Back To Interviews The Hip-Hop Headrush

DJ Blaze

Chop Su also has hands-on experience with South Africa's music industry: Bionic (and formerly Bigga) is a partner in independent urban label Eargasm, whilst Blaize holds down a marketing day job in the local division of BMG Africa. So it was only natural that these three like-minded cats would collude in 1997 and pool resources in the name of perpetuating Hip-Hop in Johannesburg. However, three odd years later, Blaize (the oldest of the three) expresses dissatisfaction with the way things are going. "I feel we are not getting our dues. I've been doing matinees for almost ten years, which is a long time." One of the matinees he's referring to are the Saturday afternoon gigs which they host at down-town Johannesburg's Metropolis/Rippington's. Part of the reason why their well-deserved props are not forth-coming may be because of the lack of much-needed infrastructure for Hip-Hop to develop in Johannesburg. Metropolis is still the only strictly Hip-Hop venue in the entire city years after the concept was coined; the only platform for Hip-Hop on the radio comes by way of YFM's Raptivity jam on Wednesday nights, or the whole half hour donated by DJ Fresh to Chop Su to alleviate the Hip-Hop famine in the afternoon that same day; and vinyl costs 3 to 4 times as much as it would wherever it is pressed.

Is the situation any better in Cape Town, which seems to have a larger population of DJ's, Graf artists, and B-Boys? A superficial comparison between JHB and Cape Town might lead one to imagine the latter to be Mecca of South Africa's embryonic Hip-Hop culture. Bionic disagrees, saying it is all a marketing balls-up. "Out here in JHB, I'd say Hip-Hop is bigger than it is in Cape Town. We just need the right people to promote and market this shit to the masses." Bigga further elaborates that, "People in Cape Town are much more knowledgeable of Hip-Hop as a culture as opposed to just the rap aspect of it." Chop Su's own perceived role as DJ's becomes more apparent in Bionic's statement that, "In JHB we have more MC's. They fuck around more with concepts and they're just deeper. One of the reasons is that (we) the DJ's influence that style. We play mad underground. Our clubs will never be really bumping like Cape Town clubs for real. Cape Town is just hype. They just rock party jams. MC's there are more on that party level."

With all the odds lined up against any aspiring Hip-Hop revolutionary, it is no wonder that Chop Su is just about the only visible DJ team for miles around. But with so few crews or individual DJ's to challenge their skills they could almost be forgiven for slipping into a comfort zone - being content that they are the only ones in the game and therefore do not need to put added effort into their technique. Bionic's thoughtful stance on that supposition is that the challenge would have to stem from within oneself saying, "you have to have this inner need to challenge and improve your own skills" but further concedes, "we also look to overseas DJ's to jack up our shit." Chop Su's love for Hip-Hop fuels their unrelenting determination to keep on keeping on. With a couple of mix-tapes in the pipe line, and talk of Blaize collaborating with Afrika Mkhize and BLK Sonshine's Masauko on a couple of joints of the pending second volume of the Muthalode compilation, there is still a lot this Msawawa-rooted DJ collective aims to achieve before calling it quits.

The Chop Su crew


Back to the FlipSide