South African rapper Khuli Chana has partnered with Jeep Apparel for their first Grit stories series. The collaboration, which started with the Basadi music video, sees the Motswakoriginator share his story of how he got into the music business.
Coming from Maftown, a small town in Mafikeng where a lot of great musicians and athletes are born, the rapper knew that he had to make it.
He reminisced about his first show.
“This auditorium vibe just takes me back to my first show ever. I had a bit of a buzz in my neighbourhood, but no one had ever heard me rap, you know. So what they did, they had me as a surprise, they came on stage, did their thing and in the middle of the track, ram bam, I came from the back. Everybody loses their minds … it was crazy,” he said.
With the hunger and the passion to make it in the rap game, he left home for greener pastures, but things weren’t as easy as he thought. However, he kept pushing and remained true to his roots.
“Early in 2000 we moved from Maftown, small town to the concrete jungle. We came in the game rapping in Setswana. Doing it in Setswana wasn’t cool at all, nobody was trying to sign Motswako artists. I think the toughest part for me was not having a place to stay. I pretty much crashed on everybody’s couch. I remember the time when I lived in the studio for almost a year,” the artist recalled.
He went on to talk about his first album and the song that changed his life forever.
“If you listen to my first album, all I talk about is never wanting to be broke, ever again. Right after we put out No More Hunger my whole life changed. I spoke things into existence. I spoke about doing international shows, touring, and creating destiny. I couldn’t afford to lose because I just wasn’t willing to go back to Mafikeng,” he admitted.
After being rejected by every major label, doing it independently, he finally made history when his project became the first hip hop album to win the best album of the year at the South Africa Music Awards.
When asked about the secret to his success, he said: “Having that resilience and that patience, that’s the secret”.
Khuli Chana features in Jeep’s latest collection.