For Rapper Riyadh Roberts, better known as YoungstaCPT, the common theme that runs through his music is “Kaapstad” – and he reps it to the fullest.
The rapper, who grew up in Wynberg, just released the music video for his song Wes-Kaap, having attracted more than 70 000 views and counting on YouTube.
He’s also just released a video for his song Bo-Kaap.
YoungstaCPT says he sees it as his duty to show off every side of Cape Town.
“In the video of Wes-Kaap, that’s kind of what I do. I take a guy on an impromptu tour. But I’m taking him to the good and the bad side,” he says.
“People like to show the more polished side of Cape Town and there’s nothing wrong with that, because I understand tourism is big here. But there’s a whole demographic of people who don’t belong in that bracket.
“If you exclude them, you kind of miss out a whole sector of Cape Town. Just that sector alone could make you change your whole view of what you see Cape Town as.
“The coloured community also has something to offer. There is a pulse there and if you don’t take these people around they will never know. I want to do that through music – talk about things that’s not spoken of and show areas and environments in music videos that are not going to be seen.”
YoungstaCPT added that there would people overseas who were going to watch this video but know nothing about Cape Town.
“I got to show the Sea Point and Green Point side of things in the video but also took it to the gritty side.
“There’s a lot of people I know that have so much to say, incredible stories that I can’t even put in music because it’s too deep.
“If I can just show a piece of it in a video then I am at least providing a service. A voice for the voiceless, it is my duty and I owe them that.”
He says being an independent artist means that you have to work even harder to achieve your goals.
But one of the positive things was being able to have more control of your product.
The vision of a music video, says YoungstaCPT, always starts with him. But at the end of the day it is a collaborative effort from his team.
“It starts with me and then once I get my production team on board, I give my ideas to them.
“Then they come to the table with their input and we combine. Everything starts with me for the simple fact that I’m the author. The song is written by me. It’s only fair that it comes from me first because I’m the author of the story. Bo-Kaap was much more simple because of the title of the song, I mean we couldn’t go and shoot it in Sea Point,” he joked.
“The decision-making comes down to you at the end of the day, because it’s your product and your baby, whereas with labels there’s a lot of people who are involved who have nothing to do with the actual making of the music. It’s written by me, the vision is me, the styling is me,” he adds.
Having toured Europe last year and Australia earlier this year,
YoungstaCPT says the reception he got from fans was encouraging.
“The crowd was jumping, they were responding well. One of the biggest tracks we did out there was Bo-Kaap. They don’t even know where it is but that song turned the whole set up.
“The people were hopping and the floor was giving in. It’s a good feeling, I’m doing my duty to represent Cape Town. It clearly says this guy is going to represent Cape Town, I even put it in my name and it’s cemented there for life. I owe it to the city.”
He said one of the big things he has managed to achieve in his career so far was to collaborate with his idols, one of whom is DJ Ready D.
“I’m looking at these guys on TV and wondering what it’s like to just be in their presence. And I believe it’s all a part of God’s plan. I knew if I was going to rap I was going to say CPT but I wasn’t talking about Compton; I was talking about Cape Town.
“I look at Ready D and them as our Public Enemy and NWA. They fought the power, they went against the system. Those icons here, we are lucky to even have them here.
“We can say that we’ve got the architects and pioneers of South African hip hop in our city, on our doorstep. For me to just be sitting beside them and even getting that props and a video with them, shows that I’m following the right path.”
Of his fans, he says “without them none of this is possible”. and urges Capetonians to support local musicians.
“We are facing a music industry in South Africa that doesn’t credit Cape Town a lot. Here in Cape Town we need support. Cape Town needs to back Cape Town. We are trying to bring up Cape Town. In the last two videos the common word is Kaap. Support Kaapstad, that is my message.”
For more information on his upcoming releases and shows, visit his website at http://www.