Growing up with four older boys, I’ve always seemed to fall into whatever activities they did. Naturally, the music phase hit and I seemed to listen to everything that they listened to and ended up liking it. Picture a little girl with Pocahontas-like plaits, bobbing her head to rap beats. This best describes my childhood and I’m completely okay with that.
After the success of a bunch of hip hop and rap events I’ve attended this year, I decided to continue to support another local music event and headed off to Youngsta’s 24th birthday bash.
Youngsta is a Cape Town-based hip hop rapper that has a raw and real understanding of life in the streets of Cape Town. This shows in his music as he gives the Cape Flats community something to relate to as many tend to overlook people’s struggles and categorise people indifferently, regardless of their circumstances. Youngsta is the only South African artist I know that could pull off releasing 24 mixtapes in a span of 24 months. Actually, name any other artist, local or international, that’s done something similar to that…I can’t name any and this made me think of Youngsta on a whole new level. Youngsta clearly has a passion for music and is dedicated to telling his story through personal experience.
‘Y?GEN’ is the tile of Youngsta’s self-found record label. He’s collabed with well-known South African names such as DJ Ready D and DJ Switch. He later released Y?GEN merchandise, which he is seen wearing at most events. I feel like Y?GEN has become a movement in Capetonian culture, especially now that millennials are on the rise in South Africa. Millennials are a generation that goes against the conventional way of doing things and does things differently to how their parents did it. Millennials are the youth of today and they make their voices heard through personal success stories as well as building an empire for themselves as a post-Apartheid generation.
Youngsta’s birthday bash took place on 19 Dec 2015 at Inside on the Greens, Wynberg. The weather was miserable but this didn’t stop the crowd from piling in, all in support of local music and for the love of hip hop. (Ha, have you noticed how people in Cape Town are always ready to party, rain or sunshine?). The venue was packed with a diverse crowd letting loose to hip hop jams. The food was good and not too pricey and there was a wide variety of cocktails and mocktails. We indulged before heading off to the dance floor.
The dance floor was packed with groups of people watching b-boy dancers show off their moves before the talented upcoming SA artists took the stage. Here are a few stand outs: first up were the boys of OG90 consisting of five members: Sacha Felix (21), Kennedy Green (20), Khanyo Wall (20), Lucas$ (18) and JemZ (23). OG90 is filled with diversity, each member adding a personal touch from France, California, Cape Town and Joburg. I asked Kennedy if he thinks that hip hop events, like this one, create opportunities for upcoming SA artists and he said the following: “That’s a yes and no question. If the artist isn’t good then he isn’t going anywhere. [These events] can help you but the artist still needs to bring out his/her game face when it’s time to perform.” OG90’s website is currently under construction, catch their tracks on their Soundcloud.
Things got wild when Mono Joe (Timm Ismail) stepped on stage. Mono Joe had confidence throughout his performance with a back track with ad-libs and for the hook, whereas some performers had a full-vocal back track and rapped as the song played in the background. He rapped his tracks effortlessly and flawlessly. His tracks ‘She’s Divine’ and ‘I’m On Everything’ had the whole crowd bobbing their heads while they chanted the catchy chorus of ‘la la la la laaaa’. Look out for him and his producer, Dominic ‘Nickstar’ Petersen, they’re both going places.
Next up were two of my favourites, Soul Sista T and Chris Gaudy from Café Society. Soul Sista T’s sweet, mellow vocals complement Gaudy’s rapping as they delivered an incredible performance like they always do. Café Society performs at popular events such as ‘Sizzled’ and even previous events (where I became obsessed with their vocals) like ‘Don’t Stop The Hop’ and ‘Smoken Word’. The crowd loved when Soul Sista T performed her lovely Erykah Badu ‘Appletree’ rendition.
I was in complete awe of Patty Monroe, a 20-year-old female hip hop performer. She’s performed at events such as the Durban July. Her sound is fresh and I’m so grateful for events like this that introduce us to new music and artists like her so we can continue to support local music. Female MCs are generally frowned upon and it’s unfortunate. I’m so glad that Patty Monroe is pushing female stereotypes aside and making her mark in the industry.
Mvula Drae, another crowd favourite, graced the stage with tracks from his 12-track mixtape titled Listen to the Lyrics (LTTL). I have a huge amount of respect for Mvula as his lyrics are always dominating. He performed my ultimate fave track ‘Awho Awha’, a fun crowd-pleasing track centralised on chilled vibes, music and smoking. (Mvula challenges you to a smoke-off, my brethren).
After midnight, Youngsta took the stage and everyone rushed to try to get a glimpse of the main attraction. Some people even stood on tables as Youngsta made the crowd feel comfortable by cracking a few jokes and announcing the winner of a Y?GEN hamper filled with merchandise. (Before he made them all lose their shit while he slayed). He performed ‘Salutas’ with a sick beat (and an even better music video), in which he mentions his success in the South African music industry despite criticism from many. He mentions how he’s taking over CPT like Jan van Riebeeck. The crowd went crazy when Youngsta performed ‘Top 10 List’ in which he responds to the rappers on MTV Base’s Annual South African Top 10 Rappers list by saying, “F*ck a top 10 list, my number is 021”. Youngsta is a down-to-earth guy and it was evident in his performance. He isn’t pretending to be something he’s not and always delivers a true performance while upholding a special connection with his audience.
Be sure to check out Youngsta’s ‘Salutas’ video below:
It’s a shame if you missed out. This is one of the biggest events I’ve been to in a while. If you’re in love with hip hop and enjoy having a rad jol, then this one is definitely for you. The best part is that it’s an annual event so I’ll be seeing you all next year.