Interview

Interview: DJ Speedsta Has Faith in South Africa’s New Wave of Hip-Hop

We chat to the South African DJ about working with the country's new generation of artists.

DJs play a huge role in South Africa's hip-hop scene. Through their single releases and projects, they always introduce fans to new talent. DJ Speedsta is one selector who seems to understand the current crop of rappers, popularly referred to as "the new wave," and he has introduced a handful to his extensive audience.

Speedsta hosts the popular radio show Absolute Hip-Hop on Metro FM alongside media personality LootLove. The show recently won the Best Radio Show award at the South African Hip Hop Awards.

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J Molley Is Leading the South African New Wave

J Molley is at the forefront of the new crop of South African artists.

This profile is part of OkayAfrica's ongoing series, THE WAV 2019, following the young artists shaping the future of the South Africa's music scene. You can read more profiles and interviews here.

J Molley summarized his journey to Grandmaster Ready D earlier this year in an interview on the South African hip-hop legend's show on Goodhope FM. "I started about three years ago, just dropping music on SoundCloud, and then it just took off quite rapidly after that. And I've just been doing it since then. I just realized it could work for me, and I started making good money off of it, and yeah, here I am."

Ready D's story, as a member of one of the first SA hip-hop crews (Prophets of da City), is the opposite of J Molley's. When Prophets of da City were releasing songs that the apartheid government banned on radio and TV in the late '80s and early '90s, there was no internet to broadcast their music directly to their listeners. They needed radio for that, and TV for their music videos. It was tough.

J Molley, who's only 18 years old and already a notable name in SA hip-hop, didn't have to wait for radio and TV to play his music or a distributor to press his songs on vinyl, cassette or CD (what are those?). Starting out as a photographer, J Molley amassed a following on Instagram that rode with him when he became a singer. "I had a bit of fame before I started doing music," J Molley says, seated on a couch at the OkayAfrica offices in Joburg. "So, I knew that I had a fan base, which is what helped me. If I didn't have that, I don't think it would've worked, really. So, I knew I was going to get a little bit of fame for it, but I didn't think it was going to be so quick 'cause I dropped the first song and I got, like, 10,000 plays in a month, which is crazy for me."

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