With the demeanour of a soft spoken yet confident in their work, Ntokozo “Buks” Mazibuko is such a character. In conversation I bring up how much of a scorcher “Bhampa” for PRO, which is a production credit of the now defunct ensemble IV League and he only responds with a, “It was all part of a plan”
That type of confidence, almost nonchalant of how vastly talented Buks is, is the aura you get from his solo records. Meticulous, calculated and inches away from being a perfectionist. There is a story of how Buks once recorded a song with 92 channels.
He laughs when I bring it up and laments that making music is an intricate process for him. He is very detail in his vision of how he wants a song to sound. How he wants the listener to take even tiniest detail in.
“[laughs] Its big files that I work with. Solo’s “Overtime” was another big file. Probably same number of channels. Its special to me. I want the listener to fully hear everything I put in my production. Every last detail.”
Sitting with him to discuss the upcoming release of his single, ‘Rule The World’, you get the feel that everything with him is not rushed. Buks has a plan.
Straight after sipping refreshment at a small coffee shop, which I explicitly chose for the interview because it’s out of the public eye and I wanted to fully grasp the words and thoughts of Buks without any interruptions, I ask the question most rappers hate. When is the album coming out?
“The album is definitely en route. No date yet because I’m also busy with other projects. I’m excited about the music I’m making. I want to show the world what I’m capable of.”
Buks doesn’t specify which projects he is working on but promises quality and he jumps up in his seat with joy as I can visibly see the thought of this secret project run through his mind.
“One thing about me, and this is not done consciously, I always make music that I’m proud of. What I’ve noticed in the game right now, is rappers are targeting a certain market. They make joints for a certain crowd. That becomes a problem if that crowd doesn’t vibe with your song. Now they sit back & think, “What’s my next move?””
“I believe most importantly, rappers should know who their music is NOT for. You waste time with bickering with someone who is not checking for you.”
The convo flows and we touch on IV League. How different is it now for you as a solo producer than when it was three entities with a common goal.
“It is vastly different. Back then we used to make beats just. Like a conveyor belt, we just made beats & people will come and shop for beats. Now I’m doing it differently. I’m first very particular who I work with. And I say work with because; I tell the artist that I don’t have a cart of beats for you. Let’s vibe in the studio and make music.”
With that sentiment, it adds to how Buks has managed to garner features and production credits for a select few in the SA game and also an Australian artist by the name of Arlene Zelina. When I ask him about him being part of a team that heralded some of the styles used today, he sits back and adjusts his Yankees cap and softly says,
“Funny story, “Tswak Stick ‘Em” … Back in ’08, it had a house sample. I’m not going to run around saying, I did it first. It goes to show that I make songs that live forever. It’s not songs for the current wave. It’s timeless songs. One thing I learnt very early on, when I started rapping was I will not get all the recognition I deserve and I’m fine with that. I will not chase recognition either; I want people to know what I’m capable of. I can rap and I rap well. I can produce. No one can do Buks like I can. No one. I’m in a very special position where I know what I’m capable of and have a chance to show it to people. A lot don’t know I’m a lyricist, a lot don’t know I got bars. So a lot will be surprised”
He plays me “Rule The World” and as the song starts, I’m immediately taken by surprise. Lyrically he is not holding back, the beat is a journey. The detail is vivid.
I take out my earphones in awe. Surprised by how the production effortlessly changes and picks up and drops and gets me all excited. I also pick up a line about a certain song that I ask him about.
“This is one of those joints where I let it all out. For a long time, stat quo actually, there’s this “We are family” thing in SA hip hop. Where artists feel the need to only share niceties and no one is being honest. It’s not beef, it’s my opinion. It’s not hate, it’s not discrediting the artist, and it’s my honest view. I don’t fuck with the joint”
I nod and vouch for the statement.
I ask him about the album again, he lets me in on two names featured on it. He explains,
“I am very particular about which songs I feature on and even more particular about whom I feature on my songs. There is a certain vision I have for my album and artists, no matter how incredible they are, if they don’t fit in that vision I’m not going to feature them. Features shouldn’t be about favours or just a show for respect. Feature someone who compliments the vision you have for the song”
With “Rule The World” being released on 30th of September, Buks lets me in on his debut album,
“You gonna love it”
Get Buks – Rule The World here