Dada Shiva is a rapper-producer whose sound explores the construction of polarity through the projection of multiple personalities within single tracks
Karabo Victor Mokgatle's time has been pretty evenly spread between JHB, PTA and CPT, although he says his heart will always be in Pretoria. Currently based in Cape Town, the name "Dada" is both a reference to Nas' nickname, "Da don Dada," and Dadaism, the early 20th Century art movement.
Dada’s debut EP, a six track meditation on the elements and on the new age of alternative hip-hop, FIRE WATER, has been followed up by a second, Mitsubishi Nimbus Cloud: All Terrain.
Otherwise Dada has opened for Shane Eagle, toured Mozambique with The BLVCK Crystals, has been shooting fashion with GQ, was featured on Highsnobiety and did the backtrack for the global CR7 Limitless campaign.
We asked the artist to put together a mix for us, and answer a handful of questions, which you can read after the jump.
What’s your sound story?
Socrates’ craft analogy and Jesus’ carpentry. There’s a holiness in honing your craft and becoming a master of something, whatever it may be. I’m trying to be as holy as possible, so in that sense my sound is a search for divinity. So far that divinity has led me inward, so my sound is a meditation on the sameness of man and god, particularly me.
Describe the state of hip hop in South Africa right now.
Artist don’t challenge themselves as much as I’d like, but I feel as if there’s a hunger amongst listeners. The type of hunger that can’t help but get fed, so it’s looking up!
What rhyme do you wish you wrote and why?
“Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled some middlemen who didn’t do diddly” (Big Pun, “Twins Deep Cover ‘98”). It’s a tongue twister rhyme man it’s fantastic! Also the way Pun and Joe went back and forth on that track was like Federer vs Nadal.
What’s the one beat you’d love to rap over in a freestyle battle and why?
'Devil in a new dress', I feel like you could be your opponents daddy to that beat man. It’s got that elevated feel to it. Also because my ideal mode of attack would be to question the sanctity of their soul and to espouse my own. Their soul’s sanctity because of the divinity I chase and find within, which would in turn make it a sin to step to me. So taking that approach into consideration that’s the beat. I mean I’m just talking about right now in this specific moment, that’s how I’d do it, haha.
What did you grow up listening to and what are you into nowadays?
I’ve answered this type of question thinking about what was played around me before, you know when you’re learning to be a kid you don’t really spin your own tracks, at least I didn’t. But with regards to what I played for myself later, it was Weezy F Baby, Drizzy, Eminem, Slaughterhouse and its members individual drops. I liked hard raps exclusively, but I wasn’t connected to the past until much later. Then it shifted to cats like Pun, Big L, James Brown; when I look back, it feels like I didn’t listen to much music by accident, which is weird. Right now I’m bumping James Blake, The Paul Brothers and myself mostly. Oh and MF, ya silly.
What’s in this mix that you made us?
Good Side, Coolin (w/ beat Sampras), Outro (w/ David XCV), Andale (w/ Matt Davies, Xola Makoba, and Yusuf Abdul Karim), WAYHF (w/ Yangze), and Intro.
Rap style can be anything from backpacks and caps to bling and fur. Where do you fit on this style scale?
My rap style is holy man, mythological, alchemical, inspired by mysterious schools of thought. I’m ancestor powered. I try to emulate the Mongol Khans and other such ultra-logical strategists. The elements play their part, as they always have. I don’t take self definition lightly, so I wouldn’t say I fit anywhere in between flat caps and furs. Most people tell me I’m old school, I guess that’s a compliment but I’m my own thing you know? Like each of those old school cats were, it’s only in hindsight that we seek to corral all their separate-individual-beauty into one something people can swallow, something easy to understand. I fear such limitation.