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Dope Saint Jude: Hip-Hop, Feminism, Race Politics & Cape Town Queer Culture

Cape Flats-born rapper Dope Saint Jude talks hip-hop, feminism, race politics and Cape Town queer culture.

Catherine St Jude Pretorius, otherwise known as Dope Saint Jude, is a socially conscious advocate for feminism, body politics, class, race and gender neutrality in Cape Town. Born in the Cape Flats, Miss St Jude brings a slightly controversial, edgy and playful energy to the music scene, particularly within the coloured community. In addition to rapping, she's also guest lectured on hip-hop as a social vehicle at a few of Cape Town's top universities.


After landing on our radar a year ago with "Hit Politik," she's since released videos for "The Golden Ratio" and most recently "Keep In Touch," featuring new kid on the "Nu-Queer" block Angel-Ho. Shot and edited by Chris Kets (who previously worked on Boolz' Langa-shot "Aphe Kapa"), the clip sports a quirky array of voguing ninjas, bucket hats and brief vocabulary lesson in Gayle (Cape Town queer slang). On the heels of her latest video, Dope Saint Jude spoke with us about Cape Town queer culture, being a "boss bitch" and a coloured woman in Cape Town's rap scene and more.

Shiba for Okayafrica: So tell us a bit about Gayle ("gay slang used in urban communities of South Africa"). I've never heard it used in music before, is there a reason for that?

Dope Saint Jude: Gayle is Cape Town queer urban slang created by predominantly coloured men. It was created as a secret language for queer people to communicate with one another in spaces where being queer was considered deviant. I first came across Gayle hanging out with friends in the Cape Flats. I immediately picked up the language as it is extremely colourful and expressive! I did further research into the language and found it hard to find an online dictionary for it. This is because the Gayle language is constantly evolving and is picked up by spending time in communities where Gayle is spoken. One really needs to immerse oneself in the culture to pick up the language.

OKA: And you? What does the persona of Dope Saint Jude encompass and how does "Keep In Touch" emulate that?

DSJ: Dope Saint Jude is so many things, but if I can convey one important thing about me it is that Dope Saint Jude is an example to all girls. Dope Saint Jude is an academic, a thug, a rapper, a hustler, an activist, a producer, a community worker, a filmmaker, a party animal, a lover, a sista and a BOSS BITCH! 2015 is an exciting year for me because I am dropping my EP and mixtape, a few more music videos and I am directing my first documentary. I am also facilitating my community project called iNtombi Workshop, where we focus on arts education at a high school in Elsies River, my hometown.

OKA: As a coloured woman in Cape Town's rap scene, how do you see your presence being felt?

DSJ: My coloured identity has always been a difficult thing for me to deal with. I am a first generation coloured person, as I come from a mixed race family. I recognise my blackness, even though I am coloured. I feel a great sense of responsibility to my community and to young women, to be a role model and to work hard. I think it is so important for us to have our voices heard, to change voice of the media and to create the climate we want in South Africa!

Keep up with Dope Saint Jude on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, and Tumblr. Download "Keep In Touch" here.

Interview
Photo: Shaughn Cooper

Ras Nebyu Is Washington, D.C.'s 'Uptown Lion Walkin'

We talk to the Ethiopian-American rapper about his new album, his Washington Slizzards crew, and the impact of gentrification on D.C.'s music scene.

Ras Nebyu is caught up in the crowd at Howard University's homecoming tailgate, where he can barely walk a block without shaking hands with another person who he knows. Although he didn't attend Howard University, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood forms as much of a part of his narrative as any student.

The Ethiopian-American rapper hails from uptown Washington, D.C., a neighborhood he uses to inform his latest album, Uptown Lion Walkin, a project that pays homage to his ancestral upbringing, as well as his thoughts on making money, love, happiness, and the government.

There's a twoness to Nebyu's identity that allows him to create from a place of historical-cultural reverence while pushing forward new ideas. He was raised in a Rastafarian household by an Ethiopian dad and African-American mother.

Nebyu doesn't hold much back when he speaks, like his music. He preaches about belonging to his community, gentrification and the diaspora. His work serves as a strong soundboard, for not only his Ethiopian community but D.C. natives.

In 2011, Nebyu co-founded the Washington Slizzards, a collective of Ethiopian creatives in D.C. What started as a joke, tacking on "slizz" to everything, became a buzz-worthy crew. Around the same time as the group's inception, he began releasing music into the world.

Nebyu first ventured into making music as a producer, but soon found it frustrating getting artists to use his beats. He decided to begin experimenting with using his own voice and hasn't slowed down since. OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss the new album and growing up uptown.

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Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty, Afro B & Mayorkun Join DJ Neptune On 'Tear Rubber' Remix

Listen to the "All Star Remix" now.

"Tear Rubber," one of the standouts from DJ Neptune's latest album, Greatness, gets a big remix that'll jump start your week.

The track, which originally featured Mayorkun, now gets a massive revisit featuring Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty and Afro B.

All three are potent additions to this laid-back and addictive Young John-produced track which was already getting a lot of spins.

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popular

Listen to Sade's Beautiful New Song—'The Big Unknown'

Sade has graced us with her second single of the year—this time for Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, "Widows."

We now have two new Sade songs to shed thug tears to before the end of 2018, y'all.

The queen herself released a lyric video for her new track, "The Big Unknown." This single will be played during the end credits of Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, Widows, which is due to be released in theaters November 16, Highsnobiety reports.

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