A few weeks ago I bumped into Speedy at King Shaka International Airport and he played me his new track. It was surprising how un-Speedy it sounded.
Called Dressed to Kill, it is based on the current electro/hip hop sound of the nanosecond. It is catchy, with just the right amount of empty shallow-as-a-puddle-of-spit lyrics to make any club rock out. Naturally, some of the vocal parts are delivered in the prerequisite style of right now.
Speedy proudly told me that the track was produced by Oskido’s 16-year-old son, Bass.
Intrigued by this latest development on the music scene, I just had to meet the son of South Africa’s most prolific music producer who, in turn, has decided to produce music.
So Speedy invited me to the video set for Dressed to Kill, at the Pyramid Studios in Jozi.
On arrival the photographer and I bump into Selwyn in the car park. Here a green screen and a few expensive Chevrolets are waiting patiently for their part in the video to be shot. On the way to the current scene shoot, Selwyn explains that he is there to support Speedy because they go way back.
In the courtyard models are freezing their sexy butts off in skimpy outfits while having their make-up done.
Inside the Pyramid cameras, lights and directors are focusing on the action that is Speedy in a dark lift. He is doing his Speedy thing in the Speediest of Speedy outfits ever. Like, dude, the ba-ling! He even has a big silver skull as a belt buckle hanging right over his crotch and dangerous gothic spikes around his wrists. He ain’t messin’ around ta-day!
After the shoot he welcomes us in his sweet Speedy way because Speedy, for all his posing behind those glasses, is a very sweet and polite person.
“Is there anything I can get you?” he asks with genuine concern.
Tssh, like which star does that on his own video shoot?
Just then Winnie Khumalo, Kalawa record label stablemate Skhokho and Zone 14 actor Innocent Masuku arrive.
“Ai, guys, I’m gonna kill you,” says Winnie before turning to me and saying: “I was on my way home and these boys just kidnapped me to come to this shoot.”
Skhokho and Innocent merely giggle, help themselves to the food and turn their attention to the dancers and models. The models are FHM models, says Speedy. Of course they are. The shoot continues when a girl in a little black number arrives and enters the lift with Speedy. On “Action!” Speedy starts trying to chat up the girl, who responds shyly.
Director of the video, Bruce Patterson of Pilot Films, explains the concept of the video: “It’s a club video and it is everything that is typical of Speedy – girls, bling, cars. Speedy picks up the girl in a lift and exposes her to his lifestyle. She eventually gives in and they drive off into the bright lights.”
That Speedy has chosen a hip producer is of no doubt. Patterson is a former Live producer and has directed videos for artists such as Teargas, JR and, more recently, The Graeme Watkins Project.
Just then the young man of the moment, Bass, arrives with his even younger brother and a minder. He’s just come straight from school.
While the 11-year-old brother is an Oskido double, Bass does not resemble Daddy. He is thin and has that typical teenage shyness.
I take Bass aside, eager to find out if he will follow in his father’s footsteps. The first thing I discover is that Bass is not some made up homey name, it is his real name on his birth certificate.
“I was 13 when I made my first music track with my best friend, Benny Mfisa. We have over 100 songs recorded.”
He spells the name of their outfit – Apacolipto. (Eish, their parents spend so much money on private schools and they still want to spell like semi-literate African-American kids from the projects.)
Anyway, Bass not only produced Dressed to Kill, he also features on the track. It is his first commercial release as a producer and an artist.
“Speedy wanted something new and fresh, which is why he came to me,” says Bass. “I recorded the song in my bedroom because that is where I work. For this track I tried to come up with something new, something that could go international. I dream big.”
Knowing your goals and dreams are fluid during your teenage years, does Bass intend to follow in Oskido’s footsteps? He seems uncertain. It is clear he loves music when he says: “I want to make the world dance.” But in the next breath he says something different. “I want to get into the business of fashion after school.”
The dancers are grinding their stuff on a raised platform and that is my cue to leave. On our way out, I ask Speedy where this song will be positioned in his career.
“The point of this song is to prove to the public that I am versatile and can do whatever I want artistically,” he replies.
“This song is not part of an album. It is available on download and is keeping me out there while I am recording my new album.”
With this song burning up the airwaves, it’s not only working for Speedy, it may just have introduced South Africa to a new talent in the form of Bass Mdlongwa.
Only time will tell.