Cypher, a space created for freestyle rap on UCT grounds, first caught my attention when it showed off one its best rappers, Motheo Moleko. He is a student but exceeds most with his star quality and appropriate exploding confidence. “You can become the best. You just have to want it“, says Motheo, and he wants it.

Motheo was raised by a single parent, a circumstance brought about by a car crash that killed his father. His was raised in a Suburban area, contrasting the stereotype, striking a perfect balance between kicking a ball and playing TV games and listening to music.

It all began with a cluster of teenage boys recording music on simple software but here the rest faded, Motheo had found his passion. Following that was a confirmatory experience with Eminem’s song, “The way I am”. He was an angry teenager and found rapping to be an interesting outlet. He rapped to Eminem’s songs before starting his distinctive artistry. His own stuff was, he admits, “atrociously bad” at first. He got good after two years of practice.

I found it refreshing that someone of this calibre still wrestles with thoughts of not being good enough. This catapulted into “bad ambition” as he puts it, where he stopped rapping for two years. I agree with him that the world doesn’t need just another rapper. You should, he suggests, either meet up to his shortlist of musical genius’ including Eminem, JayZ and Kanye West or become nothing. What is important is to avoid influenced to the point of becoming a carbon copy, using his phrase here “[don’t] eat out of the same pot [you] shit into”. His goal isn’t to be mimic their style but rather to have that kind of reach and how they translate their stories.

Admittingly, although not apologetically, he describes his ego as being mega yet not intrusive. He regards everyone as equals, but says that some are for the background, others are frontmen. He is a frontman. Validating this he states that he is more compelling than most in both approach and personality. Drawing on a the example that, at times, drives him to the point of depression, where he gets annoyed when people don’t recognize him when he enters airport terminals, he consoles himself in the fact that he isn’t like everyone else there. With a thought pattern being that “some people should be known by a lot of people … and remembered by history” to propel him, he is armed to make his mark.

 

On talking about his current involvement with Jeremy Loops, bringing rap to folk, he expresses his concern. The fear is that Motheo would be associated solely with this act, giving people less of a chance of connecting with his work once he becomes established. He says with bare vulnerability that making that happen “is the scary depressing part”.

“Half Past Desperate” is his own project that will be released as mixed tape or album. It is a narrative about, as the name suggests, the urgency in getting his name out there. The albums theme around time becomes prevalent here as rap is believed to be a game for the young and considering his age, 26, he is running out of time. Valuing his judgment I got giddy with excitement when he said that he expects it to be “off the map”.

What illuminates him is his forthcoming approach in becoming a “world famous super talented amazing musician”. He works hard at his, opposing passivity. He accredits his talent to diligence, not divine intervention.

Creatively speaking he uses the process of trial and error. Initially he would sit and write but he realizes that inspiration isn’t limited to time and space. He plays with words and patterns until it makes sense. With content he uses his experiences saying that “there is always a story”. He desires to have an all-inclusive audience just connecting with people. A lot of people. The difficulty comes in connecting with them musically: lots hear, but few listen.

He confesses that he is far from where he wants to be but channels this to push himself. He stands by his unwavering faith in humanity that “what’s really good will do really well”.

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