God Level

Verbalz: HYPE

Visualz: XIXXCIV

Illustration: OHYESLORD

Success has never been an obvious thing. What you put in ideally results in what you get out of it all. Sounds so simple when you think about, but we all know it will never be that simple and easy executed. How wide can one stretch his or her influence? How high can one fly? We might not know the answers to those questions but one thing we do know is that Tweezy has probably broken those boundaries. Having basically already made himself a legend in the game, we doubt that there is one single soul out there that would deny the godliness that Tweezy portrays (and portrays well). When the whole frontline concept was thought out, debates began and arguments followed, but the obvious was stated. Tweezy is at the frontline of SA hip hop, fighting and building it up beat by beat and now hit by hit. We couldn’t sideline these facts and we couldn’t ignore the reach.

One of the most valuable moments of any artist, we think, is the starting line of the race. The beginning of the journey and the acceptance of the call. When you do consider how you started off, when was the moment that made you realize that you actually wanted to go down this route and build this super career?

This moment hit me close to the time when I was introduced to the software you know? 09/10 when I linked up with a couple of close friends and we formed a group called Ghetto Prophecy. At the time my passion was just music, listening to it and making it. Music was just my overall passion and the fact that now I was able to create it on my own and portray how I feel unto the music, that’s when I was like okay, you know what? This is the time to actually see where it takes me. Once the songs we made with Ghetto Prophecy started charting on Yfm, Metro and so forth…That’s when we felt like it was time we actually built careers out of this, release music videos and push the whole music brand.

Praises. Was it an easy journey though? What sort of set-backs did you face?

You know, I had a whole lot of set-backs and of course at the time I didn’t see them as set-backs, because all I cared about was making the music. I had challenges like school for instance, having to dedicate my time to school and also having to find a balance between controlling the school life with the music life. As well as the finance of the music, because obviously as much as there’s the music and everything, it’s also a business. You need to push your song and you need to get it to certain places. Another challenge was getting people at home to understand, because often at home when you’re in school, there’s nothing more important than school. Those were just some of the basic challenges but for me, personally, I never really saw challenges because when I see potential my eyes are just fixed to the potential. Anything else that’s on the side, I don’t see that.

Surely you must have had a moment when your dreams chances of being realized felt like they were fading away. So  during the difficulties of it all what kept you going?

Naturally or evenly, I’m a pessimistic person as much as I am an optimistic person. At a moment where I’m optimistic, pessimism is not existent and vice versa. So at times when I’m optimistic it’s very easy for me to just keep going and encourage myself. At the moment when I’m pessimistic, then I feel like this is not working out. At the time I was influenced by Jozi and Bongani Fassie is actually one of the guys that encouraged me to be a producer and I would listen to his production, when Maggz was coming out with The Breakout and L.E.S was coming out with Fresh2Def. I would listen to the mixing & mastering and then listen to mine. Eventually the efforts would slip and God would just bump me into some guy who ran a studio and everything. From there that’s when the juices came back and it was a constant cycle of being optimistic, being pessimistic and bumping into someone that influenced the optimistic side again.

Your journey seems so predestined and the momentum has clearly been in motion. When you started leaving footprints on the hip hop field, how did imagine yourself fitting in to it all?

Well judging from the fact that I’m an overall creative. I rap, I can (sort of) sing and I can produce, I just felt like coming in as an artist you need to have selling point. I felt like just coming in as a guy that raps is not selling point enough. So I really took some time to meditate and figure out my selling points, from analyzing from when we started Ghetto Prophecy and everything, one thing I noticed was that I have really strong beats. I figured I would rather collaborate with people that are already in the game, produce beats for them, ace that and touch the ceiling. And once my brand had been established as producer, I would start introducing myself as an overall brand.

“You don’t come into the game to be the 5th best rapper. You want to be the number one” – Tweezy

Word. So you focused on one skill set and mastered it. This was all strategic from the jump?

Yes, I was lucky enough to recognize that I couldn’t come through with everything because it would’ve been too overwhelming for the market and the consumer. But when you’re consistent with one product or one way of doing something, people can get used to that, people can glorify you for that and people can give you praise for that. At this point I feel like as a producer I’ve done what I needed to do in terms of hip hop and the only thing I need to do (in terms of hip hop) is to release albums. So now the next thing for me to do is to go international, break into other genres and also introduced myself as an artist. That’s the next step.

We mostly know you as a producer and now you embracing your entire artistry. So what kind of an artist are you hoping to develop into?

As an artist I feel like as a musician your sole purpose is to speak for the people and make sure that you and the people relate, because with music that’s the way we vent and that’s the way we express ourselves. Whenever we angry, we listen to angry joints to feel better and if we happy, we listen to turn-up music. So I feel like as a person from Soweto, I’m just trying to represent where I come from as well as to also speak for them and encourage them to do what they need to do in their lives. Ekasi we have people that have so much potential, we’ve got soccer players, we’ve got doctors and we’ve got everything and most of the time because we’ve got the unfortunate shadow of being unsuccessful and being unfortunate. We just dwell unto that instead of just fighting through and breaking out into being what we can be. I feel like it’s my responsibility as someone who’s achieving so well in the industry (lucky enough) to encourage the people that look up to me.

Let’s talk about that ‘Ambitions’ record. Big tune and it kind of feels like the song is bigger than you now…

Yes, pretty much

It’s a youth anthem that every young individual can relate to. Considering that this was an important step for you, were you nervous when you released the song?

I won’t lie, simultaneously when I was working on the God Level Eps my friends were just like “when are you going to come up with your own song” and now especially because in 2014 we had such a great year in hip hop and we had your AKAs, Casspers and your Rikys waving the flag high. I was just like If I’m going to do this I’m going to really do this thing, I can’t just second guess and just half step this thing. So when I was making ‘Ambitions’ I wasn’t really trying to make a song. The beat was made for Kid X, Smashis and Yunga. I noticed that they’re close friends with one another and I figured I could get a joint between these three guys and it needed to be a street anthem of some sort you know? And then half the time when I make beats I find myself lacing ideas as a producer to say okay this is the direction the song is going to go. After recording my homies were just like “Yo why don’t you just make it a song?” and then eventually I was at Cantare when I came up with the melody for the chorus. So as I was singing this melody I heard this beat and it was just telling me that this was my song. I immediately left Cantare, went home, laced this chorus and I just chilled for two days trying to come up with the right things to say, figuring out what the song is about and what I was trying to say in the song.

Would you say that you kind of stepped on some toes when you came in with ‘Ambitions’?

Whenever you have a good product and whenever you are doing a good thing, not everyone is going to be happy for you. You even measure how well you doing by the amount of toes you step on. You don’t step on toes because you trying to step on toes. You stepping on toes because you’re trying to walk on somewhere people have placed they’re feet on.

Interesting. Do you think everybody is (was) happy for you?

Yeah, I mean I was just trying to do my thing and the majority of the people are just like “Yo we see you” and of course there are other people who are just like “Yo what are you doing? We don’t see you” and have a problem with it. But I’m not in the game for that, I’m just in the game to do my thing. I find myself caught up in so many controversies, so many problems and whatever. I don’t even have the time to respond to any of that. My goal is to represent where I’m coming from and to execute my own product because at the end of the day it’s about me.

” Whenever you have a good product and whenever you are doing a good thing, not everyone is going to be happy for you” – Tweezy

Word. Are you competing with anyone right now?

Hip hop is a competitive sport. I’m not trying to compete with anybody but with trying to be the best, automatically you’re competing with everyone.

True, but I mean it’s not hard to imagine that at the rate you’re moving at right now, eventually you going to face off with likes of AKA for example and all these guys that you have been working with.

I mean as an artist, especially in hip hop, competition is everything. You don’t come into the game to be the 5th best rapper. You want to be the number one. Obviously to reach the levels of Cassper Nyovest and Riky Rick, you need to push yourself to be in the same standard as them.

Preach. When you analyze the standard of our hip hop culture right now, would you say that we at healthy stage? Or do you think that there are still certain issues that need to be resolved before we reach that Promised Land?

Funny enough we always speak about this amongst ourselves. It’s a blessing and a curse that hip hop is so competitive, because blessing in the sense of everyone wanting to be the best results in greater products being produced out of that. Curse, because there are too many egos that lash amongst one another. Between ourselves, there are a whole lot of egos being thrown around and instead of uniting/creating one big force that moves for the people, we just have too many egos and we eventually dilute ourselves out.

So how did that whole Dreamteam deal come about then?

S/O to Dreamteam, they came through at a time when I was in a desperate need in terms of resources, knowledge and in terms of mentorship. I feel like as much as I’ve got all these ideas, you need someone who is going to mentor you into making the right decisions. I was at a point where I was doing things independently, as much as I was moving at a very cool pace for myself, some of the things I was doing wrong. When the whole #ProducersMustRise campaign took off, yes it sparked some interest and everything, but I learnt there was a certain way to do it.

It was an impulse thing?

It was an impulse thing for me because above all things we human. So as much as you’ll have something to think about and try say things in the smartest way (in way where you won’t step on anyone’s toes), when you feel like you’ve been taken advantage off then you never care about any feelings, whether it’s yourself or anybody else. Fortunately Dreamteam reached out and told me that they saw the vision & see where we can go with the brand and the movement in terms of the long run. They just want to be involved in helping me where I need help and just grooming me into that successful brand that I’m trying to build for myself.

When you look at your career from a birds eye view. What sort of overall impact does Tweezy want to have on the game?

Above all things, I want to be a source of inspiration. I want to change lives. Money is not really a thing for me and this is not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this out of my own passion for music and I’ve got a passion for seeing somebody else succeed. That’s why I even pray I never hate on anyone’s success, because I find a source of inspiration and something to learn from that success.