"Nigga this, nigga that , Where you from, where you at, Stop talking that crap, And recognise your habitat..."
These lines from one of Ammunition's freestyle rhymes sum up Amunition's outlook on what South African MC's need to recognise in order to keep it real. "I've been kicking that line for like two years and cats ain't trying to get it" he says, commenting on a problem that has plagued all genres of local music from the inception of the urban contemporary sound as we know it. Amu continues, "We're trying too much to sound American", but further muses that MC's need not go as far as to rhyme in native tongues (so to speak) to maintain a South African essence. "Take Bafixile for example. I'm not trying to dis anyone but they tried to blend Hip-Hop and kwaito by rhyming in Zulu and Tswana, and it was very weak. They have nice lyrics but I wanna hear them (rhyme) over Hiphop beats. They were doing it over kwaito beats so I didn't buy that. And kwaito cats aren't trying to hear Hip-Hop so they didn't buy it either."
It can be argued that Bafixile were attempting to keep their sound as South African as possible and that their belief is that there is no point in emulating American Hip-Hop as the Americans can produce it for themselves. It is no secret that Hip-Hop produced and released nationally has several odds against it from the outset. One of these is the success enjoyed by kwaito (which sprung from just as humble beginnings) over the previous decade. The monopoly kwaiti has in the mainstream market makes it that much harder for the underground Hip-Hop artist to blow up, as the two seemingly opposing genres compete for the limited buying market's hard-earned Rand. Can one then blame groups like Bafixile for fusing the two in the hope of catching wreck from kwaito and/or Hip-Hop fanatics?
Amu maintains that his background (being raised in Diepkloof) aids in bringing that distinctly indigenous sound to the universal table of Hip-Hop without taking away from the flava. Incidentally, 'Phezulu' the first of his two singles to be found on the all-Nativz-artist EP "Future Sounds of Msawawa", was initially called 'Elevation'. Why rename it? "Me and my manager Thabs decided to call it that as a part of our marketing strategy". Whatever the track is called it can only be described as banging. Yet another of Iko's masterpieces, it features a reworking of the K.C & the Sunshine Band sample that Keith Murray used in 'Get Lifted', and speaks volumes of the production standards to which South African Hip-Hop has risen. The second track 'Stick Your Finger Out' is his closest approximation to a ballad within the hard-core parameters of Hip-Hop. It showcases the vocals of Paul, lead singer to R&B/Soul band Exceed. Collaborating with R&B artists is not a first for Amu, he has also hooked up with acts like Ashaan and E'smile on their respective singles, 'She's got My Heart' and 'The Good, The Bad'.