#2:. Chazz Le Hippie
Energetic Chaz Le Hippie might be fairly new to the South African rap industry, but she’s already made her mark on it. Crowned the “Queen of Street Rap” last year, the 17-year-old – who is completing her last year of high school – says she wants to focus on her studies before seriously putting her brand out. But that’s too late, because the West Rand, Johannesburg-based rapper is already getting heavy airplay and performance time. With her fast-paced raps, Chaz mixes up the local language seTswana and English, a South African rap sub-genre known as Motswako.
Why did you steer towards a motshwako sound?
For me, motshwako wasn’t a choice, it’s how I developed my talent at [my label] Mawaza studio, which is where I was surrounded by a lot of motshwako rappers. There I learnt how amazing our mother tongue is and how it can tell a story. So I made a transition from an English rapper to a motshwako rapper.
How would you describe motshwako?
It’s a mixture of everything. I would define it as a language that doesn’t define your boundaries.
Can you tell us more about your title, Queen of Street Rap?
In 2014 I was crowned the Queen of Street Rap in Soweto [at a festival held by hip hop event Slaghuis]. It was competition and I battled over 10 female rappers. So now, there’s a documentary being shot about it and I’ll be featuring in it as the Queen of Street Rap.
Cool. And would you mind sharing your thoughts on SA’s rap culture?
The SA hip hop culture and fraternity is developing immensely especially the interest in us female rappers. This is definitely going to be an interesting year for us as it has been labeled as our year. I’ll still be on top of my game and authentic on all levels.
And what about being a female rapper?
I feel that any female rapper could tell you that the rap industry is a male-dominated one. It’s very hard for women in the industry. On the one hand it’s wonderful experience because people anticipate your raps as a woman because you’re something new, especially in South Africa. But on the other hand it’s not easy, because the media platform perceive female rappers in a certain way. And I feel that if you don’t fit into that category then there’s not much exposure for you.