For Rolling Stone Magazine South Africa. Issue 12 / November 2012.
Photographs by Luke Daniel - Words by Max Barashenkov
'On The Streets With Cape Town’s Hip-Hop Punks
They come in droves, one after another, twenty, thirty, forty, it doesn’t stop, an onslaught of MCs and crews taking their turn to spit rhymes in a bleak prefab in Khayelitsha Site C. Outside, a Total garage labours under a stream of taxis, a Standard bank ATM vomits cash to a never ending queue, meat is being cooked on the sidewalk, dope is smoked and beer is drank. It’s the township that tourist buses see on brave ventures into poverty, but inside the hall, there are youths that will never make it into any photo albums or glossy magazines. Some are locally known and the audience bops and shouts along, some are young and new but the two-hundred-strong crowd grooves and bumps to them just as well. If your verse hits true, then fuck it, you can be just out of the womb, we’ll roar it right back at you. It’s a bizarre sight, to see the stage – just an empty space in front of the more than modest speaker set up – shared by vets in their early twenties, with years of rapping behind them, and cats no older that 12, but dropping it just as hard, all of them afforded the same respect. We stand, painfully aware that we are the only two white boys there, on the molding carpet, in the slivers of light that creep through busted windows and can hardly believe what we are seeing. It’s DIY pandemonium, a violently active youth scene that no one outside of the Mother City townships hears about. We didn’t expect this. Cape Town, where pre-94 city planning still makes us foreign to the boys just that side of the N2, where the suburban generation is happy to recycle their own shit in the safe zone between Kloof and Long, is blind to the realities of our country, unaware of the culture exploding right on its doorstep. Fuck it all to hell.'