The South African hip-hop artiste behind Caracara was in the country headlining Nairobi HipHop Rapsody. The multi award-winning Cashtime Life artiste was also a guest at the just-concluded Storymoja Festival. Ntokozo Mdluli aka KO speaks to Cheptoek Boyo about his musical journey
You rose to prominence with the group Teargas after releasing their critically acclaimed debut album K’shubile K’bovu. What’s the story and can we expect a comeback of the group?
We formed the trio when we realised getting into music would be a lot easier as a group as opposed to kickstarting solo careers. We put together different projects and formed the group.
The idea behind it was to make a name for ourselves and get enough finances then we each do our own thing.
After four successful albums and numerous accolades, we decided last year to begin our solo careers just to find a way to make the group more exciting. And yes, we are in talks to see if we can put an album together in the future.
You are currently on an East Africa tour. What brought it on?
I think we put ourselves in a box, sometimes without even realising it. I wanted to create new relations. I could have easily gone to Nigeria. That’s what everybody does. I chose East Africa because the collaborations that I have with Nigerians haven’t created that much buzz.
However, with Tanzania’s Vanessa Mdee’s record, I am getting a lot of recognition. It made sense for me to tour EA and engage with people as I cement my name in the region. The next stop will be West Africa because I have worked with Wizkid.
Your single Caracara got over two million views on YouTube. What was the inspiration behind it?
When I wrote that song my purpose was to break away from the usual style of rapping that people know from my work with Teargas. The dance itself was inspired by an old dance move in the townships in early 80s.
You manage your record label Cashtime Live. How did you start running your own recording label?
Cashtime Live was my vision and brainchild during the whole Teargas situation. I saw myself as someone who could make the decision from just being a normal artiste to an entrepreneur.
But as much as I wanted to do all that stuff, at heart I’m just an artiste and that’s when I decided I’m going to need extra hands. I brought in my manager Thabiso as the CEO of the company. At the moment, we’re among the top three hip-hop labels in Africa.
Two of the two former Teargas members have been featured on different soap operas. Any chance we may see your acting skills put to the test?
I am not an actor. I have been offered a couple of roles but I always turn them down.
Which South African artistes will you like to work with?
Black Coffee, Hugh Masekela and Thandiswa Mazwa.
Are you single, married or dating?
I’m single. I’m I looking? No. At the moment, I’m just taking my time.