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Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

ETC Crew in da house

2008-01-17 09:02
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How would you describe your music?
Logical: It’s hip hop essentially, but not what hip hop has become which is glamourised and bubblegum flavour of the day stuff. It’s hip hop with longevity, it’s music that five years from now you will listen to.

Who are you listening to?

Johnny Filter: There are just so many, but I’d have to just say J Dilla, to me he’s just one of the illest producers of the world.
Bonsai Bush: Ja, definitely Madlib.
DJ White Nite: Peat Rock, Prome, all the legends, you caught me on the spot, I could write a billion, the real jazzy stuff.
Logical: From the lyrical side it’s The Roots, Big L. There’s just so many people, mostly people who came out of the ‘90s, A Tribe Called Quest, not really the new cats, you know, ‘cos they just rap about the same things and it’s pretty limited. It’s mostly stuff from the 90s and the 80s that really, really influence us and then obviously underground stuff that’s on the instrumental side.

What’s your view on Mzansi hip-hop?
Logical: South African hip hop is great now that we are here. We’ll leave it at that. (chuckles) There are some cool people out there who are talented but until ETC had arrived there was something lacking, so now that we are here it is complete.
DJ White Nite: It’s alright you know but a lot of people are too like dark underground backpacker you know, hoodie on the head, trying to be so evil and stuff. No one is happy anymore, you know what I mean. That’s what I think the problem is with South African hip hop and that’s what we’re trying to change.

What sets you apart from other rappers?

Logical: I don’t wanna give too much of my skill away, but um, just ‘cause of my influences and how I’ve been able to bring the MCs who’ve influenced me and put them together to the final product being myself. The way I’ve been able to do that sets me apart and how I can change my flow to accommodate whomever else is on the track with me, you know what I mean? So if you shine at this particular aspect of rhyming, I can accommodate them and I can stand toe-to-toe with them, you know what I mean. And of course, the vocabulary is exemplary. That kind of puts me on another level.

Who writes your lyrics? What inspires you to write?
Logical: I don’t believe that an MC can be an MC if you can’t write your own stuff you know? Like what’s the point then you’re just a mouth?. So, I write my own lyrics. There are a few tracks where we’ve all written the lyrics because that’s just the energy of the song or how the song went.

Read the CD review

-Tiisetso Tlelima
We caught up with Cape Town’s funky hip hop kids, ETC Crew at their video premiere. They give us the low down on their debut CD and what sets them apart from other rappers.

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