US heavy-hitter Bas is in SA & he’s feeling the local flavour
Born in Paris and raised in Queens, New York, the 31-year-old’s music, which is influenced by the dynamic sounds he was exposed to from a young age, is spreading rapidly into new territories.
Signed to Dreamville Records, the label founded by one of the most popular rappers in the world, J Cole, Bas has often been overlooked over the years.
But things are changing.
On Monday evening, he made a surprise appearance at Castle Lite’s Ultimate Summer Vibe private house party and closed a special evening that also featured performances from Nasty C, Rouge, Moozlie and DJ Ph.
Over the weekend, he also performed at sold-out shows in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg’s The Sands.
“When J Cole came to perform here last year he was visibly shocked when the crowd at The Dome sang his lyrics, word for word. We had that same moment when we were on stage several times during our show. It’s just love, man. Eveyone’s so taped in and tuned in.
“I was telling my bro’ that the show we did at The Sands the other night rivals any show we’ve ever done in the world, including the New Yorks, the Londons, the LAs. I can’t remember a crowd that was louder, livelier, more hype and they were dancing and singing every word.”
He also tells of how he enjoyed Durban and Cape Town in particular.
“Beautiful, beautiful cities. We went on quad bikes at a farm, we went to one of the national parks and saw rhinos and all types of things we would never see at home. Just the natural beauty of this country. Obviously the clubs have been fun, the girls are beautiful. And the people just in general are beautiful people.
“Everyone’s very expressive; everyone’s dancing in the club and having a good time. It’s very warm energy.”
On August 24, Bas released his third studio album, Milky Way. The album debuted at number 35 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than 13000 album-equivalent units in the first week.
The big single off the album is Tribe featuring J Cole.
He explains the process of making the song.
“It was interesting. My guy Childish Major produced it, and I did the hook and the verse, and then I kind of forgot about it. Cole always liked it, I had played it for him and he really rocked with it. I was in Carolina with Cole, and we were just trying to do post-production on some of the songs that I had and he was like: ‘What happened to that song you did with Childish?’.
“I wasn’t even considering Tribe for the album. He was like: ‘leave it with me; let me mess around with the drums and I bet you’re gonna fall in love with it’.”
Bas went upstairs to play video games and when Cole played it for him later, he was blown away.
“Then he was like: ‘I think I wanna get on this one’ and I was like” ‘go for it bro’.”
The result is a silky smooth cut with a lovely South American vibe to it. Before he heads back to New York next month, Bas will be setting up a writing camp here and flying his producers through to work on some new music.
Among his hit list of artists to work with is our very own Shane Eagle, the bright young rapper who made a name for himself with his critically acclaimed, Sama award-winning debut album, Yellow.
Shortly after our interview, Bas expressed interest in working with local Afropop muso Manu WorldStar and the irrepressible Sjava during DJ Sabby’s YFM drivetime show on Tuesday.
I can’t wait to see what comes out of that.