I started out at HYPE as a casual freelancer in 2010 when I was 19. Over time I made my way up as a columnist and album reviewer while folding golfer T-shirts at Aca Joe and waitering at Mimmos to pay for my varsity fees. I idolized Mizi and TTP hooked me up with Simma, who saw something in me and I became an understudy. My passion and work ethic rewarded me in the form of multiple other opportunities, and I worked my way to project manager, creative director and eventually editor, exactly this time last year. Not ever being one to stay at the same place for too long, the time has come for me to move on to my next inquisition. This would normally be the part where I write some long, drawn-out goodbye message riddled with emotional triggers and false sincerity, but I won’t do that because I hope that my tireless efforts to contribute positively to the culture over the past seven years have done that in some way already. Instead, I will leave you with some jewels I picked up during my time here and random information that I feel correctly sums up my experiences with the most monumental entity in SA hip hop history. Here goes.
A few years back I pocket-dialled the great Amunishn at around seven in the morning. And knowing that the guy has never been a big fan of me or my work despite the fact that I have mad respect for the big homie, I panicked and pretended to be an insurance salesman. He hung up the phone promptly. * Cassper Nyovest once seriously promised me that if my car ever broke down at three in the morning and I was stranded, I could give him a call and he would help. I have not had the opportunity to make that call yet, but considering that my whip is a ticking time bomb, it is bound to happen. * So all these years, none of you guys figured out that our resident writer Derf Ebmeyak, is Fred Kayembe spelled backwards, huh? * Spaceboy P and Irve the Perve may or may not be the same person. And that person might be me. Might be. * After a long conversation that was supposed to be an interview, Kid Cudi legit invited me to kick it with him at the Kruger National Park and spark up a blunt a day before his concert back in 2012, but his hater-a*s manager blocked me because he was “concerned” about Cudi’s safety. * Don’t sleep on @ByLwansta and BETR Gang. * I met Flabba (RIP) for the first time the day before he passed. * In 2012 after I got smoked by a room full of rappers at the Siz n Scoop show following the controversy of the 50 Emcees List in the 2012 Aug/Sept issue, I quit the next day. Tumi, who I had never had more than a two-word exchange with at the time, emailed me while in Argentina saying: “Keep your head up, young blood. They’re not mad at you; they’re made at the game.” That message, along with a lot of throwback Michael Jordan footage in my week of unemployment, got me back on my feet. * Re-runs of The Office and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air got me through many late nights and early mornings. * Sometimes when you get that overwhelming feeling inside like you’re in love, it’s really just indigestion from the shawarma you ate at lunch. * Thank you to every single person for the support on the vision myself and the team had for the HYPE brand. * Real talk, Maggz once seriously cussed me out for thirty minutes at a SAMAs after party; that was the moment I knew I’d arrived. (Because you’re not influential until you don’t get jumped, cussed at or at least shaded by someone cool). Him and I are cool, by the way. * It was tough most times and we were mostly unpopular but you guys believed and I consider the little that we did a victory. * Mashaybhuqe KaMamba gives me the same feeling I got when I first heard Pusha T. You know, that feeling you get when you attend a church sermon and the pastor’s words gets your chest all clogged up, your neck hairs standing and you feel possessed the message? Yeah, that. Don’t sleep on him because he doesn’t fit into the box we’ve created for ourselves in this genre. * Da L.e.s changed the game more than most of us would like to admit. * Honesty and popularity do not go together. Be prepared to be stoned if you plan to stand for what you believe in. * Ignorance rivals nitrogen as the most abundant substance in the atmosphere. * The thing Nasty C, which he references in the ‘Juice Back’ remix… one day I’ll tell you. * I cried like a little b*tch when I stood at the foot of the stage to watch Nas run through his rehearsal for the South African leg of his Illmatic tour. Shout out to Ramona. * There is no “real hip hop”; let it go. Someone needs to create a time machine, load all of you “Hip hop hasn’t been the same since…” folk into it and send you back to 1993 where you can cypher in your oversized hoodies and Timbs, and duck bullets from spontaneous drive-by’s for all of eternity. * On the shoot for AKA’s 2014 Feb/Mar cover, he downed a fifth of gin at 9am in the morning to “begin the day” and then he proceeded to murder the shoot in the most professional manner. * Being a boss is more about taking responsibility than accepting praise. * “I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers” – Ralph Nader. Never ever try to block out the new wave. * Please show love to the new Editor of HYPE, who simply goes by Roo. I met him three years ago as a media student in varsity, and since the day I met him his zeal for learning and passion for the culture have surprised and impressed me in a way that I have never experienced before.
In short: thank you.
Fred ‘The Freditor’ Kayembe