Pretoria-born and bred rapper Rouge is undoubtedly one of the country’s most exciting rappers right now. Her debut single, “Party,” which she released at the end of 2014, reached the number one spot on national radio station 5FM’s hip hop show The Stir Up. The big-haired, punchy lyricist’s latest single, “Mi Corazon,” has also received heavy rotation so far. Having just completed a degree in film and drama, the rapper of Congolese descent says, “I’m 100% focused on my music now. I was lucky that after school everything fell into place. I’ve been releasing a few singles, like ‘Party’ and ‘Mi Corozon,’ but I’m pushing to drop my album at the end of September.”
What do you think of the landscape in SA?
I think it’s fantastic. It’s amazing how hip hop has come into the foreground and it’s an interesting time to be in the hip hop music industry now.
How do you let your South African-Congolese heritage come through in such an American genre?
By the stories that I tell; I’m a storyteller. I don’t like talking about what I don’t know about, and what I do know about is where I come from. So this comes through in my lyrics and the instruments. I love incorporating drums and French, where I can.
What do you think of female rappers on the scene?
I don’t think that we have been delivering in the past. It’s been tough but I think that it’s an opportunity for us to take over. Especially now, it’s the best time to be a female rap artist.
Do you think the structures within the local industry support women in rap?
I don’t think it did before, but now it does. We weren’t delivering before, as I said, therefore I think there weren’t any structures for us. Where as now, I think everyone wants to hear what we have to say. Now we’re trending.
Who are some of your favourite female rappers?
I really love Gigi Lamayne, she is someone I can’t deny. Lyrically, she is strong. Nadia Nakai, you can’t write off. She’s been there for a long time and has kept herself relevant. Those are the two that have really set the mark for us female rappers now.