Oskido has released several albums as the Mixmasters and as a part of the duo, Brothers of Peace, with the severely underrated Bruce Dope Sebitlo. In the new millennium, he released an album a year for 10 years under the Church Grooves title.
Most recently, as a solo artist, he has produced and presented his signature vocals on albums that have become philosophies that he lives by. I Believe is a perfect example. Whether he hashtags it or names shows and other things after it, belief in himself and a higher power is a big part of what’s kept Oskido’s name relevant.
On the title track of his latest album, Nokwazi sings a sentiment that rings true to Oskido: That all who have problems or need help come to him because he makes things happen. On the album opener, Amagrootman, Oskido is adamant that we have to listen to the kids, bro. But he also implores us to salute those who came before them.
Hater One Side (featuring Bucie) appears early on the album, as well as a slower version that closes the album and is titled I’m Blessed. In between Bucie’s sublime voice that is full of gratitude, Oskido repeats that the Lord has blessed him.
“Oh, that’s a hot track,” he exclaims after I mention Hater One Side. “I love that track! I wrote the song with Bucie and it was a very emotional time. She told me this story about how she gave birth to her first child and the child was premature. But we said: ‘the fact that the child is now healthy is good, you’re blessed.’ ”
Both of these songs are a message to the haters and a praise song to their maker. “If you check, I always want to adapt to changes because if you stick to one thing, it becomes a problem,” says Oskido. “If you want to be successful, you have to have the ability to change. We did the up tempo song, but I felt the down tempo is back on air and people are feeling it now.”
Ngci (which is fast paced) and its down-tempo reprise that appears towards the end of the album is a slow burn of a track that will become a scorcher soon. The message of the song is about knocking on doors that remain shut to you, but through perseverance, you finally win. I ask Oskido about some of the doors that have been closed in his face.
“What helped me get into the music industry was starting Kalawa,” he says while cutting his omelette. “We had recorded Boom Shaka and even BOP, and we had this demo, and we’d go to major record labels, and they would always say no to us.
“That made us think and we started to press the cassettes ourselves and took to the streets to sell them and market ourselves. Me and Christos (Katsaitis, veteran DJ and label co-founder) were big in the DJ game and worked a lot with the tertiary institutions, and that’s where aboLebo would perform. People loved it! That’s how we kicked down those doors.”
Oskido will perform alongside 80 artists over six days, at the Red Bull Music Festival in Joburg in April. Here, he and the likes of DJ Tira are being honoured for the indelible mark they’ve made on music as pioneers.
“That’s good,” Oskido says about the fest. “It’s good to be honoured. I also love that South African artists will be able to showcase their art, so the masses can see what they can offer.”
* The Red Bull Music Festival takes place at various venues in Johannesburg from April 3 to 8.