Scripting Skrypt’s journey

This month marks 47 years since DJ Kool Herc threw a back-to-school party in the Bronx, New York. Instead of playing songs in full, he only played their breaks, while his friend Coke La Rock added the final touch by hyping up the crowd with a mic, and so hip-hop...

14 August 2020 | Art and Entertainment

PULL-QUOTE: “I've always gravitated towards the storytellers of the game and that's exactly what hip-hop became for me - the best form of expression.” - Skrypt

MICHAEL KAYUNDE

WINDHOEK

In joining the world to celebrate the genre that is now the most listened to style of music, tjil reached out to the reigning hip-hop artist in Namibia, Hitji ‘Skrypt’ Katjatenja, for an enlightening conversation about hip-hop in the Namibian context.

In hip-hop, greeting is an important ritual that must be observed as it is a sign of respect, so before our discussion, I asked Skrypt how he has been.

“I'm as good as one can be in a pandemic. On a personal level, I'm truly good. My lifestyle and where I am in life for the past few years makes it easier to function during a time like this.

“On a business level, of course I'm affected like everyone else. Making music hasn't been easy. But tough times never last, only tough people do. So, we move,” he said.

Falling in love with hip-hop

On when he fell in love with this art form and what it means to him, Skrypt said that it’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment when he fell in love with hip-hop because it feels like an accumulation of things.

He added that he is a 90s baby, so his roots don’t go too far into the history of the culture, but he has been blessed to learn as much as he could.

“My earliest memory is Tupac. Tupac was always in my older cousin's speakers. That's when the sound captured me.”

The rapper mentioned that growing up in South Africa, Zola was his idol before the likes of Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem and those who usually make hip-hop top 10 lists today. “I've always gravitated towards the storytellers of the game and that's exactly what hip-hop became for me - the best form of expression. I think it's pretty evident in my own work,” he said.

Pandemic changes things

The last time tjil caught up with Skrypt, he was teasing an EP meant to drop a few months ago.

Now, the project is still being refined.

He emphasised that Covid-19 didn't help his process at all, revealing that while he was 80% done then, that has dropped to 30%.

“So much has happened in the world, it's changed drastically, and so have I.

“There are conversations I had on the EP that don't have the same level of importance for me any more, and more importantly, there are conversations 2020 has compelled me to speak on.

“But it's coming, bear with me,” he promised.

Recognition and wins

Besides working on his EP, Skrypt has recorded a few wins this year, including being nominated in the favourite radio presenter category at the 2020 Simply You Magazine Lifestyle and Fashion Awards and representing Namibia in Stogie-T’s Freestyle Fridays.

On the nomination, the musician said the recognition is already a win, and that taking the trophy home would be icing on the cake.

“Presenting is something I do almost every day, so it's really good to see that I’m not falling on deaf ears. I'm truly grateful to Simply You Magazine.”

Meanwhile, he spoke highly of Stogie-T, stating that it's not every day a legend hits you up out of the blue and asks you to showcase your skills to the world.

“More power to that man. I was in writing mode when he hit me up, so I literally got off the phone with him and started writing. The reception was amazing,” he said.

More work to do

“Oddly enough, the majority of the messages and comments were from South Africa. I thought a lot of Namibians would tune in, but I guess that just means I have a whole lot of work to do.

“I'm nowhere near where I can be,” the ‘No Going Back’ hitmaker said.

Hopefully things come in place to do more work with South African artists, and really Africa at large,” he said.

Future for Nam hip-hop

Skrypt shared that his dream for Namibian hip-hop is to truly be seen. The rapper added that there is a stigma attached to the genre, and admitted that part of it is understandable.

“But there is beauty in the craft that is often overlooked. It really has a potential to be a voice, especially in the Namibian climate now where there is a lot to be said by the people.

“Of course we can talk about Namibian hip-hop being a staple in the African scene, but more than that, I want us to work towards being respected for what we are at the core,” he said.

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