Behold, Benzo! We have a new Kumkanikazi and this week, she’s making her debut on the Weekend Turn Up. Even though Benzo is a newcomer, she’s already taking charge of the alternative hip hop scene in South Africa.
We had the opportunity to get to know her a bit better. She chatted to us about spirituality, what it’s like to be female in the music industry and her goals for 2021. She also shared exclusive details with us about what she’s currently working on.
Here’s Benzo on…
Her process when creating music
When I make music, I either get sent beats beforehand and then I write at home or I write on the spot in the studio or I freestyle. It depends on the person I’m working with. The things I think I’ve mastered in the process of making music are my bars and the type of sound I want to put out there. And making sure I always include my home language, which is isiXhosa.
Being female in the music industry and GBV in South Africa
Being a female in a male-dominated industry, it is difficult because for males, it’s easier to just camp out in studio and just trap out the whole week and release every day. For us females, it’s harder because you have to explain at home why you’re at the studio for so long. You can’t sleep at the studio for so long. And GBV, I think it’s not taken seriously in South Africa and it’s sad because people die every day and there’s no change. People just tweet or say, “yes, we need to do better as males and do better for our females,” but nothing is changing.
One thing she’d change in the industry
What I would change in the industry is what people expect from females. People expect too much. Yes, there are males who do great and yes, we don’t want mediocre songs or raps or lyrics, but we always have to go the extra mile for people to take us seriously in the industry. And males can just put out whatever they want to put out and they’ll still be praised or put on a pedestal.
For me, spirituality is a big part of my life because not only do I believe in God, I also believe in my ancestors. I know that the two can coexist. There’s nothing wrong with understanding your ancestors because they’re always there with you. You can ask God for things and He will bless you, but you can also ask your ancestors for things. I always try to make it clear in my music. People must know – yes, I’m this baddie, I’m a boss – but my ancestors and God must shine through my music.
5 things she can’t live without
Lipgloss, earphones, charger, phone and a pen.
Her 5 favourite hangout spots in SA
Melville, Braamfontein, Camps Bay, Woodstock and Observatory.
Anathi, Thandiswa Mazwai, iFani, Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim.
What she’s working on now
I wasn’t supposed to announce it but the exclusive is here [laughs]. I’m working on an EP with Skolleywood. I’m not going to announce the date yet because it’s going to be a surprise for you guys but stay tuned! You will love it because it’s not like a song that we’ve done before.
Her 2021 goals
My goal for 2021 is to perform overseas at least once, and not just here in South Africa.
Our weekly Weekend Turn Up feature provides new and established South African artists with a platform to tell their stories and share their experiences.