hip hop

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

 

                                                                      Reason The Mass

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

 

                                                                                 Tumi

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

The Fall: On Greatness, Society and being a Sociopath

Last night I wondered, how much work do you have to put in til they [the public] consider you one of the Greats? This was prompted by seeing someone’s list of the current greatest rappers alive, with Kendrick Lamar on it.  Kendrick is fairly new to the scene as compared to the others on it, those considered veterans such as Nas, Eminem and Jay Z, but for someone, actually, a lot of people, he’s already there.

 

It got me thinking about his work.  He’s a decent rapper. He has the ability to be both ignorant and insightful, something many find difficult lately, or are simply too lazy to do.  But then, how can we consider him a Great?  I think it all boils down to the fact that we’ve grown accustomed to accepting what’s Less Than so when something’s mediocre, average and should be the bare necessity for any artist, to simple NOT be one-sided, we celebrate it like it’s the best thing ever. 

But that’s not the issue here.

One of the answers that I got to that question [I tweeted it] was “You have to die.”

 

You have to die for people to appreciate the true extent of your brilliance.

You have to no longer be able to create, for them to look back on your past work and see how amazing it is.

Isn’t that some shit?

People only see your excellence when they have to catch up and take all the time in the world analyzing it.

So, what I gathered from this is:

  • Most times, if you’re truly great, chances are, the majority won’t appreciate you, and if they do, it’s not immediate.
  • If you’re Great, you don’t create for the public. 
  • When you begin to create for the public, you have to sell out. Water it down. Come down to their level.

On death.

 

I understood the surface meaning, but then I thought of one of my favorite artists, The Weeknd.  He’s very much alive, well, in the physical sense, but what any fan can tell you is, Abel Tesfaye [The Weeknd] is far from alive internally.  

 

He is a man incapable of love, yet somewhat envious of those who can feel it.  We aren’t sure why he is as he is, we don’t know what happened to make the man switch off internally, but what we do know is, whereas he shuns the women who seek to love him romantically, he appreciates his fans, though he remains fully aware of the fact that they could leave at any moment.  It sounds like a sad existence doesn’t it? To most people it would. It’s easy to pity him because many of us feel our lives are only worth the love we receive.

I used to think so too. I understand why you may be shaking your hand as you “tsk tsk”, but let me tell you a little something about being an emotional person, and an artist..

Things hurt you in a deeper way than they would the average person.  Heartbreak stays with you, you force yourself to keep it on the surface, sometimes for inspiration, sometimes to feel like you have a colorful story, sometimes because you simply don’t know what to do with it.

I think to such people, every relationship, every interaction with a person, is a story in itself, and when it doesn’t end well, it’s a tragedy, not a simple end to a relationship.  

Everything is greater than it is. Nothing is ever what it is and to be honest, we don’t get over things.

You reach a point where you tire of constantly having to fix yourself and tell yourself this is simply Life. When you get tired of feeling like a mess who overreacts to everything. Of doubting your sanity, of wondering if there’s anything wrong with you because you can’t ever seem to find Peace.

And maybe, you decide to switch off. 

You decide your body can’t take the sleepless nights anymore.  Your heart can’t take the pressure and you can’t keep up with all this mess. You can’t constantly feel like you aren’t coping, and so you stop it.

Now, it’s not immediate.  It’s a gradual process. It’s constantly detaching yourself from anything that might take too much from you, anything you might feel the need to give yourself to.  It’s constantly saying “it doesn’t matter to me” until eventually, it doesn’t.  Until romance is just something to write about, but not feel.  Until intimacy is only for inspiration, not bonds.  Until you feel nothing more than what’s already within.  When things that used to make you want to help, or care, or intervene, are too far away for you to bother with.

 

I can’t tell you then you’ll feel “happy” or “fine”, but you’ll be within yourself and hopefully that’s a safer place than out here, for you. 

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We DO love them Ho’s

I love women.

I love strippers, housewives, prostitutes, nuns and ho’s.  I want the best for them all, whether that means going to med school or being a porn star til you make enough to retire. I respect them, I adore them, I admire them.

But this does not stop me from screaming out “Bitches ain’t shit but ho’s and tricks” when the track comes on..Yes, I do want a big booty ho for my birthday and Juicy J gets me hype as hell.

Now anyone who listens to Hip Hop would understand why it’s considered ideal for misogynists.  The lyrics are mostly derogatory towards women, or rather, “bitches”.

“I just fuck her, let you love her.” -King Louie

“I don’t respect no brain unless we talkin’ that saliva spit,
Ho I got a lot of bread, lot of whips, lot of chicks,
You can be demolished then be gone without acknowledgement..” -Wale

“I never met a bitch that didn’t need a little guidance..” – Pusha T

“You see, me and my homies like to play this game
We call it Amtrak but some call it the train
We all would line up in a single-file line
And take our turns at waxing girls’ behinds..” – 2 Live Crew

Bitches are, mainly, sex objects, This is made apparent not only by the lyrics, but by the music videos too. Attractive women are recruited to play out the fantasies the lyrics sold in the first place. Lesbian scenes to excite the masses, scantily clad females shaking ass and looking like they enjoy it. They feed into our fantasies while still making us uncomfortable, because we know..That’s someone’s sister. Someone’s mother maybe. Definitely someone’s daughter. And these men saying these things, are of our ethnicity. They are of our tribe and this is not some random man from afar calling you a Nappy Headed Ho, it’s someone with equally nappy hair.

As my politically correct side and my ratchet side collided, I began to make up excuses in my head of why I should in fact continue listening to these men who tell me to “bus’ this pussy open” and how, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. My PC side reminded me that I am a Black woman and by being a part of this, I’m allowing them to continue the breakdown of Black women and spread misogyny and patriarchy.

It was a tough call.

As I sat I thought..

Black men can’t REALLY hate us. I mean, on the surface it looks like it, but do they really?

They verbally abuse and degrade these women on a grand scale. Granted, the women place themselves in these situations but as they themselves often say. “A bitch gotta eat.”

Looking at these men, most are married to or in relationships with Black women. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Dr Luke, Wiz Khalifa.. Despite their “Bitches ain’t shit” crap, they have stable homes with the very women we’d expect them to be shunning.

On that note, we get to the ‘Ho’s.  Strippers are big right now. No rap video worth it’s salt doesn’t have at least 5 of them twerking, gyrating and doing splits. You’d think after the video shoots these women would be discarded,no? These are the ones society would consider the true Ho’s,I mean, they take off their clothes for money. Nope. Wrong.

Wiz Khalifa is currently expecting a child with Amber Rose, a former stripper who was previously with Kanye West and has been linked to Fabolous and Chris Brown among others. Kanye West himself is now expecting a baby with self made Millionaire Kim Kardashian who shot to fame after her sex tape with Ray J leaked. Tyga has a child with Blac Chyna, a former stripper. Drake doesn’t hide his adoration for them, and has been linked to Maliah Michel, Kyra Chaos and Bria Myles, a video vixen. Lil Wayne has been quoted as saying Karrine Steffans AKA SupaHead is the love of his life and supposedly wrote his song Prostitute about her.

These are the bitches and ho’s they supposedly don’t care about.  They are the women they’re looking after and loving. Rappers go to strip clubs and spend thousands and we think they’re treating these women like objects, which may be true but in the grand scheme of things, these women take home this money to feed their kids. They pay their bills and build lives by what they get from these men who supposedly hate them.

These Black men who, granted, on a public forum don’t really do much praising, are, in action helping out, providing for and supporting these Black women. Wale went and placed one of the female characters in Ambitious Girl as a stripper.

I had to look beyond the blatant bullshit and wonder, are these men really just doing this to eat? I mean, we all know, it’s hard for the darker race over there. You have to be a puppet to survive..Is that what’s up? And if so, maybe, as Wayne said, I can “pop my pussy for a real nigga” and it won’t be that much of an issue. Because he doesn’t REALLY think I’m nothing but a “big booty ho”. When the song’s done,I’ll go back to being an attractive, intelligent female. It could be pipe dreams. But at the same time, there’s always more than meets the eye.

[On that note, I suggest you check out this 4 part documentary on Strippers [Power of Pussy] here. It looks at the challenges they face and the misconceptions they seek to clear up. There’s lots of ass and beautiful women in there too. Enjoy]

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