DJ Switch. Picture: Taariq Mather
Few successful South African hip hop artists have used their platform as a launch pad for up-and-coming artists like DJ Switch has. 

In 2015, he famously featured then relatively unknown rapper Nasty C on his single, Way It Go alongside veteran MC Tumi Molekane (now Stogie T) and Cape Town’s wildly popular YoungstaCPT. Way It Go put Nasty C on the map and, two years later, he’s one of the biggest rappers on the continent.

Switch’s latest single, On The Way, looks like it may offer yet another glimpse into the future of SA hip hop. This time around Switch featured two promising young artists, Dee XCLSV and Luna Florentino.

“I’ve been watching The Hustle and getting certain artists plugging in - like Shane (Eagle), who I did Now or Never with. With On The Way I was working with someone from Rustenburg called Luna Florentino, who I’ve just been chatting to for the last year sending beats back and forth. I also wanted to get my favourite rapper off The Hustle - Dee XCLSV. Then I found out he’s also from Rustenburg and they know each other.”

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Dee and Luna, both 21, have been bubbling under for a few years now. As Switch found out, they’ve also worked together on a lot of music, including collaborating on a project earlier in the year titled Pi**** off the Neighbours.

“I thought Maraza with his lyrical content would definitely compliment these guys,” Switch says of adding Maraza to the song. “On The Way is something that motivates young artists to get their grind on and remain consistent. With Maraza being a vet who’s been doing this for over 10 years and showing that he got his way by staying on the course, I think it made sense.”

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Switch clearly thinks highly of Dee, and with good reason. He isn’t the only industry bigwig who’s a fan of the artist who placed fifth on Vuzu’s The Hustle. During the show, award-winning rapper Kwesta singled out Dee as a future star.

Last week, on his 21st birthday, Dee announced that he would soon be releasing his debut single, Flex Life, and that the song would feature Kwesta. It’s exciting times ahead.

Dee said: “Working with DJ Switch was dope man He showed a lot of love and dropped a lot of jewels.”

On The Way isn’t one of those conventional trap songs that’ve been flooding the radio of late. The production may fit that bill, but in terms of lyrical content it’s a cut above the rest. Dee and Maraza, both known for their lyrical abilities, exchange two sharp, clever verses. “We didn’t go for mumble raps, we went for people who can rap,” says Switch.

Luna Florentino is responsible for the catchy, singsong hook. He also produced the beat under his production alias, The Urban Lunatic. A former sound engineering student, Luna is a versatile artist who has already worked with the likes of Rouge and Ganja Beats.

I ask Luna about working with DJ Switch. “It’s been a great learning experience for me. It’s been over a year since he reached out to me and we’ve covered a lot. Music isn’t the only thing we’ve been working on, he’s also been helping me find my feet in the music industry.”

With the momentum behind him right now, Luna aims to capitalise on this platform by releasing his mixtape, Florentino Mariachi, on September 4. If his track record is anything to go by, Switch may have uncovered our next two SA hip hop stars.

@ShingaiDarangwa

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