Raheem Kemet has been a pillar in the Durban underground hip hop scene for over a decade. Kemet is an emcee, singer, poet and beatboxer and is as eclectic as his influences – which range from heavy metal to Nina Simone. He has been a part of numerous bands and collectives over the years and shared stages with the likes of Tumi, Die Antwoord, Sage Francis and Madala Kunene, to name a few.
Kemet got signed to Sony Africa this July and will soon be getting his under-appreciated, conscious word wizardry out to more of Mzansi. So if you haven't yet heard of Raheem Kemet – keep your ear to the (under)ground for some of the most potent hip hop to leak out of Poison City…
Axecess: What does it feel like to officially have a Sony record deal and what's next on the cards?
Raheem Kemet: The Sony deal is still sinking in. I'll think it'll only really sink in when I start hearing my stuff flowing through the mainstream. I'm in a rock and a hard place about what I'm going to put out in terms of an EP or an album. But right now I want to gig a lot and collaborate with the right people. I know there are big things coming!
Q: When people hear their favourite underground artist just got signed to a big record label there's often a worry that they're gonna 'sell-out.' Do you think being signed to Sony is going to change the intention of your work?
A: Nah. I'm making music for the people and I'm not gonna dumb down my message. Like Kendric Lamar is super mainstream, but his message is still strong. There's a lot of different sounds and ideas that I've been toying with that I think people are gonna like… but right now I'm just taking it one step at a time.
Q: How do you define success? What makes you say 'wow, I've succeeded'… do you ever reach that point?
A: I don't need a mansion or a Lamborghini (well, a Lambo would be nice!) – but success to me is being able to look after my family, have people still listening to my music, travelling and growing. That's true success for me – being content. Having the basic things and the room to keep evolving…
Download Raheem Kemet's latest Wind EP for free and keep an eye out for his upcoming Sony releases!