To come across a 23-year-old who possesses a gift of lyrical formulation, but also a skill and work ethic beyond his years, is very rare. This combination – in its rarity – shines a spotlight on Cape Town Hip Hop rapper, Youngsta. His aspirations were ignited at the age of 12, where he wrote and recorded his first track in the same year. Add in a unique sense of style, with life as a prominent topic, is what caused Youngsta to grow into his own element. We got to interview YoungstaCPT and here how it went:
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in various parts of Cape Town as a child but I spent a large part of my childhood in a suburb called Wittebome, Wynberg. My childhood was pretty great & shitty but I Spent loads of time doing kid stuff, riding bicycles, playing in the street & climbing anything! It’s a shame kids of today are missing out on regular non-tech fun.
How has Cape Town helped shape you as a creative?
The location itself and environment makes for excellent story telling. You can be inspired anywhere in the world if you just look around & pay attention to your surroundings. Natural beauty is the best because it’s in its raw state and Cape Town has it by the truck loads.
Starting up what were some of the challenges you faced?
Musically I had to find my sound and my identity as an artist, getting into the industry I had to do battles, cyphers and open mics to gain respect from the heads of the scene. Even though my name was Youngsta (YoungstaCPT now) I wanted to be taken seriously by the pioneers.
How did you get your first break?
I don’t even remember, I think it was an accumulation of many breaks. Opening for Lil Wayne was definitely one great moment for me. Working with artists like DJ Ready D, Tumi, Reason & DJ Switch whom I grew up seeing on TV also let me know I was on the correct path.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Art imitates life. Everyday living gives me content to create music.
What inspired Salutus?
In 2011 I made a track called ‘Salute Ya’ produced by Chrysto-meth which was a single on my 1st album called Guyfox. The song did well on radio and I would say it was the 1st ‘big’ track of my career. In 2014 I felt like I wanted to capture the essence of that song again and by flipping the word Salute us into ‘SALUTAS’ it also made sense and acted as a part two of Salute Ya. Both songs are named after words we grew up saying because our speech is mainly slang in Cape Town so it was really just me applying my everyday talking into music.
Do you plan on moving to Jo’burg? & Why?
I’ve been living in JHB for a few months now. The whole entertainment industry exists in Johannesburg so it was a logical step for me to be there. Cape Town is like a vacation spot so I feel the government isn’t really focusing on arts development but more on Tourism to generate foreign income. The history of the Cape is also pretty dark so that cloud hangs around no matter what but slowly a change is taking place with the new generation. The Y?Generation!
What are your thoughts on the current state of Hip Hop?
It’s growing daily which is good, the underground scene is starting to find its feet and these mainstream acts are noticing us without labels and finance even though they work in the commercial world. South African hip hop is still young but I’m pleased with the progress thus far.
What would you like to change about SA Hip hop?
I would like if we would not only support the major names but also give scope to those below the radar, example, guys like Action Bronson, Hopsin & Freddie Gibbs have a large following without being widely known. They still sell out shows and feature with big mainstream artists, yet in SA it’s like you have to be on TV to be taken seriously or have the right PR & Publicist to push you whether you have skill or not and that’s wack! The music is overlooked and your twitter followers are taken into account instead.
What are your thoughts on the Hip Hop coming out of Cape Town?
It doesn’t get any realer than CPT rap simply because most of the colored people are originally from the Cape Flats speaking specifically about the state of that environment. They’re majority Afrikaans speaking so the music is really raw in terms of content.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve been doing a lot of collabs with JHB artists since I’ve been in the city. Myself and European producer Maloon The Boom recently released videos for the interludes on our upcoming collab album. My Visual Vrydag campaign is up to 15 videos released in 15 weeks and I’ve been recording in Cape Town for my album called ‘3T – Things Take Time’. As you can see we don’t sleep much.
What do you look for in a woman?
Well she has to be funny 1st of all because I’m still the class clown, smart, trustworthy, honest, loyal and understand my work, how complicated it gets and how time consuming it is. Looks are a bonus but not everything. I just want someone I can smoke with and say my prayers with too.
I’m sure the ladies want to know if Youngsta is single?
They do? Well, I keep my relationship status on a need to know basis.
Where do you like to hang out in Cape Town?
In the hood. I’m not really a socialite although its apparently part of my job, im mostly with my friends chilling on the block or we head off to the mountains or the forest. The world is crazy so I prefer to be around the real elements rather than the plastic.
What do you do for fun?
For fun I listen to music, watch movies with my mother, hang with the boys in the hood. I don’t do Playstation and shit like that. I enjoy life’s simplest pleasures which my family and friends provide me with.
Top 5 SA Hip Hop artists?
- Claire Phillips
Top 5 SA Hip Hop songs on your playlist right now?
- Nasty C – Juice Back
- Uno – Skelem
- Reason &Tweezy – The Realest
- Blayze – Meant to Be
- Miss Celaneous- Trapem
What advice would you give to an up and coming rapper?
PRACTICE! This is a real job just like any other 9-5, maybe even more demanding. This is not some reality show or a sitcom. Perfect your craft before you talk that shit.
Any word of wisdom to the youth?
My crew name is Y?GEN so im all about youth upliftment and empowering the next generation of free thinkers. I just want them to keep an open mind and not be restrained mentally or physically. I also want the adults to allow the children to undertake new challenges and not just throw them into the system because they as parents were afraid to take risks.
Where can your fans reach you?