Some Say, Hip Hop as a genre is dead but it seems to be thriving in different parts of Africa. Though, somewhat different because African Hip Hop merges cultures, languages and our tonality to what is considered normative. Hip Hop as an industry is doing quite well in countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leonne, Zimbabwe etc but often times we do not hear about other countries in which Hip Hop is a strong emerging genre. This month we talk to an emerging Hip Hop artist Dalitso about his journey, his music and we learn a little bit more about Zambia.
Let's start with you, who is Dalitso and what does that word mean?
Dalitso Tembo: Dalitso means 'Blessing' in English, some people love to call me 'Blessing' since it is one and the same.
On Hip Hop
Let’s talk about Hip /hop in Zambia - is Hip Hop music a recognized and respected genre in Zambia?
Dalitso Tembo: Hip-hop is recognized in Zambia, but at this point, it has not reached a level where it is a highly respected genre like other genres in Zambia despite having many artists performing within this genre. In Zambia, Hip-hop in our local languages is more recognized than rap music in English.
What is Hip Hop in your local language called?
Dalitso Tembo: It has no specific translation, but the phrase commonly used here is ''yamu local' meaning the local Hip Hop music
So who are the Zambian Hip Hop artists that we should know about? Who are the local artists that inspire you?
Dalitso Tembo: We have a lot of Hip-Hop artists here in Zambia. We have the likes of Camstar, Macky II, Chefy, Slap- D, Nick pro, Klappa Heiz, Tommy D and a lot more. One of the rappers who has been really inspirational to me and also been a long time friend and mentor is Chisenga Katongo who is famously known as C.R.I.$.I.$ Mr. Swagger and is currently in the United States of America. Apart from these rappers, I'm also inspired with by singers like Viola, Exile, Pjay and C.Q. Most of these artists are close friends and I have learnt quite a lot from them.
On his journey
What took you into the world of music - Hip Hop in particular?
Dalitso Tembo: I started writing poetry from an early age. As I grew up, I realized I could relate to other people through poetry, rap music and about certain problems we go through in life. Along the way, I met so many Hip-Hop artists that inspired me and gave me the strength to tell my story through Hip Hop.
When did you start performing and writing your lyrics. What informs the lyrics that you write?
Dalitso Tembo: I started writing when I was only 12 years old. My lyrics tell a story, and they come from what I see around me and what happens around me, and I use these words to reach out to people who can see exactly what I see, and who feel exactly what I feel. Rap music isn't about beef or dissing or people, it's about telling a story in your own words. I did a song called 'My Mother', and it is a song going out to all Mothers’ in the world.
That's great. Because here in the states, there are very few of the newer kids on the block who are telling stories...many are busy dissing other people with their music.
What is that song about your mother about? What does it say?
Dalitso Tembo: It's a song expressing your love for your Mother. It not only goes out to your Mothers but to all the women that have played key roles in our lives, the women that have been there for us even as father figures in our lives. The lyrics are deep, and very touching. A part of my verse goes like this '' ...Thank you for being there when I needed you, you always gave me love, you always came through, you gave an extra hand, I will never forget you, I will always understand...''
What did your mother say when you played this to her ?
Dalitso Tembo: She had no words...She shed tears. tears of joy and love.
So what challenges have you faced so far?
Dalitso Tembo: Putting my mix-tape together has taken in a lot of effort and dedication and time. The financial part has been quite a challenge. Studio costs other expenses have been a challenge
Take a listen to:
On his CD
So when is your CD coming out?
Dalitso Tembo: I plan to release it on my Mothers birthday (which falls on August 10th). And its titled 'DiamondShip'. A Mix-Tape dedicated to the women
What will you like them to know about you? as a person? as an artist? as a Zambian? what's your story?
Dalitso Tembo: I would like them to know that Hip Hop reaches out to everyone regardless of age, race color, sex etc.
Written by P.S
Last Updated ( Monday, 14 May 2012 00:40 )