It’s true that Africa is blessed with a wealth of creativity and talent, and the rest of the world wants a piece of it.
This much is evident as I chat to the South African rapper and producer from Rustenburg, Koketso Ramafuthula, best known as Luna Florentino.
Having worked with the likes of Rouge, Ganja Beatz, Maraza, Tweezy and Red Button, Luna has branched out and collaborated with Felix Morton and Oshee from the US.
He explains that a few years ago, before he blew up, he reached out to the duo on social media. “I first reached out to Felix through YouTube. Felix then told Oshee about me. I did one song for Felix and, (for) Oshee, I did two songs on his mixtape.”
He says he doesn’t have any regrets about giving his music away for free and was grateful for the experience.
“I was very young at the time. I didn’t really understand the business side of the industry - that when you do a song with someone, you have to discuss the royalty splits. I didn’t understand that there is a fee people pay producers up front. For me it was, like, ‘yoh, this dude wants to work and he’s from the US; let me send all my beats. I wasn’t thinking about all that stuff. They did, however, credit my work”.
Now that he knows better, what would he do differently?
“I don’t think I’d do anything differently because we learn from our mistakes and I have learnt my lesson. The way that I approach the business is different now. The way I approach studio sessions, for example - just something as basic as time. A lot of us when we’re coming up, we’re usually late for a lot of things, so that’s something I learnt with experience.”
And what’s his advice for young creatives out there who are probably giving their music away for free, in the hope of getting recognised?
“Music is business. Education is key: read books. The information is out there, but it’s not in your face. You must go and find the pieces and put together your own book.
“Also, it would help if we could have more interviews with the guys who make the moves behind the scenes, like artist managers, so we can get the business perspectives. That’s how I learn. I watch a lot of interviews because that’s where people drop gems - that’s where you start realising all these type of deals.”
The 22-year-old rapper recently dropped the single and video, Florentino Mariachi. He says he has no plans to release an album “anytime soon”. Instead, his next focus is growing his fan base and taking his music globally.
“I’m working on getting my music beyond Africa and to the rest of world. I want to elevate South African hip hop and become more than just an artist. At some point I’m going to become the platform for the next generation.”
Luna’s breakthrough in the industry was in 2016, and some of his notable achievements include producing and featuring on DJ Switch’s single On The Way, which features Maraza and Dee XCLSV.
He then dropped his EP, also titled Florentino Mariachi.
On where he draws his inspiration, Luna give props to some of the legends in the musical sphere.
“Before I started listening to hip hop, I used to listen to a lot of house music - and a lot of Pretoria funk - DJ Mojava and DJ Bojo Mujo. I was also a DJ Fresh fan and DJ Cleo. My mom had DJ Cleo’s Eskhaleni I was young then, but I knew I liked the music.
“Those were my biggest South African influences. Before I started listening to local hip hop, I started with international artists like Eminem, Lil Wayne and a bit of Snoop Dogg.
If he wasn’t a musician, Luna suggests he would still have found some way to be connected to the industry. Music is undoubtedly in his blood.
“I’d be a beat maker or a producer. If I couldn’t produce, I’d mix and master, so I’d be a sound engineer,” he explains.
“I’m all three right? So my plan A is the whole music thing, plan B is designed to make plan A work and plan C is to make plan B work, which will make plan A work. So I will always be in the music space, and if I can’t use my ears and my voice, I would probably be a music manager or label owner.”
And where to from here?
“Straight to the top,” says Luna.
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