The name Lemonka is a respected name in SA hip-hop circles. Off the success of the Motswako Tape vol 1 which had heavyweights like HHP, Towdee Mac and Mo Molemi, he is readying the tape’s second installment. A stand up DJ who we can proudly say he was one of the first who did the “DJ Khaled holler” but with style and impeccable execution, his greatest talents lie in conceptualising. CHEKA Digital had a one-on-one with the man who shares important info about the game on his Twitter account.
CHEKA DIGITAL: The first Motswako tape was received well. Why has it taken this long to drop the second one?
LEMONKA: N*ggas thought I was paid now and it just made things more difficult to get features, plus I was working with way more producers than the first time so getting separates were a major problem. In between that space I was working on Notshi’s album and I had to give it my full attention.
In Motswako Tape Vol 1 we got introduced to Notshi on Tuks’ “Game Over Part 2”. What motivates you to work with a lesser known or recognised artist?
Dedication/passion & skill, plus dudes being fresh, I always felt like HHP / Tuks and Morafe can’t be the only Motswako artists in the game.
Working with so many artists and not making that much financially, how do you pay the featured artists decently and still get to make a profit?
They take 100% publishing unless I get an advert of a paying gig for the song. Eg. I got Molemi’s “10111″ on a Hollywood movie; D-Mongz, Mojo and I broke bread.
Looking at DJs in the U.S., they drop free mixtapes online very frequently. With an abundance of hungry and desperate emcees in SA, why don’t SA DJs do the same?
Most of the time, beats in the states are not original so a DJ will just scream his name on a track and irritate us. On this side the mixtape game is young so rather get a fresh beat, a dope rapper and shoot a video that works for everyone mostly the rapper though.
You mixed Mawe2′s Colourful Tunnels a few years back. From the skits there it’s quite evident you two are good friends and work well together. Are there any projects that you two are currently working on?
Mawe2 Is my brother more than my friend. Mos def we working on his album, and it’s amazing cause dude is hella talented.
Apart from Mawe2, which other rapper have you mixed a mixtape for? Or are planning to?
I did a mixtape for (Tbo) Touch in Botswana & some emcees from Kimberly. If n*ggas are keen I’m game, we’ll see who approaches next…
As a hip hop DJ in SA, how do you really make a living out of it? Like where does your revenue come from mostly?
I do my own events (you’d be shocked at how people support) and playing out of Gauteng is boss. Tuks doesn’t gig in Jozi but he’s nice with it.
You’ve been known as a good sharer of information on Twitter regarding the behind the scenes of making an album and the costs thereof, as one who has experienced it, do you have any suggestion in making the process more efficient?
1. Try to record the album in one studio where you can negotiate, remember a bad recording is useless.
2. Avoid fancy studios. If you got a good engineer half the job is already done.
3. After a good mix get somebody who can master your music. You can’t skip these steps because before anything else, the sound needs to be dope.
Album sales in SA are not a proud moment in hip-hop, as a connoisseur of vernac rap, do you believe we can have a Zulu/Motswako rapper break the mould and out-sell the gospel genre and the Zahara’s of SA?
Never!!! It’s not gonna happen. We too smart and we got more rappers/critics than fans. Secondly, we live in the give me a link genre.
One word that comes to mind when you hear: Dr. Dre
Compiled And Written By: Siphiwe Zwane (@SDotJR_)