“You can’t expect loyalty from a simple one. Coz these days girls, they call themselves hoes. I’m outchea tryna find myself real woman. I just need one that supports my goals… My ride or die… ”
These are the words sung by Clive Kabo Nyakudzi that prompted this interview aimed at finding out more about his budding career as entertainment’s jack of all trades.
Clive describes himself as “a Mafikeng born, English speaking Shona boy from Kempton Park born and raised in South Africa by a Tswana mom and a Shona dad.” All in all, he says he stands for everything that his upcoming EP “The Greater Fool” is about.
From being called C-Live from the age of four to having his inner Casanova named C-Livin’ in high school – where he also went through quite a number of underground rap artist nick names, Clive grew up and settled for LIIVN. I guess one could say that the name encapsulates the entirety of his artistic persona. He went on to explain that the two ‘I’s’ stand for his belief in second chances. He views South Africa as “a country of second chances” and that it fuels his belief in rebirth and reinventing yourself… “LIIVN [also] signifies Clive part two.”
At his core, LIIVN says that he is a wordsmith – rapper, writer, public speaker. Which is made pretty evident by the avalanche of adjectives he stringed together in his verbose description of who he is. Two sides to a man with so many talents…
Clive once got the chance to speak to his hero (ProVerb) about being a jack of all trades the first time that he met him. He asked him was what he has to say to people who tell him that he is doing too much and Pro told him [as Clive paraphrased]:
“Cast your net as far and as wide as you can… So if you can rap, rap. If you can act, act and rap. If you can model; rap, act and model… Do all of it. Yes, some people are the jack of all trades and a master of none but why not be a jack of all trades and a master of all of them?”
And so he has been trying to do just that ever since.
The opening quote at the top of this article is from LIIVN’s debut track “Ride or Die.” In the song, he covertly asks an important question: do girls use terms such as ‘bad bitch’ and ‘hoe’ on themselves in the same way that black people use the word ‘Nigga’? In order to reclaim the word?
Anyway, I digress (slightly)… LIIVN attributes his inspiration for Ride or Die to every girl he has ever dated as well some of the girls that he has met in passing. Every single one of them inspired some kind of thought which he eventually either turned into a piece of writing or a song.
“Okay, if you’re saying that you don’t call yourselves hoes then what do you call yourselves? Like, don’t you say ‘oh, that’s my bitch!’? Or you know, ‘we are bad bitches and we turn up and we drink watermelon’ which no one really knows what that is but apparently that’s what they do.”
That is also linked to what he calls the confusing double standard of our generation. Women are all about being independent and fighting against chauvinism but “we are gonna call ourselves that which guys call us when they are being sexist…” says Clive. This confusion got to a point where LIIVN felt the need to ask the main question in his song on his social media feeds. Even if that is what is happening though, he is categorically against that idea. He just wants to know where we draw the line with this double standard?
With the notions of ‘bad bitches’ and ‘hoes’ comes the notion of a ‘real woman.’ I asked LIIVN what his definition of a real woman is and why he thinks men think they have the right to define it. He began by prefacing the song, which he says is about what the EP is generally about. Created with the aim to spark dialogue between peer, race and gender groups, he knew “right off the bat that anything we said on that particular subject was either going to be seen as us being misogynists or chauvinists …”
He then continues, saying “a real woman is relative… it depends on what you want. Some guys think that a real woman just says ‘yes’ to everything, allows him to buy her everything and sustain her. Right? That’s what some people define as a real woman while others think it’s a perfect combination of an independent woman that is all about being independent while still wanting to look after her man…”
“A real woman wants to see the relationship grow and she just compliments that which you are and that which you have.”
Inspired by one of his favourite TV series “The Newsroom,” the latest focus of his artistic repertoire is The Greater Fool. Clive got the title from a scene in which the character Sloan Sabbath walks up to the main anchor of the series and calls him the “Greater Fool.” He then describes it as the type of person who is disillusioned yet confident enough to believe that they will be the one to succeed where no one else has.
Among the dialogue on the semantics and terminology attached to women and the idea of ‘the greater fool,’ Clive also aims to bring back the values that he feels people have forsaken. “There is some sort of moral base that being Christian has given me” he begins, and then goes on to explain that it is a moral base that he believes stretches even further than Christianity itself. It says that ‘certain things are obviously wrong and detrimental to society and certain things are obviously right…”
Speaking to him gave me the impression that he has this grand vision for his EP, so I asked him to elaborate his plan for it.
“I’m gonna put it out for free all for the sake of putting out a really good body of work for as many people as possible to hear” he explains. “All the other stuff is nice I guess… I mean radio interviews and stuff but at its core, I hope that it is just something that people take and pass on…” he explains.
And adds “the general message is going to be; let us be anarchists of the mind.”
Because he believes that we are “living in an age where we have more information [about everything] but we just don’t seem to be using it.” He adds that he feels as though “we are giving people a license to stop thinking. We are saying it’s fine, if you are a yellow bone and you are tall, you don’t have to go to school, you can just be hot. Some ANC, DA, EFF, BEE guy can scoop you up and buy you a Mini Cooper and you can live life as if you have earned that which you are living off of.”
With all this ambition, passion, drive and vision, LIIVN definitely has it in him to make “The Greater Fool” work…. As an EP and as an approach to whatever artistic endeavour he might find himself involved in.
Words by: @Kay_Tatyana