Probably one of the most anticipated acts to come out of PTA, Kevin aka King Izzy is an aspiring award winning Cap City sound engineer & rapper who’s just signed a record deal with Forest Global Network that see him getting closer to his goals of reaching out to the whole continent. Having worked with the likes of FloydBest, Son of a Lion Percy Mukwevho, Reverb360 & international acts such as Major, Dria & PrinxMikul, he’s one musician with a master plan. HYPE got chatting with King Izzy to discuss his entry into the game, his definition of rap & his Genesis album that’s currently in the works.
How did this whole music thing start out for you? Take us through your Journey…Who is the real King Izzy?
I’m a young man who is actually of Royal Blood, from a big family – brother of 2 little sisters and 1 little brother. Born in Tshakhuma in Venda, but raised in Pretoria, I began my musical journey at the age of 14. I began professionally at the age of 17 and got signed only this year by the age of 22. My love for music began from the time I accompanied my mom to her church choir practices, so I’m guessing the musical gift is genetic.
What does hip hop mean to you?
Hip hop is more than a genre, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a culture, and it denotes the practice of our struggles in words. To me it means art, poetry, stories, uplifting & so forth…
You just recently got signed to Deep Forest SA. How did that deal come about and has this increased your career in anyway? As the common trend these days is to go independent…was being signed to a label part of your plan?
I’m currently signed to Forest Global Network which is a division of Deep Forest. The signing came about when Darque (CEO/Founder) heard my music online. He loved my work, wanted to meet up and offered me the contract. Getting signed was part of my plan of course, because with that signing I now have a team and everyone plays a specific role, roles which I would not be able to play all by myself. And I believe being signed helped me to grow as an artist because I now see the industry in a perspective I couldn’t see before. The trend is to go independent these days, but I feel that if you do you either need to have a lot of connections in the music industry, connections with people who can pull strings quickly or you need to be very financially stable, which I’m currently neither.
You have worked with an impressive number of local artists & even managed to score a couple of international collabs. What’s your opinion on our local culture? Are we so focused on ourselves that we forget to view rap through a global eye?
Yes, I feel that South African music will always be restricted to a certain barrier looking at the fact that we are not versatile in our music, while artist’s from Nigeria, for instance, are very versatile. As much as they have their own “Local Style/Culture”, they work with a lot of international acts which helps their recognition and fanbase grow worldwide. I’m glad though, that South African artists are beginning to see the Nigerian, American, South African industry as one. Mafikizolo and L-Tido are leading the way thus far.
Which local artist would you say is really taking SA Hip Hop to greater heights today?
Your an aspiring Cap City award winning sound engineer & rapper, what’s your opinion on the constant cliché comparisons between Cap City & J-Sec’s Hip Hop scenes?
I honestly for one, feel that Cap City has the most talent musically, while J-Sec has minor talent but a lot of media coverage. J-Sec is the home of entertainment, it’s like our very own Hollywood. Starting from your SABC studio’s, your big record labels, your radio stations – and yes J-Sec has talent too, but most of those artists do not reside there, they move there from other cities or provinces for quicker recognition. For example, it’s easier for someone who resides in Joburg to make it than someone who resides in MP.
You got a debut album coming called Genesis. Could you shed some light on the project for us…
The word Genesis says it all, it means “The Beginning”. What inspired me to name this album Genesis is the fact that I’m a God believer, and I also feel that this album will be the beginning of me writing a history, the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I honestly cannot say much about the album right now, because I recently just began crafting it, but what I can say is that there will be a number of amazing acts on it and South Africa is not ready for this one.
What have been the challenges & highlights of your musical career so far?
I’m on my musical career birth right now, I feel that there isn’t much to tell, but one historical moment was when I heard my name being called up for the 2012 “Best Solo Artist” at the Hall Of Fame Awards, and the day I met Jaguar Paw and Darque (the main man himself). I think one of the challenges I’ve came across in my career was finding my own sound. It’s not easy finding your sound, but as an artist you need to have a signature sound or style. People want uniqueness not a Lil Wayne or a Kendrick duplicate.
Any advice you could give to other upcoming artists that are also doing what you doing?
Well, 3 quick pointers. One: Be yourself like I said, find your sound & be unique. Two: Don’t sit back and expect a record deal or success to fall from heaven, you need to work hard. Three: Pray, trust and have faith in God. Play your part, grind, work with determination and be eager to be the best in everything you do. Pray, believe and he’ll play his part too.
One word that best describes King Izzy?
Written by: Rudzani “@Roo_AT” Netshiheni