mix from the rapper who has recently collaborated with Cassper Nyovest, Musiholiq and Kyle Lewis

Zakwe first came to our attention after his video started trending on YouTube, with people in the know calling the track with Cassper Nyovest and Musiholiq the best collab of the year.

The single and video were just another breakthrough for the Durban rapper who’s opened for Kanye West, won Best Lyricist at the SA Hip Hop Awards, Best Hip Hop Artist at the Metro FM Awards, and Best Vernacular Hip Hop at the South African Traditional Music Awards, not to mention five SAMA nominations.

Along with the exclusive mixtape Zakwe made for The Way of Us, today we’re also sharing the abovementioned video for the single. Directed by Kyle Lewis, who won a best cinematography Loerie for Nasty C’s 'Bad Hair' video, 'Sebentin' is an eye-popping exercise in how a simple concept executed well can grab the public’s attention.

Watch the video, listen to the mixtape and be sure to read our interview with the exciting East Coast rapper after the jump.

What's your sound story?

Basically, on the past three mixtapes and two albums that I have released, I have always been about that boom-bap sound, authentic African samples, and trying as much I can to bridge the gap between commercial and underground hip hop. My sound is underground with a commercial appeal, something that is not about a hit record but more of a classic, but then people end up believing it’s a hit record.

Why is Durban turning out so much great talent?

Durban hip hop has always been about lyricism. When we started, around 2003, we were hardly about making commercial music, it was about rap, real rap (rhythm and poetry). Matter of fact, nearly every rapper was a poet. I think because of that background, we are now able to survive commercially because we know the fundamentals of rap, the techniques and tactics of rapping. We are ready for the world to notice and slowly more talented musicians are being revealed. It ends up not being Durban, but S.A and Africa as a whole.

For those not fluent in vernac, what's 'Sebentin' about?

In short, ‘Sebentin’ means ‘Hater’.

Talk about the collaborating with Cassper Nyovest and Musiholiq.

This song was utterly inspired by Musiholiq. He came up with this idea since we needed a single for my album. He proposed it to the producer and the beat was made. We were in Johannesburg, performing at Back To The City, one of the biggest hip hop events in Africa. Cassper heard us performing the song, sent me a message requesting that if the song was not out yet, he would like to get a piece. We recorded separately, but with the energies that we bring out on that song, one can never tell. The experience was amazing; till today, I’m grateful to God for such a beautiful collaboration.

Tell us about making this video.

After watching Cassper’s ‘Destiny’ music video, I requested Kyle’s contacts, I couldn’t resist his quality and creativity. I sent the song to Kyle, pitched a short description and he came up with this amazing storyboard. I agreed to it; we all did. We shot the video in Cape Town. After being at the set, I knew we had one in the bag. For me, this is the best video I have ever been part of, the best video out now. Well done to Kyle and the team.

What's the best part of making a living off of rap music?

I always preach, ‘Don’t do what sells; sell what you do.’ It is exactly what I am doing now, and I cannot believe that I am actually making a living out of rap. ‘You never thought hip hop would take it this far’ – Biggie.

Anything to add, please do so here...

I’m about to release my third studio album. I don’t want to say much but this is definitely my best work; I love it with all my heart. Different sound. First time singing on songs. I’m excited. Check out some of my work on this mixtape, and also via iTunes and YouTube.

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