K.O opens up on Sizwe Dhlomo, Teargas, Cashtime and Depression
Former Teargas and Cashtime life rapper K. O has opened up on a few things about his two former music groups and his longtime friend Sizwe Dhlomo, all this happened during an interview with MacG.
Please check out what the pair spoke about in the view below.
MacG : I’m chilling with Mr Cashtime, K.O, Supa Dupa in the building.
K.O : Thank you sir.
MacG : I’m trying to figure out between you and Slikour because you are both OGs, who is the original skook skrill because you both have an accent? I do not know where you learnt it from?
K.O : Actually to give you my real story, I actually finished my high school in the hood back in the day. All my brothers went to white schools and all that but with me how I picked up what I currently have, it was literally through hip hop. I was probably more invested in the school of hip hop than I was in the actual school, I mean I even graduated from university but it was not really the main thing for me, I did that by default because I could only come to Johannesburg to pursue music only if I’m here studying, but everything that I have, my knowledge and my addiction in grammar I owe it to hip hop.
MacG : And what kind of kid where you in high school because you look like an introvert brother?
K.O : Yes I’m very introverted, I think what I’m going through now in the industry if I can say, is that the stuff that I have been exposed to in the game and how my personality comes across, it has always been the same like when I was a kid. Just last week I was thinking, I think I was a depressed kid.
MacG : You are sure about that?
K.O : Yes
MacG : No ways
K.O : I think I was a depressed kid but not in a bad way, just depressed on a level where I always wanted more, and unfortunately because of our family background and where my parents were demographically, but I’m grateful that they were able to afford us pretty much the best they could get for us. I did not go to a hood high school because my parents could not put me through a proper school, it was just one of those thing that just happened, well that was just my personal situation but my brothers went to proper schools. We had clothes on our backs although they were not designer brands like now. There’s a song on my album called Shimi, so if you listen to that song it basically just gives you a background of the type of kid that I was, I was always ambitious, I always wanted more, I always asked my parents questions like, the house next to ours is a double storied one, why don’t we also have a double stories house? The father in the next house drives a Mercedes Benz, how come we have an Isuzu? So it’s all those questions that I had in my mind as a kid. So generally I would say I was just loosely depressed based on circumstance and my desire for more which is literally the first thing I did when I got into the hip hop game, when I was able to accumulate a little bit of income through the music, I wanted to make up for all those things that I never had. Like I had to go and buy all pairs of Jordan sneakers and all the designer brands that I always wanted as a kid.
MacG : If it was not for your older brother, do you think you would have fallen in love with hip hop?
K.O : Maybe not, because I admired him so much.
MacG : He is like your role model.
K.O : Yes he is my role model but I think I always somehow had a bond for music and for talent. Crazy enough, the person that actually made me want to do this was not even a hip hop artist. I remember watching a video of a young Tevin Campbell, it was from his blockbuster album and I think it was a Quincy Jones record that he was featured on. I remember seeing this kid when he dropped that debut and the little girls of my age at the time were just going crazy over this guy, and I was looking at him and I was like wow, so this dude is handsome, he has got the talent and he is everything a girl envisions, I want to be like him. So when I picked up that passion and also seeing some early stuff that Micheal Jackson did as a kid in the Jackson Five, it just ignited the fire in me as kid and I always wanted to get into the game but unfortunately I ended up only making it in my twenties even when I wanted to be a child star like them dudes.
MacG : What raps were you writing when you were still in high school? Do you still remember your first raps?
K.O : Hell no, I just remember like ‘Hello what’, that’s all I know. In fact I had just got back from a trip in Europe, I went to Amsterdam where I met this white dude that was at my high school for a year as an exchange student from Amsterdam. In high school he gave me a lot of crazy tapes of stuff that I had never heard in my life, I was like I’m in love with hip hop but I do not know how and where this guy gets this cool stuff from, but obviously hip hop was a lot bigger overseas. This dude actually did not know that giving me those tapes with all those free styles back in the day, with stuff that I was listening to for the first time just gave me the courage of saying, alright this is something that you can really pursue. This guy actually left the country a year later and since then, I had never seen or even spoken to him until two weeks ago when I got to Holland for my European tour.
MacG : You are kidding bro.
K.O : Yes that is the truth and I wanted to tell him that, you do not know what you did for me.
MacG : And he still remembered you?
K.O : Dude I was surprised because back then the internet was not really big, but this guy actually has been following me and what I have been doing all this time. He was telling me and I was like how do you know all this stuff brother? I’m coming up to you and I’m thinking like I’m going to surprise you and tell you about the great things that you did and where I am now, and the personality that I am back home, he was like dude I know all that stuff, then he started talking about CashTime Life and I was really surprised. So all those things just shaped me into the person that I am today.
MacG : So now that you were rapping, writing raps, when you go to your parents and you tell them that this is what I want to pursue, what did they say?
K.O : They were not against it, I mean back home I come from Piet Retief, a very small town in Mpumulanga and back then, me being there and just saying that I want to be this personality, and back in the day there were some big musicians like Mandoza, Zola and TKZee, who were making headlines all the time, me saying that I want to be an artist and I want to be on television just like them, it sounded like wishful thinking but my parents never killed my dream at that level.
MacG : But very futuristic of them?
K.O : Yes but they just said alright, cool we see that but go to school, graduate and just in case.
MacG : What did you do at university?
K.O : Public Relations Management at Vaal University of Technology, a three year diploma.
MacG : So that is when you came to Johannesburg?
K.O : Yes, so by me going to Vaal University of Technology, it made me feel like I was in Johannesburg literally because it was just like one taxi for me to come to the hottest clubs, like if I wanted to go and see a Busta Rhymes concert.
MacG : What were the hottest clubs back then?
K.O : There was a club called ‘Le Club’
MacG : I do not even know that brother.
K.O : Yeah but the hip hop OGs know that because it used to boom back in the days, so that was like the apex of hip hop culture and whenever the best hip hop deejays were playing out there, that place would pack up, you would see Skwatta Kamp back then, Prokid was one of the people that was discovered from out there.
MacG : So you grew up watching Skwatta Kamp back then?
K.O : Yes, I was always a solo artist, I mean I was in a group before I got with Teargas, I was a duo with a homeboy of mine from back home but things did not work out and then I just started fully exploring the solo thing, and I was not fully confident in it until when we saw Skwatta Kamp and their success back in the days, and there were other groups like Hidden Force and Morafe, and then we said to ourselves, maybe this group things makes sense. So when we wanted to get into the game, me, Ma-E and Ntukza because they were a duo as brothers.
MacG : Did you meet them at Vaal University of Technology?
K.O : Yes, I actually found Ma-E there and Ntukza came a year after me. So anyway that whole friendship turned into a business when we met this dude who was our first manager, and he was alright cool I see you dudes, I mean you guys as brothers you are solid and I like the other dude (K.O) too as an individual but I feel like we can kill two birds with one stone if all you guys come together as a group and you start off your careers and then you can always explore the solo thing later on. And it made sense because we did not have enough resources, so the whole capital that we had, we started injecting it in kicking off the group’s career and that is how everything started.
MacG : What was your first song as Teargas?
K.O : Chance, that is the record that got us a record deal. It was the first song that we recorded as a group and then a few more others.
MacG : And how were you guys in studio? how did you guys work? were there any egos or everybody new their place?
K.O : No, everyone new their place. We respected each other as a unit and always kept it aback, I mean whether that individual was making note of what the other two members were saying or not but we always kept it one thousand percent real with one another like okay cool, your verse is cool but maybe you can come up with a better one.
MacG : And nobody conflicts?
K.O : I would happen and naturally as an artist when your peers tell you that your stuff is not good, you will genuinely catch feelings but you need to understand that it comes from a place of love because at the end of the day, what I think a lot of guys these days suffer from is they can’t take criticism especially if it is not constructive. One of the people that you had on the show, Sizwe Dhlomo for instance, he has been very involved in some of the stuff that I have released. When I worked on my solo album, Skhanda Republic, when we did Caracara, because we were just going around and getting people’s opinions before we put it out, we went to deejay Sbu and Sizwe Dhlomo. Sizwe was like this is a hard joint but he added an idea that we actually used at the beginning of the song.
MacG : You are kidding brother
K.O : So I have always trusted his opinion.
MacG : And that is the signature of the song because once you hear it you just know that this is Caracara.
K.O : So I’ve always trusted in his opinion and sometimes as harsh as it is, if he says it is not going to work, I just know that somewhere somehow this stuff is not going to work. You know I have always trusted in his opinion on that level and actually with Supa Dupa for instance, he was like this is a song and it is going to do really well, and I was like if I have got your opinion and your stamp of approval, then I know I’m in the right place.
MacG : Do you give him royalties for that?
K.O : No, he is my guy and he is rich though so he does not need my royalties.
MacG : So tell me about the game that time when Teargas was popping compared to now, are you guys making more money now or was it lit back then brother?
K.O : No it wasn’t lit brother, because back then hip hop was still in its infant stages.
MacG : It was for a niche market?
K.O : Not necessarily niche because when Skwatta Kamp got their first major deal through Gallo Records, and the ProVerbs, and the Prokids to mention but a few, it shifted the paradigm of the culture so yes, guys were not necessarily making as much money as some of the guys are now but it was like proof that there is an actual business in South African hip hop. We were filling up venues and performing in same festivals as big artists like Mandoza back in the days, so the opportunity to make money was there already, it just all depended on how you were moving as an artist, were you business savvy enough? So one of the reasons why now guys are seeing a lot of money is because there is a corporate behind, there are a lot of independent guys who own their masters, who own their publishing, so when a big deal comes through, it is not like there is a middle man.
MacG : Yeah those are things of the past>
K.O : Yes, so you are not being screwed by the label saying, alright cool, Vodacom wants to use song xyz, so as the label. By default, back in the days a lot of artists were just signing artist deals and the label is risking pretty much everything and they own the masters, so when Vodacom comes and gives a sync deal, the artist is probably holding just a small fraction of the cheque, but now things have changed.
MacG : Like Cassper Nyovest with that MTN deal?
K.O : Yes, so you are most likely to see a bigger cheque if you own your own recordings and publishing.
MacG : Because you guys are at the pinnacle now as Teargas, money is coming in, everything is in place, what happened? what was the fallout about? Was it people just growing older?
K.O : You mean for us to go our separate ways?
MacG : Yes
K.O : Actually there was no actual fallout, what happened was that when we were working on the last album ‘Num8er Num8er’, we were not moving in unison anymore. I remember some of the last shows that we did, people were saying, ‘you guys are not jelling anymore’.
MacG : Wow there is no chemistry.
K.O : Yeah it looks like Ma-E and K.O are in sync, but homeboy ‘Ntukza’ is just like doing his own thing.
MacG : So Ntukza killed Teargas?
K.O : No, I’m not saying he killed it, that is not the right sentiment. But also what had happened at that time when I say we were not moving in unison, Ntukza had started scratching the surface as far as him embarking on a solo journey when we were recording the album.
MacG : But that was always part of the plan like you said?
K.O : Yes of course, but me and Ma-E were not ready for that because at that time I had done a couple of features, one of the biggest ones that I had done at the time was ‘We Rollin’ with L-Tido, so when people heard that, the interest for me to do solo stuff was popped by that record and a couple of other records that I did including ‘God’s Will’ with AKA. So there was an appetite already for me to do solo stuff but I was like no, I’m Teargas, I’m not ready for that. So Ntukza pulled the trigger and started launching himself in that direction, so we felt like we were forced to do the same. He ‘Ntukza’ planted the seed and I was like alright, plus there was separation of some sort as far as the chemistry is concerned.
MacG : Did you ever bring it up and approach Ntukza and ask him, what is going on?
K.O : Yes we did, we had numerous conversations. Actually it escalated when I said something to him because he released a mixtape shortly after the release of our album ‘Num8er Num8er’ which was our focus, and now there was a mixtape. So we felt like we did not really have his full attention as far as the group album is concerned, and when I suggested that he should just put out one song just to test the waters, he felt like because a lot of people would say that the standout guys in Teargas are K.O and Ma-E, he wanted to prove himself and in me saying he should just put out one single song, he felt like I was actually trying to hold him back. So things sort of kind got worse from there, and then just based on that and seeing how he was starting to move alone, we also acted. When I started entertaining my solo situation as well, the very first song I made was ‘Mission Statement’ before the album came out and I knew I was always going to be alright even as a solo artist but I loved the group so much and I still wanted to make sure that even when I do my thing, they ‘Ma-E and Ntukza’ are also moving in their own right. So instead of just saying alright cool, here is my solo record, I said let me create a situation for Ma-E, and that is how there is a record with Maggz, Prokid and Ma-E by Dj Vigilante called ‘Sgelekeqe’ which came out at that time, and then there was also another record that had Kid X and Smashis. So the day when I was dropping my solo record, I was like let me drop that with these, and by doing that we are announcing ‘CashTime Life’, the new label. So as much Ntukza is not physically involved in those records, he still needs to be part of CashTime and not as an artist, but as a co-owner. So the business was actually supposed to be split four ways equally, Hip-Hop Scholar, my self, Ma-E and Ntukza. It was going to be split that way with the four of us getting a quarter each, and then Ntukza said he did not want to be part of that situation, so we ended up being the three owners, myself, Ma-E and Hip-Hop Scholar.
MacG : Knowing what you know in hindsight, if you were to got back, would you change anything or you would just let it play out the way it did?
K.O : I do not think I would change anything, so many things that have affected my call as a man, because even shortly after that when Caracara started happening, one of the craziest things was that I had lost so much weight and people were saying that I had AIDS. Actually at the heart of that rumour playing out, that is how Caracara showed up, that is a blessing. And as hurtful as it was to my family and my partner (Sarah Langa) at the time, it just turned out to be a blessing. So me bringing that up, I mean to say that I would not change anything, even some of the toughest moments that I have faced as a man in this music business downright all the way to what played out after CashTime Life where my brand was tainted because of misconceptions and how the label collapsed, and me coming in full circle in 2019 and being able to do what I do, I would not have managed to turn out the quality of the music that I have made if it was not for the turmoil that came with the past two or three years.
MacG : It makes sense, I mean we would not have Adele if that guy never messed up with her. But here is my thing when it comes to CashTime Life, every time I’m with you in the interviews, I always feel like when that topic arises, you always kind of beat around the bush, it is never clear with what exactly happened because you are always like, I did my part, what actually happened with CashTime Life?
K.O : There is a lot of moving pieces that led to how everything played out, but in a nutshell I would say when people came on board, they came expecting to see the same success as K.O, and rightfully so because they saw something moving, something that had potential and we all had a fair shot at being a star, but the work ethic did not match the desire. Even just like on the business level, Hip-Hop Scholar came up with a motto where he was like I’m managing K.O and I’m also heading the label’s day to day operations, and as much as I want, I can’t pay full attention to each and everyone of you guys.
MacG : But didn’t you know that before signing them up though?
K.O : No we did, but now we had to literally make it much clearer to all the guys that Hip-Hop Scholar cannot take care of everyone’s career right at this point, so it will help if we have individual managers as well and then Hip-Hop Scholar can be the head of everything, so micro-management basically, but no one really followed up on that.
MacG : What was your dream for CashTime Life when you started it?
K.O : To be honest with you, and someone will probably say that was not the case but I do not really care because it is my reality and it is something that I still feel even to this day, when I was watching Young Money (Lil Wayne’s record label), I saw how Lil Wayne at the height of his career brought in a couple of young talented guys, he continued with his career but asked the other guys to also push their careers as much they could. He did not care whether any these guys ended up being bigger than him. He just had passion and a vision of changing the game by opening the door for others, so that was the same dream and vision that I had for CashTime Life.
MacG : So who would say is your success story because you have been in the game for decades man, who is that one guy you would say you applied that to and it actually worked out?
K.O : I would not say I fully managed to do that because Kid X was on fire when we were together, he was probably the hottest rapper or MC.
MacG : Is he not on fire now?
K.O : We are all in a different place right now, myself included but it is not as red hot as it was in 2014 and 2015.
MacG : Okay I have now understood what you mean.
K.O : So when I say that Kid X was on fire, I’m talking about peaks. So when we were all on our peaks, I felt like if we had built and had more years together, there probably would have been even a greater star whether I was still involved in his career or not. The same goes for someone like Moozlie, I felt like 2015 was going to be her year and the idea was for her to probably even go and be even bigger than K.O in 2015 already, because she just commanded that much attention and she just had so much charisma and it was unbelievable. Unfortunately it did not play out that way and as a result I was so jaded, I was not interested in developing artists anymore.
MacG : I do not understand why artists start labels because we have seen time and again it is like a movie, it plays out the same, Cash Money, G-Unit, Roc-A-Fella.
K.O : Young Money is still going brother
MacG : Okay Young Money is still going and that is an exception.
K.O : Yes and it is probably the longest running artist led label.
MacG : Young Money apart, what do you think goes wrong? Is it a matter of egos?
K.O : From what I observe it is not really egos, sometimes the label just collapses, for example if you look at Roc-A-Fella Records, Dame Dash and Jay-Z fell apart and that was the end of it. But Jay-Z still went and created Roc Nation and he is still going super strong with other artists like Rihanna in a probably bigger set up than Roc-A-Fella Records. So I think sometimes if the label is not really being run as a business and there is too much of the friendship thing going on, you will definitely clash brother because there will be a case where someone feels like they are entitled to certain things that the main guy is and if they get denied or if circumstantially they cannot be afforded the same, they then starting thinking, let me go and do whatever that I need to do. But I can only speak from the CashTime Life perspective, us as management we were still intact with the artists.
MacG : Because you are creatives at the end of the day.
K.O : Yes and the artists just maybe didn’t have enough faith anymore in the leadership of the label, so they started peeling off. Again it goes back to what I was saying to you, the model that was put forward in which we asked all the artists to get their individual managers who could focus on them while we were trying to run the entire label, the guys did not apply that and they turned around and just looked at the CashTime Life situation and said, no this is not working out for me anymore, let me go do other things on my own, and rightfully so. We did not have an actual contract structure, it was a friendship, family oriented business, and for me also being an artist, I have seen how artists find themselves imprisoned by a contract, by a piece of paper and now they cannot go do what they need to do, so one of the reasons why we never had contracts was purely because I identified with the artists at that level. If an artist wants to leave, you just know they need to go, because you can keep them imprisoned to the contract but you will not get their best work purely because spiritually and mentally they are just not with you anymore. So you would rather just let them fly because as a label you will always find another artist.
MacG : So don’t you think going forward, because it sounds to me like CashTime Life came from a very good place, it just sounds like there were no structures in place.
K.O : No, there were structures. The only thing that we did not have was a contract, that is all.
MacG : But that is a very fundamental thing.
K.O : I know, but the beauty about it is that the verbal agreements that we had were still in effect fully, top to bottom. Everyone got their rewards as far as money is concerned, we do not owe anyone a single cent.
MacG : From what I’m seeing and history has told us like I said, I mentioned all those labels, is it better instead of giving an artist a fish, rather teach them how to fish?
K.O : So check this out with exactly what you have just said, one of the wrong moves or methods that we applied at CashTime Life was our so invested in seeing everyone prosper that the success of Caracara, I mean everyone is eating by default, and then uGOGO the song that Ma-E put out, which was a smash, was my song, and I’m not saying this to discredit anyone. I made that beat with Lunatik and the whole concept of uGOGO, then gave it to Ma-E and he obviously made a song, he wrote his own verses, I did not write his verses, but I wrote the hook, and he did his own bridge but fundamentally that was my song and it was supposed to be on my album but I said alright cool, I want to see you take off with something dope, so hold this. And the same goes for ‘Pass n Special’ by Kid X back then, me and Thulu wrote the hook and then Kid X helped mold it, just like to brush it up and then he wrote his own verses obviously and Lunatik made the beat. So outside of Caracara those were the two songs that came shortly after, so going back to what you were saying, instead of giving someone a fish, just teach them how to fish, that is the one thing that I did wrong. Now moving into this new situation, yes I am an executive but I’m still a producer and a song writer at the end of the day, so I will still assist where needed for my artist to take off nicely, for what I think sonically will work for them but the back end of it will be a lot more corporate. I want to make sure that their is a contract in place, and that everything is not based on friendship because this is a business, and I think when Jay-Z picked up J. Cole for instance, that is the first thing that he applied and he knew what he was doing. Look an J. Cole now, he does not need a Jay-Z co-sign anymore, he can just wake up today and decide that he is dropping new music and it will shoot up on the charts. So I want to build up a situation like that where I know I’m working with guys that are not working for me, but they are working for themselves and the bigger vision and at the end of the day, the big win will be for them.
MacG : Let us talk about Caracara, is it safe to say that is the biggest song you have ever had?
K.O : Yes of course.
MacG : How did that song come about?
K.O : That is the biggest South African hip hop song to date, it changed my life and it changed all our people’s lives, those that were associated to me and the movement. I think just the history that came with that song, we saw the peak of South African hip hop as a whole, not only my career, but hip hop culture and everything else that came that year was on fire, whether you are talking of Doc Shebeleza, Congratulate and all the other dope songs that came out that year. That is just how the game played out, because folks were so much in the South African hip hop bag and I think we have not been in our South African hip hop bag as much as we were that year.
MacG : That’s facts, I want to know how it came about because it has got such a Kwaito influence and it is as if you went away for a year and did not listen to any radio, you did not listen to anything and you were like alright cool, I’m going to zoom in and turn the vision on this sound.
K.O : Before I even made that record, I was preaching something to guys like L-Tido, Maggz who had solo runs, I told them to look at these Kwaito and House artists who do really big numbers than we are doing even though we also have good music. I figured out that we were not tapping into what every South African knows, we were still a foreign culture to the South Africans. Yes they could hear us rapping in vernacular but the background of the music that we were making was still very foreign, so I told this to my peers but maybe it did not sink in. So I said to myself, alright cool, instead of talking about it, maybe let me put it into action when I do my music. I wrote the Caracara hook on a Saturday morning when I was on a plane towards the end of 2013, Teargas had a show in Durban so we were flying out there, and I was listening to a Tyga song produced by DJ Mustard. At that time the DJ Mustard movement was not fully in yet, but it was slowly just cripping in, so I’m listening to that song and I’m like this actually has a nice bounce almost like a West Coast feel to it, almost like a Kwaito baseline to it, how about if we did that in a South African way. So I wrote the Caracara hook over the Tyga song and then when I got back home after our festive runs and bookings as the group (Teargas), and started focusing on building my album Skhanda Republic one, I said to Lunatik, we need a song that is almost like Tyga’s song Rack City because it was reminiscent of old school Kwaito elements. So I was like we need to take that energy and put it over hip hop dreams in this country because I actually have a chorus that somehow goes like Tyga song.
MacG : Which song do you wish was yours right now?
K.O : Right now in the country?
MacG : Yes
K.O : Nothing at all but I love what DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small are doing, their album is just insane and Samthing Soweto is pretty crazy right now. But with all those records though, they are just enough for me to draw inspiration from but not for me to say I wish they were my songs.
MacG : Which do you think is the biggest hip hop song of 2019?
K.O : Let’s be real brother, you know where I’m going..
MacG : Supa Dupa?
K.O : Yes
MacG : I knew you would say that, so what happened with Skhanda Republic two because it did not receive as much love?
K.O : Remember it was just shortly after the collapse of CashTime Life and my brand has just been tainted. When I was making that album, I had PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) where I was like alright cool, I’m making this album because I need to eat and because I saw many external voices that are telling me how much I am not worth and all those kind of things. I mean I’m proud of that album because I got to tap into a whole different side of me where I really got personal and gave people my personal story for the first time. But when I look back in hindsight I’m like, mentally as much as maybe I might have put together a sided body of work, the energy was just not right.
MacG : It sounds like you were in a dark place brother
K.O : Yes I was as a result of all the bullshit that had been thrown at me but when I made Supa Dupa late last year, I had made a conscious decision to just silence all the noise. I was like, I do not care, I went back to trusting myself without seeking approval from anyone and that song ‘Supa Dupa’ came out the way that it did, then I told Song Records that in 2019 this is the song that I want to come up with, and they were like, we are not sure if it will work very well. I then said, believe me, this is not about whether this song is going to go out and do wonders or not but the universe is telling me that this is the one that I need to push the button on, you just sit back and watch, give it head room and see how it goes. And I remember just two days before it came out I told Sizwe Dhlomo that this is the song that I want to go out with, and he took time to get back to me about it, so I’m thinking now he does not like this one again. But then the day before I released the song he called me to say that he was coming to my crib, when he arrived he walked in and said dude, you are killing this stuff.
MacG : And what I love about your new album dude are your features, I like the song you did with Sjava. How dope is he?
K.O : He is an amazing artist.
MacG : We are almost out of time and we haven’t spoken about the ladies, but we are going to play a game called spit fire. When I ask you some spit fire question, the first thing that comes to your mind, just answer.
K.O : Alright
MacG : SAMAs
K.O : Record of the year, Caracara
MacG : Amapiano
K.O : Kasi
MacG : Family Tree
K.O : Genius
MacG : Fame
K.O : Drug
MacG : Why do you think Family Tree was genius?
K.O : They probably were the most bold artists to come to the culture.
MacG : They just wrapped this stuff brother.
K.O : Yes and like for a guy to come out and say, I’m going to fill up the Dome on you dudes. To be honest I was one of the people that were shaking their heads and I was like dude, get the hell out of here. And truth be told, we were all waiting for Cassper Nyovest to fail with that event. And he was like guys I’m doing Orlando stadium next year, and I’m doing FNB stadium on you dudes, so that was some powerful stuff.
MacG : Fame being a drug I agree with you on that.
K.O : Yes sir
MacG : Do you subscribe to any drug?
K.O : No, I do not smoke and drink.
MacG : No wonder you and Sizwe Dhlomo get along.
K.O : Actually yes, we are on the same wave length.
MacG : And what is your take on fame?
K.O : I always felt like I hated fame and if it was possible for me to be in music, for people not to know me but know my music, that would be amazing.
MacG : Then be a ghost writer
K.O : No, I want people to hear my voice, I want people to appreciate everything that comes out of my mouth, so if it was possible for people not to know me, I would have been up for that.
MacG : Social media
K.O : Fake and toxic
MacG : Didn’t have a Twitter war with a fan recently?
K.O : I did not have a conversation with him, he just commented on one of my tweets and I did not feel the need to reply to him because I’m good with the dude. But I spoke the way that I spoke regarding because a lot of folks can whatever they want to say but I know piracy on a much higher level than a lot of artists in this game.
MacG : And why do you think people think you are arrogant, is it because of that same trade you are talking about?
K.O : I think we live in a society where confidence and not caring about what people have to say does not affect one’s personality, and people cannot stomach that type of character. I think arrogance comes from insecurity, because I feel like being arrogant is you not trusting yourself, so you want to use whatever that you have to talk down on the next person. I do not talk down on anyone and folks can say K.O is arrogant but there was never anyone incident where I disrespected anyone on a personal level or had a fall out with anyone ever since I walked into the music game. But I guess the fact that I’m an introverted person and I keep to myself, and I move a certain way, and I just do not need validation from the next guy, it is easily misconstrued as arrogance but people just need to understand the difference between confidence and arrogance.
MacG : What do you think of the state of the hip hop culture right now?
K.O : The state of the culture is almost miserable.
MacG : That deep brother?
K.O : Yes, it is not as exciting as it used to be, I mean there are a lot of factors that come to it.
MacG : Who are your top five South African rappers right now?
K.O : You know what my problem is with South African hip hop, I hate the fact that we have to constantly mention the same names because it basically says we are not progressing.
MacG : I get what you are saying.
K.O : That is my issue and I do not feel like giving you a top five, because the top five I’m going to give you is probably the same that I would have given you five years ago, and that is disgusting. When you look at the frequency in the United States for instance, there are so many new good artists that are coming up. Even if you look at Nigeria, you have Mr Eazi as much as you have Wizkid and Davido, you now even have Burna Boy, so there is always a new sensation. But here in South Africa we have not had a new sensation since Nasty C in 2015-2016, and that is horrible.
MacG : I actually never thought about that.
K.O : That is horrible, Nasty C was the last superstar that we saw that came out.
MacG : K.O thank you so much for coming through man.
K.O : You are welcome and thank you too for having me brother.
MacG : So can we expect a Teargas reunion?
K.O : Not at all.
MacG : Guys you cannot do that to us, just kiss and make up
K.O : I do not know about that but maybe we might do shows or whatever but in terms of new music, you guys will probably pick it up that it is probably forced because the chemistry is really not there.
MacG : And you are a purist, you do not like that?
K.O : Yes and that is why I can still do stuff with Ma-E because it is organically there, that is my brother.
MacG : One thing I like about you is longevity, I think longevity is one of the hardest things to do in this game but you have proved that.
K.O : Thirteen years and going for fourteen.
MacG : How many people that you started with that are still relevant now?
K.O : I mean I do not use the word relevancy, but I just think like if you are really for the culture, and you are a student, and you are passionate about this stuff because unity will be able to withstand the quite days, the low times because when it is not your time, it is not your time brother.
MacG : Do you have any other business ventures because I know you are very business savvy?
K.O : Yes, the clothing range (Skhanda World) and the real estate game though still at early stages though, and also beyond that with me getting into the music label business again, I want to get into venture capitalism.
MacG : On that note, what a way to wrap it up, thank you so much K.O.
K.O : You are welcome and I appreciate you having me on the show.
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