Op-Ed
Photography by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Price to Pay: The Complicated Relationship Between Ambitiouz Entertainment and South Africa’s Music Scene

Through all the horror stories shared by artists, it's impossible to overlook Ambitiouz Entertainment's contribution to South African music.

One of the biggest South African songs at the moment boasts a lineup of artists that blend styles for a smooth collaboration. With verses for the heads and a catchy hook for the radio, "Price to Pay" by Miss Pru DJ features the duo Blaq Diamond and Lesotho-born rapper Malome Vector.

A quintessential Ambitiouz Entertainment song, "Price to Pay" feels like 2016/2017 all over again, even if it's for just above five minutes. When Ambitiouz started circa 2015, a majority of its hip-hop artists—Emtee, Saudi, Sjava, FiFi Cooper, and others—were doing trap rap, mostly in native languages. Even A-Reece, who raps almost exclusively in English now, threw a few SePitori phrases in his rhymes. Singles such as "Tshela" and "Smokolo" released by the rapper Priddy Ugly under Ambitiouz were his first experiments with adding native languages in his verses beyond hooks.

While streaming "Price to Pay" and other songs released by Ambitiouz Entertainment, however, one wonders if, years from now, Malome Vector and Blaq Diamond will be sharing horror stories of working with the label, just like many of its previous signings.

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Interview
(Youtube)

Interview: Armsdeal Shoots Some of South African Hip-Hop’s Most Creative Music Videos

We chat to South African filmmaker Nkululeko 'Armsdeal' Lebambo about his conceptual music videos and how he navigates the film industry.

Nkululeko Lebambo doesn't shoot music videos, he makes movies. There's no less cliché way to put it.

His latest work is for the rapper Priddy Ugly's song "Ho$h Ho$h." The short film is a grimy street tale in which the rapper and his acolytes take their enemy hostage and torture him while reciting raps—a trap musical of some sort. It's not just the characters portrayed that make the film gripping, but the way everything falls together to form a compelling narrative.

The director, who goes by the moniker Armsdeal and runs the production company CideFX Films, is behind most of Priddy Ugly's visuals—from "Love-Hate" to "Cocaine Ghost," "Come to my Kasim," "02Hero," and of course "Ho$h Ho$h," among a few others.

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