A Hustler’s Heart
“We are influenced by our guardians to learn how to speak.” So says Durban-by-default Hip Hop hustler MARAZA. It goes far beyond the Open Mic for this cat. His life is one big blend of influence and ambition. If there was ever a reason to be proud of the 031, here he is.
Durban, recognize! If you’ve seen this cat once then you are bound to see him again. He has a habit of being at all the right places, making sure that his mark gets left loud and proud every time. With a unique style on the Mic and a dedication to his mission that humbles most who come across his way, this is one cat that is definitely clawing his way to the King position.
- First up, who are we talking to? Introduce yourself to the readers if you would? Your age and area would be interesting to discover.
My name is MarazA. I’m a poet, emcee, actor, presenter and Voice-over artist BUT, beyond anything else, I’m an ARTIST.
I turn 20 on the 13th of June. Many people think I’m from Durban city, but I’m not. I’m from Nyathikazi in Stanger but have lived in many places across the country including Durban. I got love for the city and the people. Most of my friends are from there and I underwent the biggest part of my growth in the loving hands of THE BAT CENTER. I’m a Durbanite by default.
- I first encountered you performing with your crew at a big Krumping gig out in Pinetown. A couple of weeks later I saw you battling at the BAT Centre. I see you hustling the digital marketing hard, as well as keeping your pen prolific with some regular poetry. Talk to us about what it means to be an ‘all rounder’, someone who doesn’t just have one angle but many?
Yes, I’m part of a crew called Jus Dat. I remember that day all too well. For me, being an artist means not conforming. I have a lot of abilities and I want to explore them. I discover more every day. Poetry is my first love. It’s so intimate yet highly social. I can speak to myself and with the world at the same time. I believe in writing and using words to express a truth. I believe it’s important for me to show every aspect of what I can do. It keeps me interesting and helps me reach a bigger audience than just the RAP audience. I recently started my own label called MUSE Entertainment and I have a good team in the form of my partner/manager Tumza. We believe in giving material to people in the most comfortable way for them. That’s why we hustling the net so much.
- What, for you, is the definition of a true MC?
For me, a real MC is someone who can best define his surroundings. Someone who can talk about something that you are living but tell the story with such conviction and such command that you can’t help but feel like he has seen it all and you haven’t. Someone who can put themselves in anybody’s shoes and tell their story like it was their own, a wordsmith, someone who can draw attention to themselves. I’m not saying that that is the ONLY definition of an MC. It’s just mine.
- Who would you describe as your influences?
My influence is the world. I’m mad about poetry and people. In terms of artists: Talib Kweli, Masta Ace, Scarface, Linkin Park, Seether, Cool G Rap, Liquid KZN, Eminem, Q-Unique, SoniQ, Earl Klugh, Zakwe, Ishmael, Josh Groban, Black Moss, Blak Wyz, Wize, my boy Dezza, G-Mosh, Asa, Ewok, Math, Coldplay, Fanatic, Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Prokid, Genesis (the dance crew), Proverb and Mr Selwyn are just some of the artists that inspire me, not just because of their music, but because of the kind of people they are and the influence they have on society. I’m also inspired by books from Stephen king and films by Quentin Tarantino. Mostly, it’s emotion that inspires me, LOVE, LOSS, HAPPINESS etc.
- What, again in your opinion, defines an influence?
I don’t believe that a person born blind and deaf could make music. We are influenced by our guardians to learn how to speak. An influence, for me, is whatever external factor that shapes the way you think, act, formulate ideas, and in this case, make music. We are all influenced by the music we hear. We cannot deny it. I’m proud of my influences. They helped me shape a sound that is my own that I can listen to and be proud.
- What are you up to when we don’t see you on the MIC? Where when and how do you move through life?
I’m part of a major Coca Cola project called Soccer Crazy Crew which is a part of the build-up towards the 2010 world cup. We tour the country performing at various places and will be very busy during the Confederations Cup and the Soccer World Cup. I also work for a media company where I am a Creative Copyrighter and Researcher. Here I write scripts, adverts and other content. I formulate strategies for marketing and develop shows and radio and TV content. I also do regular voice-over work and I am the voice of a kiddies program on DSTV called PIKIN.
- If you could work with another artist, from another genre besides Hip Hop, who would that be?
I would love to work with Vusi Mahlasela. In fact, I’m working on that one. I would also love to work with these three rock bands: ReBurth, Zaire and Tokio Hotel. I love their music and presence.
- When cats talk about a Durban sound, or a Durban style, what do you think they mean? What is it for you, if anything, that defines Durban, that makes it unique?
Durban has more song writers than anything. It has to be punch-lines. When people talk about a Durban Hip Hop sound they are usually talking about those mind boggling punch-lines and hardcore beats and energy that only cats like Abdus, Zakwe, Blackmoss and Crazy Collabo can pull off. What Durban is least know for in Hip Hop circles though is beautiful songs. Songs like Zakwe and Wize’s “Face Musik”, Skye and Trey’s “Let It Go”, MarazA’s “Change” and Jus Dat’s “Beng’ngazi”. I feel that it’s that type of music that is Durban’s strongest asset and will soon shine throughout the continent.
- Thanks for your time on this. Any shout outs and last words?
It’s my pleasure E (No Pun). I wanna shout out DM Media, Muse Entertainment, RawKas and YOU. You guys are doing a lot for the culture and for Durban. BIG UP! KEEP AT IT. Don’t forget to Vote for me, YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ON EMCEE AFRICA II.
Check out these links for more MarazA: