Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Prince Kaybee Breaks Down 'The 4th Republic'

We talk to the South African DJ and producer about his fourth studio album, addressing social issues through music and more.

It feels like a lifetime ago when Prince Kaybee came onto the South African scene in 2015 winning the music reality show, 1's and 2's. Since then he has become one of South Africa's favourite artists.

Moreso in 2020, Prince Kaybee made Barack Obama's favourite songs of the year playlist with his single "Uwrongo"featuring Shimza, Black Motion and Ami Faku, a song about reconciliation which has gone platinum. He also recently received platinum plaques for singles "Fetch Your Life," "Club Controlla," "Banomoya," and "Gugulethu" from his third album Re Mmino.

When asked about it he mentions not wanting to celebrate history and focuse on the present. However, with the announcement of "Fetch Your Life" being featured on the official Coming 2 America-inspired soundtrack, Rhythms of Zamunda, and an NPR Tiny Desk performance (one of his biggest dreams) just a few days before the release of his fourth studio album, The 4th Republic, the man still has a lot to celebrate presently.

Made up of 24 songs, The 4th Republic features collaborations with King Monada, Lady Zamar, Black Motion and Chymamusique to name a few.We're on a Zoom call for the interview on a Friday afternoon. South Africa is currently experiencing load shedding (a rolling blackout), fortunately our interview is scheduled between the power outages. Prince Kaybee is hopeful and wants to spark change. Speaking to him you understand songs like "Ayabulela,"which speak loudly against gender-based violence, one of South Africa's biggest issues.

He is unafraid to use music as an instrument for change and awareness but still makes music we can dance to. He is the people's DJ, a Robin Hood of sorts. Listening to "Sofaslahlane" I am taken back to his breakout hit "Wajelwa," which reminds me of nightlife before the pandemic. Nostalgia is arts best friend and something we might have to hold onto for a while as the DJ/producer is set on The 4th Republic being his second to last album.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Interview

Interview: Black Coffee Remains at the Top of His Game

We talk to the South Africa star DJ about his latest album Subconsciously, growth and everything in between.

It is 1pm on a Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a few minutes I will be interviewing the man of the moment, superstar DJ Black Coffee, a day after the release of his much anticipated album Subconsciously. He's in Johannesburg as well, which he calls home although he doesn't happen to be here a lot. Staying on-brand with his global stardom, as we speak there is a billboard of his album cover in the middle of New York's Time Square.

In 2020, the DJ/producer had 48.3 million streams of his music across 92 countries, according to Spotify. He was also scheduled to hold a residency in Ibiza, which was postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. The nomad DJ/producer was able to tour for three months last year when Europe opened up slightly, and had some shows in South Africa during the December/January period, when Covid restrictions were eased.

I remember first meeting Black Coffee in 2018 as he was preparing for Music is King, a star-studded concert he'd conceptualized. The powerhouse artist owned the global music and clubbing scene then, a scene that has taken a huge knock due to the times we find ourselves in. Although our last interview was only three years ago, it feels like it was a completely different lifetime. It was a world where I was able to speak to him in person, shake hands and embrace for a photo with no fear or risk of any kind of virus.

Today is different, but it's the same sweet Coffee.

Before I get him on the line for a phone interview I'm taken back to an Instagram post he made last year, thanking Drake for "always sending the elevator back down" in reference to their song "Get it Together," which made the top 100 Billboard charts back in 2017. 'Sending the elevator back down' is the essence of Black Coffee and something you see him act out throughout his career.

Whether it is his curated Africa Is Not A Jungle, a platform/stage which showcases the best in the South African club and underground music scene at festivals, or the way his album not only features heavyweights like Diplo, Usher and Pharrell Williams to name a few, but South African names like Sun-El Musician and Msaki. It is evident that the man is always paying it forward no matter how far he goes.

OkayAfrica talks to Black Coffee about his album, growth and everything in between below.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Black Coffee: "Music Is a Positive Thing. It Goes Where Religion & Politics Can't. It's Very Important to Always Carry That."

We sit down for an exclusive interview with superstar DJ and producer Black Coffee about pushing African music to the world.

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