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Zubz: interview
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An interview with Zubz by Rage - © 2004/5

Who is Zubz?
Zubz is 1/9th of the Origins Band. An artiste on Outrageous Records known for his incredible and inspired lyrical commentary. An MC of the highest caliber, with exceptional producer and song-writing ability, Zubz is Hip Hop's alternative to the current status quo.

How did it all start?
From simple limerick and rhyme in primary school and a heavy Hip Hop influence in the mid-eighties, the path to MCing was carved. I didn't realize it then, but as time moved on and I found myself being drawn ever closer to rhyming, I knew it had to be. I must have been, like, 12 when I wrote my first verse...

What inspires the lyrical content in your music?
I never pre-plan the wordings or flows of any track. Sometimes the theme is predetermined, but the outcome is never from me. That's why I believe all my rhymes are inspired by the highest power. God. Straight up. The beats (usually from Battlekat) move me, get me into a receptive mind-state and from there, I link up with the source of all creative drive... Songs, beautiful songs, are born

Who is your favourite hip hop artist and why?
That would have to be me! Right now all I'm listening to is my album! Sounds like I'm bragging, but it's true. A lot of MC's influenced me, I listen to them all the time still. Rakim, Black Thought, Eminem, BIG, Masta Ace, mostly those cats. I listen to plenty of Nas and Mad Skillz too! I guess it's cos of their lyrical appeal. They don't hold back when letting it rip, lyrically. They say things like no one else ever could. Their rhyme patterns too are very precise. I like that: symmetry in rhyme pattern...

What does Hip Hop Mean to you?
Expression. Communication. Love. Art. Hip Hop means all these things to me. One thing I don't subscribe to is the notion that it is a way of life. I think it is rather an ordered pattern defining, or characterizing a way of life.

What do you think about Local hip hop versus American hip hop?
I don't believe in local hip hop. I think the term needs to re-visited. I believe in South African hip hop. Zimbabwean hip hop. African hip hop. I believe in the spirit of the music. It's soul. There's no such thing as a “local” soul. I hate the debate that rages on between “local” and “American”. It's based on arguments based on little to do with the music, or artform, or culture, but on personal agendas aimed at propagating subjective opinion.

Do you think there's American influence in SA Hip Hop?
I think there's American influence on the planet Earth! The reality of it all is that America has positioned itself in such a way that just about everything ( especially media related) world wide is heavily influenced by that nation. Our clothes, food, speech, perspectives, beliefs, music, religion... SA Hip Hop is not immune to that hold.

What do you think your contribution to society is through your music?
My role musically, to be honest, is facilitating. That's really all that I do. I'm like the medium. I just bring feelings, moods, ideas, thoughts. I plant seed. The rest is up to whoever's listening. Their interpretation, how they receive it. What they choose to hear, or not hear, and what they decide to do about it. So in essence, through my music, I contribute myself. My thoughts, my voice, my talents... me.

What's the title of your CD and why?
The Album's called “Listeners Digest” because of a number of reasons. Mainly because it's for the listener as opposed to the feeler or the dancer/groover. As such, it could be a little heavy on some, but pretty intense for others. The album title's also molded off the Readers Digest concept. I've condensed quite a lot into 75mins. What most people will find themselves doing, is listening to this album over a long period of time. Picking up different things with each listen. Selecting certain tracks to play at certain periods of their lives. Just as most wouldn't read the Readers from cover to cover at one go, most wouldn't listen to Listeners from start to finish at one go...

How Many tracks?
19 full songs and one remix...

Who did you work with on this album?
My peoples from Outrageous, mainly. Pebbles, Battlekat, H20, Pro-Verb, Golden Shovel. I had the production skills of Hoodlum, Beatmaker, Pops Muhamed, Helio, Denon, Edson and others. I have special appearances from Lois of Afro Z, Tumi of the Volume, Trinity's Kaydo, Nabunya, Tumelo of Optical Illusion, Mawe-2, Palesa, Kgantsho as well as instrumentation from Louis Mhlanga and The Origins band. Musically, Tongogara (Battlekat) co-ordinated everything as well as mixed and engineered 98% of the album. I've been blessed. I got to work with the dopest people for my debut!

What are your future plans?
I plan for very little as far as the near future goes: just to respond to however Listeners does and react off that. My medium to long term plans are obviously to do another mixtape and have a full repertoire of songs for my sophomore album. That's good enough for now.

How important was it for you to release “The Last Letta” mixtape for free and what was the response like?
It wasn't a life or death to drop that collection of songs, that's one of the reasons why it was free. It became one of the best moves ever, cos not only did it expand my fan base, feed my existing fan base as well as keep people up to speed with what I was about, the mixtape also kept me relevant on the street and on radio. It gave me a decent reflection of how to approach Listeners, as well as preparing my immediate environment for what I've put together on the new project. The mixtape did much better than we thought it would. We must have moved over 1500 discs on our own at the Outrageous office in 30days alone!! Assuming those experienced a prudent and conservative exponential growth rate, you're looking at 2 250 000 in a month!!! That's a lot of Last Letters floating around out there!...Maybe I should-a charged!

Also have a look at Zubz' biography here.
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