People have started arriving for a live performance of Emtee’s new album, Manando, on Ms Cosmo’s award-winning 5FM show, The Stir Up. But security isn’t letting them in. Ms Cosmo, whose real name is Noni Rwaxa, is annoyed but more than that, the hip hop club DJ and radio personality is intent on making sure the show goes on.
I’ve always imagined her to be this mysterious public figure, because she always has this pensive look on her face. But, as I discovered after spending a Sunday evening with her, she’s actually just a perfectionist and her brain prizes getting things done right over kiki-ing simply for the sake of it.
Emtee’s performance goes on without a hitch and right after, those gladiator sandals are pounding the floor once more as she rushes upstairs to finish her show. It’s difficult to keep up - which is probably how her naysayers feel.
Once she’s settled behind the mic and effortlessly controlling the desk, Ms Cosmo apologises for only being able to talk to me between actually presenting her show and live-tweeting it. The same show that won her a South African Hip Hop Award a few years ago. I ask her if she felt like that win was proof that her hard work was worth it.
“Winning the award was a great moment for me to realise that my radio isn’t going in vain,” she tells me. This year, Ms Cosmo, who is a part of 5FM’s breakfast show, The Roger Goode Show, also scooped the Traffic Presenter gong at the Liberty Radio Awards.
“I won’t even lie to you,” she giggles a husky, burning-flame giggle, “I wasn’t expecting that award. I have only been doing traffic for one year I was taken aback.
“No one expected a hip hop DJ to be doing traffic but it’s something I requested. I thought this was my opportunity to learn how to do more in radio because I want to be more in radio. A lot of people don’t know that I was a banker for four years or that I have a finance degree. I read the newspapers and know other things outside of hip hop. If I didn’t do that, I would probably still be doing Sunday nights only.”
Ms Cosmo has also expanded her brand to artist. She was initially at the helm of Now or Never LaFemme Remix which featured Gigi Lamayne, BK, Fifi Cooper, Clara T, Patty Monroe, Phresh Clique, Nels, Miss Celaneous, Meg Mafia, Nels and Ms Supa.
“DJ Switch called me to say let’s do a female version (of his song, Now or Never)and I was like dope. A lot of people on that remix were voted for via Twitter.”
Ms Cosmo then took the leap and put our her very own single, Connect, produced by Gemini Major and featuring Nasty C, Rouge and Kwesta. The video has since been watched just under 700 000 times.
“I became a DJ purely because people said I have a good ear for music, so surely I’d be able to make a song that people would like,” she says.
That came with its own issues. “With Connect, I got a lot of questions like: ‘What did Ms Cosmo do if Gemini Major produced the song?’ Well, how about the fact that I’m the executive producer of the song?”
This is the only time her eyes are not roving between her phone, the screens in front of her and me.
She says: “The same way that if you have a movie, there’s an executive producer, they’re not going to be the director, the actor or even the one putting the day-to-day admin of the movie together so you can see me the same way.
“I had an idea; I went to Gemini and told him what I want. We actually went back and forth quite a few times before he gave me the beat that I wanted because I wanted a specific sound and wanted it to go a specific way and wanted it have a specific feeling and Gemini had to convey that.”
“Now, I am getting into the nitty and gritty of actually making beats. Purely because I am tired of Gemini not answering my calls,” she throws her head back and laughs. Riky Rick’s Stay Shining is playing softly in the background and I’m not even sure where it places on the chart show segment of The Stir Up but Ms Cosmo has my ear.
“I had just dropped Connect and knew the song needs to live on other platforms outside of TV and I felt like the song wasn’t going where it needed to go,” she shares.
“I sat down and thought: the guys keep putting each other on.”
“Perfect example is Riky, Cassper and Major League. These guys have so many songs together because they are friends and they support each other. I was like: why are the girls not doing that? Because clearly the guys aren’t going to do it.
“So I thought: I’m also just going to do songs with my friends. I knew we’re missing a female presence and we need to give people something to pay attention to.” Ms Cosmo’s newest single, Ay Baby, is a feel-good chart-climber that features Rouge, Moozlie and Sho Madjozi.
“There was one night when Gemini was working on his album and he played this beat and I kept dancing to it,” she recalls with a smile. “A month later, he calls me and says: ‘that beat you were dancing to - I’m not going to use it. Do you want it?’ I was like: great!
"I have the perfect idea for it. It’s going to be all girls, we’re going to be twerking - there are no more twerk songs. I knew we needed a song for the girls and I put my girls on.”
Ms Cosmo is on tour promoting the single and she’s still on radio.
She’s still a perfectionist but now, she’s not the only one who sees why she has to be. As to whether she’s got an album coming or not, this is where Ms Cosmo leaves it: “We’ll see where Ay Baby takes me. If it’s an album then it’s an album but I’m just having fun for now.”
* Follow @MsCosmoDJ for the tour details.