DJ Fauz

Kosher Nights and Better Days: Kosher turns 2

Kosher’s been the scene for many a debaucherous night for me.  I have vivid memories of shot glasses and massive bouncers.  Conversations with strangers in the bathroom and the effect dancehall has on People of Colour playing out in front of me on the dancefloor.

Shit, I even know the old lady who works at the bar and I honestly think she’s seen me so often I’d buy her a Coke if I saw her during the daylight.

If an event can be a home away from home, that’s what it’s been.

So when DJ Fauz asked me to come through and see what goes on behind the scenes, the groupie in me was ecstatic. [The writer in me.. uhh.. too. Yeah. Totally.]

The Twitter hashtag put itself together really: #hookahsandhoesatkosher.

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[As the night wore on, it proved rather..accurate.]

It was drizzling as I walked into the Cresta lobby.  Something I knew would still not deter party goers because we just live in that kind of city.  I found  set up in full swing.  The place was barren with tangled chords on the floor, the setup crew and hotel staff milling about with DJ Fauz, Ozzy the Great and Petula [Fauz’s gorgeous wife].  It felt a bit like how it must feel to wake up next to the person you might be in love with for the first time.  Here, naked, exposed and simple, you have to wonder if you’ll ever see them as flawless again.

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As I tried not to panic and remember that after all this, she’d look as gorgeous as she usually does, the Marked Men crew walked in.  Chub Heightz, VH, Mak and TT looked rather domineering until they started talking.  From a Beyonce impersonation by Chub to a rather heated argument about which is better, tea or coffee, the morning was filled with laughter as speakers, lights and sets went up around us.

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Tension was in the air though because this wasn’t just any random Kosher night.

Kosher was turning two.

Imagine. It’s been around as long as Blue Ivy.

By lunch time we figured it was time to calm our nerves, or start celebrating, depending on why you were there.

A Guarana and tequila shot later I was drawn out of the bar by the sound of Biggie blaring from speakers.

Ozzy The Great was going through his set and I could not wait to see how the crowd would react.  Pac, Shaggy, Biggie, a splash of old school reggae and some Busta Rhymes?!

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It was pure ecstasy.

Or at least I thought so.  The patrons of the Hotel strolled about nonchalantly as I fought the urge to jump in front of one and in a scene reminiscent of something out of High School Musical, get everyone grinding and swaying.

I was ready for a 90s dance battle and all the hotel staff wanted to do was ask me if I wanted tea or coffee.

FOR SHAME!

The hours passed and so did the liquor.  By 5PM I was ready to party and people, wherever in the world they were, probably weren’t even close to getting ready.  Door’s opened at 8PM and I felt hype enough to be in a Pitbull video. As people disappeared to get ready and the drinks continued to disappear within me to get me ready, the sun set. A quick dash upstairs into the hotel to freshen up and we were set.

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As usual there were a few people littered about, dancing awkwardly and sipping slow.  All three rooms, the two Turn Up rooms and VIP had a visible social hierarchy set up.  The Cool Kids, the Thirsty Men, The Pseudo Celebrities, The Occasional Bad Bitches and the Rest.

A lot of men gravitated towards the game station, drunk and eager to prove their dominance over the characters and whomsoever challenged them.

The place looked gorgeous. My lover had remained her youthful vigor and now revelers marveled and spilled drinks all over her as she filled up.  She got full fast.

A few hours into the event Kosher was so full people were crowded around the stairs contemplating what to do.

Me? My camera abandoned, because I just knew my mind couldn’t pay attention to more than two objects [My phone and cup], I was dodging photos and playing a hospitable Stepford wife [albeit one in short shorts and a beanie].

Eventually I found myself seated with DJ Fauz, Mak, TT and the strikingly beautiful DJ Cupid taking vodka shots because..

Did I mention Kosher was turning two?

Because that’s like 13 in the entertainment industry.

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It turned out to be an amazing night.  From the crowd going insane when Drunk In Love dropped to me being thoroughly convinced life was meant to be lived under strobe lights, it was filled with memorable moments.  I watched like a proud mother as patrons danced in what just a few hours before was an empty, unattractive room.  I knew something they didn’t: She isn’t this gorgeous all the time.

And the appreciation I had for the team afterwards!  Who knew so much tedious work goes into bringing us a few hours of pleasure?

Two lucky attendees won P1000 apiece and I’m sure a lot of people went home having acquired something priceless too. [No, not herpes.]

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Laone, one of the winners

The next morning, I woke up feeling like Ke$ha.  If a week filled with “Yo dude. Are you alright?” messages from friends and strangers alike is anything to go by, there are memories of that night that should be left in the recesses of people’s cameras.

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And did I mention the kidney infection that followed?

THAT was like contracting chlamydiae from your main chick due to your own irresponsibility.

But oh, what a wonderful ride it was, at the time.

To mark the journey that has been, I got in touch with a few people to share their Kosher memories.  Get into it below:

“The first time I went to Kosher I had no idea where I was gonna spend the night and I ended up drinking with my friends on a bench with a girl from Amsterdam.  I got so drunk I actually danced. If you know me, you’ll know why that’s horrific.  Lol. It’s my go to place in Gabs to party now.” – A White girl named Neo, Gantsi.

No, really.

“I met my girlfriend at Kosher a year ago.  S/O to Fauz for dropping the set that had her grinding on me!” – Gorata, London. 

“Kosher’s saved our night life scene, man.  I’ve been going for over a year now. That place is like home.” – Dee

“I have a love/hate relationship with that place. I always do the vilest things there. Lol. *covers face*” – Tshepo, Joburg. 

To say it’s love from us to Marked Men, Fauz, Cresta and everyone who continues to make  Kosher Sessions a possibility is an understatement.

Here’s to more years and more debauchery!

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How does one go from a shitty job to being a pioneer in the entertainment industry?

Well first you need to lose your job. Get fired, become a victim of retrenchment, quit, just lose it. Then you have to worry while simultaneously trying to survive and provide for yourself and your family.

Done?

Next, do what you love and figure out how to live off of it. It takes more than just talent to become successful. Determination, intelligence, courage, strength and the ability to reflect all play a role, and who knows this better than DJ Fauz?

With the Marked Men crew, a world of ideas and what seemed like nothing to lose, Fauz dived into the entertainment industry headfirst and swam against the current. Something which seems to have paid off considering that now, he’s the become one of Botswana’s most respected names in the Hip Hop community and among party goers.

I sat down with him as we discussed shady promoters, Diddy, and why Sean Kingston sucks.

Who did you start Kosher Sessions with and why?

Kosher Sessions started as Kosher Nights. It was something that Marked Men did and they actually gave me my first booking. Later on they would bring L-Tido and Maggz, then Khuli Chana but at the time they were launching a clothing label or something. We’d been boys since varsity, and as part of my newly jobless state I started doing a series of events at the [Cresta] President Hotel. So I hit them up and told them I liked the name, I proposed a partnership, and that was to be Kosher Sessions.
I wanted it to be strictly Hip Hop. At the time, it was usually some Hip Hop and a bit of House. I wanted it to be strictly Hip Hop and we could run with it. And that’s how Kosher was born.
Why? I needed money. *chuckles* I honestly wasn’t getting bookings, and I also wanted to do something that would be done right. I’d worked with almost everyone in this city and a lot of people are shady. These are the only people who are not shady. Or should I say not shady, yet. *laughs* They’re the least shady people I’d worked with.

Chub Heightz,Fauz,VH

 

  Chub, Fauz and VH

And what kinda tricks did the shady promoters pull?

Well people would book me and not pay me, or they’d book and undercut prices. Make you travel to the other side of the country and pay you four months later. It was just really bad. I actually stopped playing on radio because of that. There’s a certain radio station I played for for like 4 years and they never once bothered to book me for a show. There were times when I’d play thrice a week and they still never bothered to hire me for a birthday party so at some point I just said “Fuck it”.

What was your vision though?

I wanted to start a movement. I’d discussed the idea with DJ C4 before he left for Joburg. A place to play the music I wanted to play and what people wanted to hear and luckily everything fell into place. I wanted to build Hip Hop. I was tired of going to a place and we were just the curtain raisers for the House guys. It was irritating so I wanted to shift the balance. To shift the balance and let the Hip Hop guys win. We didn’t know what we were doing at it was tough. I don’t think we thought it would go on for this long.

The time we booked Khuli was the time we had the most drama. We’d booked the venue and already put up flyers. Two weeks before the event we were asked to pay extra since we’d sold a lot of tickets, which we did. The Thursday before the show, which was gonna be on a Saturday, the venue people pulled out all together. They didn’t trust that it would be a safe, controlled environment. All in all it was a PR nightmare. We shifted venues and made it but it was rough.

You’ve produced two tracks so far The Commission and You Don’t Love Me. Marked Men is also a label that has artists such as VH and Chub Heightz. Have you found that having a place to freely play your music has helped to push your own brand?

Yes. It helps a lot. We’re very specific about what we do. We get to control and dictate everything and for us it’s really about quality over quantity. We take what we do very seriously.

Someone recently tweeted that Kosher truly is the only place to get a steady supply of good Hip Hop in Gaborone. It’s the only place where those who aren’t hardcore fans could still keep up. However, the DJ’s playlists tend to be monotonous..

The thing is, we have an assortment of DJs who come through and they all know the rules. We don’t allow them to repeat songs. If it’s coincidental then yeah, that happens, we can’t help that. There are classics that every DJ feels the need to throw into a set, like Fatman Scoop, you know. But yeah, it’s not like that. WE don’t even really get all that power as DJs. We have to play what the public wants, what’s on Trace and MTV Base. That’s how I end up jamming Sean Kingston when I can’t personally stand his wack shit or the likes of Carly Ray Jepsen. It’s what people want. The regulars get it and understand it now.

The Kosher stage has been graced by the likes of Tumi, Reason, Mo Molemi and Zeus. What has been your most memorable show so far?

Reason. Reason without a doubt. Reason came on that stage, alone and filled that fucking place. Everyone said we were selling out like “Who’s Reason?” There were only probably 50 people in there who knew who he was. He played a 1 hour set, we don’t allow that on the Kosher stage but he played for that long cos he was THAT good. He shut shit down, on his own. Reason can perform.

Reason Performance

 

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Motif is inspiring, you can tell that everyone there loves what they do..

Motif is amazing. You know, I respect Tumi, man. To a lot of people they aren’t all the way up there, but to me, they’re the best. They’re the least garbage like. A lot of people come up with these marijuana induced raps, but the Motif crew actually works.

Tumi Performance

 

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Kosher also hosted the first official Tumblr Meet Up, how did that come about?

Well a friend, Kwame, approached me with the idea and it sounded cool. He had really outrageous ideas actually at first, but some were doable, so we started work on it. It was a bit tricky cos I didn’t expect everyone to know what Tumblr is, I had to explain to some, but overall it was a great event. We focused on the bloggers to get the news out. The internet’s influence and weight isn’t to be taken lightly, and all the cliquey Tumblr kids actually rocked up. *laughs*

Kosher Crowd

And what’s been the most frustrating thing about the industry for you so far?

There’s a list man. There’s always something. If it’s not DJs asking you for 10 grand to go spend on booze and bitches it’s those constant “I’m at the door come let me in” texts in the middle of a set. A lot of people feel entitled to shit. I’m not opposed to paying someone their worth or doing favours but a lot of people just don’t go about shit the right way. I handle it though and you know, just, deal with it. I don’t think I’ve reached a level of success where I can afford to retaliate but we’ll see. Maybe one day.

Speaking of success, on the transition from IT to Djing and entertainment, you think you’ll ever go back?

I don’t think I could honestly. I can’t go back to being a “slave” so to speak. I’m making more money now than I ever did working for someone else man. I mean, it’s not about the money, but I’m well off. I’m alright. And besides, I love what I do. I’m still trying to grow the brand. I wanna create experiences, I wanna be That Guy. Like you know how when there’s a high profile launch, Diddy’s the Go To guy, he’s the one who sets it all up? I wanna be that. I’m not there yet.

Fauz on deck

 

*All images courtesy of the Kosher FB page found here