Joshua The I AM – The ‘unorthodox artist’ redefining rap music

Image by Ben Moyo

The Joburg-based emcee again flexed his musical prowess on new single Glitch. The track was dropped with a video featuring visual artists such as Kay Kay Ribane and Seth Pimentel, and an exhibition in Maboneng, Joburg, which he curated.

Glitch is a tune with heartfelt rhymes and a catchy chorus, proving why he was signed weeks after The Hustle finale, by recording label Vth Season. The label has managed artists such as AKA, Big Star Johnson and Tresor to mention a few. In an interview with OkayAfrica, the rapper said Vth Season understood that they were not just signing some trap rapper, but a fully-fledged artist who cares about creating something that’s authentic. I sit down with the musician to chat about music and his upcoming performance at Basha Uhuru.

How has your musical experience been since starring onThe Hustle?

I’ve always been a very unorthodox artist, being on the Hustle has taught me how to maintain mainstream success. It’s also helped my career in so many ways. Although I did not win the overall competition, I feel like a winner as the show gave me an opportunity to expand my fan base and create relationships with people in the industry.

Image by Ben Moyo

Would you say rapping is a viable profession? Do you think it’s something the youth should consider as a sustainable career?

I feel like times have changed, where rapping is actually considered to be a profession. The biggest rappers in the country have become some of the most influential people in the country and I feel like the next generation of hip hop artists will be international superstars.

You recently released your first radio single Glitch, take us through the creative process of the song and tell us what inspired the song.

I wrote Glitch two years ago. It went from just being a single to a full-on concept. I got to work with some of the best visual artists, such as Kay Kay Ribane, Seth Pimentel, Opak Media and Uncle Bats, to name a few. The inspiration behind Glitch was merely trying to simplify the concept of a relationship. The song is about a toxic relationship, and I thought about speaking about it metaphorically, as playing a video game to make light of the situation.

Image by Ben Moyo

For the launch of your single, you collaborated with visual artists. You were also the creative curator of the exhibition. How does art inspire your music and vice versa?

For Glitch, I worked with Urban Art and my friends that I’ve mentioned above. As a musician, I work alone most of the time because I’m able to do everything myself. I wish I could draw, so I surround myself with the most creative artists and it’s easy for us to bounce ideas because of our mutual love for each other’s work.

When can fans expect a full body of work from you? What do you have planned for the last half of 2018?

I’ve been in my studio everyday working on what I’d like to call an audio story.

What does being a part of Basha Uhuru mean to you and what are you most looking forward to?

Basha Uhuru is one of the biggest stages I’ve yet to perform on. I appreciate the fact that it’s such an art-driven festival and the fact that I’m able to be on the line-up is a blessing. We need more festivals like Basha Uhuru, where the main focus is on the arts.

It’s Youth Month, what does that mean to you? What is it like being a young person in South Africa, living in a time of democracy?

I was born in 1995, so I was fortunate enough to grow up in a time of endless possibilities. I believe that as a youth in South Africa, we have access to much more than the generation before us and we should use that to our advantage.

Following Fees Must Fall and other political movements led by the youth, where would you like to see SA in the next five years. What would you like to see happen/change?

I’d like to see South Africa taking the art industry a little more seriously. I think we are headed in the right direction thanks to platforms like Basha Uhuru. I’d like to see us make an impact globally.

This article was originally published on Basha Uhuru.