VERY few musicians in South Africa see past the stage or the studio. They are happy to perform for their fans and leave it at that.
However, you get the few who acquire the business acumen that is required to diversify their brand and survive a lot longer in the cut- throat industry.
Enter Slikour (pictured), the rapper who has for a long time seen beyond just making rhymes behind the mic.
Each chance the lyricist gets he develops platforms to propel local hip hop to greater heights. After developing a marketing and entertainment agency called Ventilation with childhood friend Shugasmakx in 2012, Slikour felt that he hadn’t done much and went on to launch http://slikouron life.co.za, a website that offers current information on who is doing what in the rap game.
But wait, there’s more. Only three weeks ago, the rapper hatched yet another plan that was aimed at getting the artists’ music to the masses without having to rely on one particular phone device to access the music.
It’s called the 37618 Store, a partnership with Bozza (www.37618.co.za). The website is said to be the first mobile store to sell only South African music, thereby enabling fans to experience content and support their favourite local acts. The 37618 Store can be accessed through cellphone or tablet with internet connectivity.
“I just knew that generally in the country there is a gap, especially with hip hop, to be explored. By default house music is covered because 80 percent of the DJs on radio are house DJs. The Slikour On Life website has shown just how much hip hop music is being released out there.
“There are so many stories about what artists are doing that the media don’t value. Most media houses have niches of what they should cover so Slikour On Life gives music lovers the lowdown on hip hop,” said the rapper.
Slikour On Life is a website that is almost like a diary of what is happening in primarily the local and then the international news in hip hop.
“I am not a blogger, but I love the music, so if I am going to write it with my bad writing skills, know that I did it for the music. I haven’t even scratched the surface as it is a five-year plan,” said Slikour.
Slikour has always made it known that his survival has never relied on music as he has other businesses going for him. This is why in the recent past the rapper could afford to take four years off from the music industry without worrying about putting food on the table.
“When I took the time off, I reflected on a lot of things including what made it hard for me to get my music out there. I discovered that I was from a generation where there was Arthur Mafokate, M’du and TKZee who were all influential in our communities and yet I don’t know why they have stopped playing them. Is it because someone came in and said, ‘this guy is not relevant anymore?’
“If that is the case that’s interesting because the likes of Steve Hofmeyr and Nataniel are still big with their own broadcasters yet they have been in the business for decades,” he said.
“This gets me wondering if we are the only race that keeps shooting ourselves down. Apartheid taught our forefathers that black men can’t be of brilliance or excellence and unfortunately a lot of black South Africans have adopted this. They find it difficult to see themselves as exceptional and therefore they can’t see another one of their own that way.
“Our music industry is a micro example of the macro behaviour of black South Africans towards each other. Hence we’re quick to shoot each other down or anticipate failure,” said the Blacks R Foolz singer.
As usual with Slikour, his ideas are always extreme and get people riled up, something he is not really worried about.
“I know they are going to come out and say I am at it again and I am bitter, but the truth is I am not. I am singlehandedly partnering with people who believe in the arts and care to help the artists make more income. I am not in competition with my brothers, I want them to earn as much as they can in their prime.
“If the broadcasters, our artists, South African people and a store like mine aligned, not only are we helping artists, but we’ll open so many employment opportunities. Yes, I have a resource plan. It’s time we stopped respecting money, but started respecting innovative work that can progress us to build wealth.
“It’s time to exercise tolerance and acknowledge our excellence and brilliance. It’s bigger than music. It’s a pattern of human behaviour that needs to be carried through every industry, no matter how small or big.
“In my world music is what matters and www.slikouron life.co.za and www.37618.co.za are the beginning of my journey to brilliance and excellence,” he said passionately.
The 37618 digital music store seeks to avail music to smartphone users at a fee of R7.50 and artists like Ricky Rick, Psyfo, Reason and Da L.E.S have their music available there already.