- Firstly tell us who is Rendition?
Rendition is an artist, producer, sound designer and entrepreneur hailing from the kingdom of Swaziland.He is also the co-founder of record label MotherLand X.
- Where did the name come from?
Growing up I was always that introverted kid, I never used to speak much but I always found a way to express myself through art. From dancing to being a DJ, producer and eventually an artist. I chose that name because nothing better represented my character than the word Rendition, I am walking representation of my art.
- What made you fall in love with hip-hop and production?
Well, I fell in love with production because of people like Timbaland, Scot Storch, The Neptunes,9th Wonder, Dr. Dre. I was intrigued by the thought of creating something out of thin air that can go on to affect millions of people from different walks of life, so I spent years perfecting my craft and obsessing over it day and night until I was comfortable enough to start releasing my music to the world.
Hip Hop is the one art form that has managed to break boundaries and grow over the years while other genres saw a decline. The reason being that it is the purest form of expression by black people, it is unapologetic in its nature and broadcasts the truth about what black people have gone through and are still going through.
- What/who can you say inspires you and your art? I am inspired by different things, it all depends on what I’m going through at the time. If I have just experienced trauma, my music will reflect that, I use music as a therapy of sorts.If I’m in a good mood you can expect a summer smash.
Furthermore, I am inspired by people,I don’t just do music for the attention,in fact I try to stay away from media attention as much as possible because I want to be known for how good I am,not what I do outside of music. As a musician I have an important role to play,I can be the voice for all the people who might not have the platforms I have access to. Once people start showing you support,it means they relate to what you talk about in your music and it’s your responsibility to use that momentum to try make the world a better place.
- I for one know you as a house music producer for a deep house collective called Rhythm Lab Project, how and what motivated the transition from deep house to hip hop?
I actually got a lot of flack for that lol but once again this goes to prove the theory of “Only you know what your vision is” and you have to see it through no matter how many people advise you against it. The 2 most constant factors in nature are growth and death,every living thing grows and eventually dies. Same with companies,Apple started off as a computer company then transitioned to phones and now they are a leader in music streaming,I say all of this to say,I grew. Hip Hop is currently the biggest genre in the world,over Rock and country music,it’s influence is so powerful that kids will listen to a Kanye West over any politician in the world because they feel they can relate to him. My end goal is to have a company that hires and grooms young people all over Africa to help revamp our economies and for me to do that I need influence thus the transition to Hip Hop.
I wanted to grow as an entrepreneur and as an artist, If you look at people like Kanye West,Pharrell Williams,Diddy, Dr Dre,AKA,Riky Rick, all these people started off as just producers but look at who they are today. On the business side of things,I noticed how brands were rallying around hip hop artists for endorsement deals,reason being that brands want to market their brands to the youth and what does the majority of the youth listen to? exactly, hip hop.
- Do you still produce deep house or any other genres?
I still produce deep house music,that was how I began my musical career and that isn’t something you can just stop. I now produce multiple genres and I blend them into one which is my own unique sound. I make hip hop,rnb,soul,house,electro-fusion,jazz,soft rock,afrobeat,reggae,ambient,etc. Basically I can make anything the artist wants to make.
- With a number of great hip hop producers like Subjamz, Mozaik how hard/easy is it to get yourself out there and noticed as a producer?
It’s actually very easy,your work will speak for you. Nowadays you have platforms like soundcloud,bandcamp.audiomack which allow you to broadcast your music to the world for free,the challenging part is only marketing yourself as a brand which is a skill on it’s own but it really helps to have a team that helps you with that. Get all your friends involved,if you drop a song,have everybody you know share it to their 2000 friends.
More importantly,work on your sound,don’t rush to release music,it doesn’t happen overnight,it took me over 5 years to perfect my sound. Find up and coming artists that are also looking for producers and work with them,that way the both of you help each other grow.
- As the co-founder of the independent digital entertainment platform MotherLand X, tell us more about MotherLand X?
MLX is a company we started together with 3 of my friends, Dj Ohpis,Vuma and Mbakisi Gopolang from Botswana. We all had the opportunity of going to study outside the country,they all went to USA and I went SA,while we were there we learned a lot about how they do things in their entertainment sector and we wanted to bring these innovative ideas back to Swaziland and apply them.
So we started Motherland X,which is a collective of creatives from producers,to artists,graphic designers,dj’s,bloggers,animators,etc. We wanted to empower young creatives all over Africa to be themselves and help expose their music through the power of numbers,so we went around finding young talent and collaborating with them,that way we get access to their fanbase and they get access to ours. We started a remix culture where we would go around remixing songs accross different genres,we currently have over 40 producers we work with from all over the world.
MLX is also a record label in which I myself am signed to,instead of going to sign with a major label we realized that the power is in the producers,they are the secret ingredient to the music business but they are so overlooked and exploited. So we’ve essentially created a large network that is self-sufficient,we are able to produce,record,release,market and distribute our own music using this network.
- I had the chance to listen to the Nasty C remixes you did, tell me what was the drive behind and how was the response?(Those were hot remixes by the way)
Motherland X was modelled after a similar startup called Soulection which only started a few years ago but now works with Beats1 radio and was featured on Forbes Magazine,they are the originators of the whole Bryson Tiller/Trapsoul sound. They also created an extensive network of producers from all over the world and they had this challenge where they would do remixes of famous songs and just flip them completely,releasing them every week. That is how they got traction and saw their numbers rise,that is also one of the ideas we took and applied here in Africa,we try to relase a new remix package every month and find young producers and give them a chance to be apart of this.
- I recently heard that you did a song for uSanele from Boyzin Buckx, share how that collabo came about?
That’s my brother man, I have known uSanele for about 3 years now. I met him through one of my homies, Una Rams and the first day we met I played him like 60 beats and he lost his mind,we’ve been friends since then. He liked my sound so much that he agreed to mentor me and show me the ropes when I moved to Joburg this year,the first set of monitor speakers I ever had were given to me by him.
as it stands we are working on his EP that is entirely produced by me,it’s up to him to share further details.
- Any other notable collabos?
I have a collab EP I am dropping with RedBull next year,it’s already done. They invited me to the RedBull Studios in Cape Town and I just got to work on music for an entire week. The EP is called” Art. Love. Magic” and it is my debut EP as a recording artist,i’m excited to share it with the world.
We’re also shooting the video for Monies by Una Rams who also just co- signed to Black Coffee’s Soulistic music label.
I got a chance to pitch for Nike last month,they asked me to compose music for their BattleForce campaign which featured Riky Rick,Scoop,Caster Semenya. I didn’t get the part but the fact that they know who I am and gave me a call means i’m on the right path,I hope to work with them again in 2018
The rest is very top secret,you will find out in a few months but it’s some life-changing shit.
- Briefly tell us how the Woolworths campaign cameabout?
A lot of people don’t know this about me but outside of producing for artists,I also do film scoring,meaning I compose music for film and tv. I worked with BlxckWorx(a production company founded by director YeahLenzo and uSanele) for the whole of 2017,I spent hours in their offices composing music and they would do the video production,I learnt a lot and got to meet and have conversations with some of the other Boyzn Bucks members that would come in to hang out or work. We did work for Converse and eventually Woolworths. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if uSanele hadn’t believed in a kid with no experience in this field but once again,your work will speak for you.
- I have also noticed that you have worked with Swaziland best lyricist, 80 Script a couple of times if not often, how has working with him been?
Haha funny story,I met 80 Script through Vuma and he is the first Hip Hop artist I ever produced for,we made The Harvest and Podium Finish before I even met him,just having conversations and exchanging ideas through whatsapp. He was the first artist to be apart of MLX,we used all the resources we have in terms of our producers and network to help launch his career. I was there in the absolute beginning,I produced 5 songs on his first mixtape and produced the entire You Do The Dishes EP in 2015.
I’m happy to see where he is today and it was also crazy to see what we were able to achieve together.Working with him was incredible because he is such a potent writer,his vocabulary is so extensive it makes other rappers seem like a joke.
- I read an article that dubbed you and 80 “Batman and RobinHood” who shall save the Swazi hip-hop industry. What is your take on the industry and how would you improve it?
I love where the industry is right now,we have come so far as a nation and to see so many Swazis shining outside of the kingdom is a blessing. I love what people like Touch Of Soul,Tendaness, Sands, Zaza, The Antidotes,Semitone Studios are doing for the industry.
I wouldn’t change anything about the industry,we just need to keep doing what we are doing and just create music from the heart. Forget about industry politics,this new generation can’t and won’t be stopped.
- In 2015 you were selected as one of six producers in South Africa to compete at the UPE MC/Beat Battle for a chance to work with American super producer 9th wonder and rapper Skyzoo, how did this opportunity come about and how was the overall experience?
Back to the city festival was hosting a competition for producers,I applied and went through a voting process that lasted 3 rounds,I managed to get more votes than the other thousand applicants.
I got there and did my best,unfortunately I didn’t win but more than anything that experience was affirming to me,it let me know that I am good enough.
- What has been the highlight of 2017
I would have to say working with RedBull,it was a life-changing experience and to think one of the biggest brands in the world recognized me for my music is mind blowing.They have nurtured some of the greatest artists like Black Coffee and i’m honoured to be part of that story.
It’s also a great thing for our country,I will be the first artist to release a project with RedBull worldwide,I hope this will inspire other kids and show them anything is possible. Shout out to Touch Of Soul who has also worked with the brand and opened doors for people like me.
- What is the biggest challenge for you as an artist?
The biggest challenge I face as an artist is being lonely,you kinda have to accept that going in,I have lost a lot friendships and good relationships because I put my work before anything else. You have to realize that being an artist is literally gambling with your life,not everyone will see the promised land. You have millions of people all around the world doing what you do so you have to outwork everyone if you want to be the best and inorder for you to start seeing returns you have to sacrifice a lot of things.
I dropped out of University and decided to pursue music full-time,where we come from people won’t really understand what you are doing until they see it work,so I can’t afford to give the non-believers a reason to talk about me.
- What valuable lessons have you learnt in this industry that would useful to one who is yet to enter?
It’s a very dirty and dark industry,a lot of people get in it and get lost in the sauce as Gucci Mane would say,my advice would be to know why you are doing it in the first place. Anything you want from it you will get,if you want the fame,you will get it,if you want the girls you will get them but you will soon learn the hard way that focusing on the music is the most important thing,everything else is just a distraction.
You need to find yourself,who you are and what your purpose is,find where you fit in the puzzle and milk that lane. Read books and watch interviews of all the artists you look up to.
Also I want to debunk this whole theory that signing to a label will automatically lead to you blowing up,most of these artists you seeon tv are broke because they made the mistake of selling their brand to labels. If you want to make money in this industry,stay independent,go through all the stress and use whatever resources are at your disposal to create value in your brand.
- How and where fans-to-be or future collabs get access to your music?