Like most hip-hoppers, South African musician FlexBoogie has big dreams. The difference is he’s in no rush. Nor is he afraid of being caught in the shadow of giants like AKA and Cassper Nyovest. Flex says these artists have paved the way for others to follow.
He has a visual production broadcasting company and record label, BecauseBlack, he has just released his latest single, On Road, in preparation for his debut album, and he’s got a book titled 200 Truths About Love in the pipeline. Music In Africa asked him about his further plans for global domination.
Tell us about your latest release On Road: what's it about?
The song On Road is about me getting a few things clear about my life, my artistry, but also an homage to my days running the streets in South Africa, London and Tottenham, carving a name for myself on stage and facing obstacles throughout. A callous warning almost to not be messed with. Mountains will be moved on my way in and up. It's started. #Powers
Who did you work with on the track and how did the collaboration come about?
I featured PdotO on the track and it was produced by V the Vowel. I chose to work with P because 1: I've always been featured on his songs but I didn't have a song with him and 2: because he's just an amazing lyricist who gave the song pace and stood out in the midst of V's production magic. Overall the song is a movie, if you visualize what we're both describing. I love it.
Is it part of a bigger project/EP/album?
On Road is part of my debut album Powers. An entry into the mired, troubled and heavily blessed and favoured life and times of FlexBoogie.
What has the response been to On Road in terms of sales, downloads, views etc?
The response has been okay. I don't mind the masses not paying attention to me right now, there's a lot of noise but good music stands the test of time. It's going to catch fire. I like that people/fans are heavily intrigued by the music. That's always a plus. The download numbers could climb higher and they will.
How are your other BecauseBlack ventures doing? What other projects are brewing?
BecauseBlack, yeah? What a blessing this company has become. We've got a few new advancements in the pipeline that I can't talk about freely as yet BUT they are game-changing for content creators. Let's get black creatives working, noticed, valued and celebrated, so they can get paid properly. That's all I can say for now.
Tell us more about your book 200 Truths About Love
200 Truths About Love has recently been picked up by Pelmo Books to get published and will hit the shelves in 2017, shortly before the album Powers comes out. I'm looking forward to people finally having this book and keeping it. The growth I've seen of the many women who have taken my work in is immeasurable and I'm proud to add that much in their lives. I pray it touches more people and I can't wait to meet those I know will love it on the book tour too.
What are your views on the state of hip-hop in South Africa? What's it like trying to carve out a niche for yourself when you've got huge acts like Cassper Nyovest, AKA, Nasty C and others grabbing most of the headlines?
I'm honestly not concerned with comparing my journey to others and joining the throng of complaining artists. The game is fair, according to how one plays it. I love it. I love that change is coming and I love how guys like Cass have shifted the business paradigm for the rest of us to capitalize on and make more chances, while creating greater opportunities for other artists to thrive. Let's win, man.
Hip-hop right now seems to be to South African music what kwaito was in the '90s. Does that mean there'll come a time when hip-hop fades? What do you do then?
The one mistake people should never make with hip-hop is consider it a passing trend. This is not just music, it's a whole culture I've seen change whole communities positively. You can't stop something like that. Hip-hop is for life and so, no, I don't think it will fade. It will always recreate itself. Always.
Which artist do you most admire and want to emulate?
Fam. I'm FlexBoogie. I am magic. I'm voodoo. I'm God-made. I want to be like no one and no one will ever be like me. In terms of admiration: Janelle Monae's whole Wondaland label and brand. That's Black Power. That's admirable.
What's next for FlexBoogie?
The Powers album. 200 Truths About Love . Dancing and advancing on My Throne. World stages. Wild-ass showcases on tour. And, of course, flying the BecauseBlack Co. banner all over Africa in 2017.