Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poltergeist says yo...

From a purely artistic perspective, Poltergeist has gone through change. It is perhaps fitting, since he studies and, by extension, lives in the United States of Amerika - New York to be exact. He seems - or 'sounds' - to have immersed himself in the lifestyle, taking everything in stride, and becoming comfortable with the nuances of a first-world society in the process.


We support change; change is good, and is what artists need to go through in order to stay relevant. Artistic evolution, the lack thereof, is perhaps the worst injustice one can commit upon oneself. We were elated when Poltergeist sent us a batch of songs early last week, not in the least because of our appreciation for good music, but also because of our keen-natured selves. We wanted to hear just how much New York had influenced one of the emcees we revere and have respect for.

Poltergeist has always been a strong emcee in terms of concepts. What lacked was an engaging sense of delivery, the type which keeps the listener in tandem with the mood of the song, prohibiting that listener from veering too far off into the music to not get what the overall track is about. On 'Let you free', Poltergeist waxes lyrical about love gone wrong, a common theme among all who are old enough to have got their heart broken. And therein lies his strength; he is able to take the layman's experience, blow it into super-sized, non-pixelated frames, and project it on top of sonic soundscapes which help weave the narrative together.


His choice of beats is not bad either. Though he veers off into what has been, until now, unfamiliar territory for him (as witnessed on the bounce-heavy 'Wake up'), Po's heart still lies with soul-inspired beats. He does not forsake that which he loves, opting rather to take what he learnt from hanging out with his kin-folk in Maseru, Lesotho, and fuse it with what New York has to offer. The results are nothing short of astonishing, as the sample of songs we have received attests.


Poltergeist is preparing to release a mixtape in the near future. In the interim, do quell your anxiety by downloading the songs below. The file includes two other tracks from the archives, one of which was produced by our friend Phil the Kritik.

[Poltergeist at a Poetry Farm-organised event, circa '08]

Link: Poltergeist [approx. 30Mb]

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

They won't play our songs

Peace to all! We were taken by surprise by this article, and asked our good friend Core Wreckah to share his sentiments. Ever the reliable one, he had this to say:


Back in 2005, my good friend Tello Leballo (alias Dallas T) let me in on a little secret: the government was going to launch a commercial radio station geared mainly towards the youth. The details were sketchy then, but the gist of it was that the station would have local musicians' interests at heart. These 'interests' included affording artists the platform for their music to get regular airplay. Prior to that time, only a handful of people had supported our music - and by 'ours', I refer specifically to hip-hop artists. PC FM had the Refiloe Mohlotsane (alias Denver Queen), and - sometimes - Rethabile Phakisi (who has since got married, but still goes by the name Zipompi).

Ultimate FM, as the radio station was christened, was perhaps - for lack of a better expression - a welcome breath of fresh air. PC FM, which had been in operation since '98, was starting to become disillusioned, and lost its core fan base round about the 2005/2005 period. However, since I have no statistical evidence to support my argument, I shall not dwell on that station and its vagaries.

I had the opportunity to work on some production for Ultimate FM, and still remember how there was some bickering about their pay-off line. However, they did finally nail it - 'The heartbeat of the Kingdom' - and I got to make jingles for Dallas T as well as Pearl Ocansey (alias Miss P).


I was actually supposed to have a show on Ultimate FM, but unbeknown to me, someone else had already been selected. That person, Tlali Mapetla (alias Mr. Maps) hosted a rather successful show which went by the name 'Backdoor Sessions'. I still have recordings of some shows; a couple of my rapper and producer friends were guests. Actually, M[uzi]k (sp) was the first guest, along with Khotso Thahane. Moekoa Thahane (alias DJ Macs) took over the reigns from Maps at some point.

The Backdoor Sessions wasn't the only show which promoted Lesotho-based music content. Miss P through her 'Unplugged' slot did the same, along with Dallas T, Diboza, Deeva, and a host of others. What I am trying to demonstrate is that the very backbone of that radio station was based on establishing and nourishing a culture of appreciation for that which is brewed in Lesotho. And for a while, it worked.

But, like everything else, the cookie crumbled. Bit-by-bit, the Ultimate Fm became more an ugly reflection of its former self than the glorious, gallant - not to mention tastefully alternative - broadcaster it once was. Everytime I came home (I am only based in Lesotho for three months of the year) there had been a deejay who had quite, a station manager who had been replaced, and, as can be read here, an entire radio station shut down.

I benefitted a lot from the glory days of Ultimate FM. My song 'Nuff shout' was played by Miss P on a regular basis. At one point, I had a slot on Dallas T's show every Monday called the Artist Feature. I could have promoted mine and my friends' music on it, but it drove me to share myself and put others on. It also helped me to realise that a lot is wrong with Lesotho-based rappers, but I will not really go into specifics. I have built very strong links with the likes of my good friends Mighty Records, Papa Zee - whom I regard as a pioneer, Isosceles, and a host of others.


So, earlier this week, T-Mech got in touch on facebook regarding this article. I was not surprised per se, rather disgusted at the arrogance and facetious hypocrisy of the manager at Ultimate FM. I actually want to get an interview with the dude, just to ask him about the general direction (or lack thereof) of the radio station nowadays, and demonstrate to him just how much of a moron he is while I'm at it. And as for their decision not to play our music, well, fuckum!

NB: Core asked us to note that this is not as much a thorough examination of the matter as it is an off-the-cuff, first-time reaction. Perhaps he shall be kind enough to offer a more analytical piece. By the way, do feast your eyes on this performance. Respect!

Nuff shout to Georgia and DJ Big Dre for the images

[Core Wreckah + Deney + Al = Three Piece Suit]

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