As we’re nearing the end of 2016, one thing’s for sure, the producer, singer and rapper Anatii has had one hell of a year. He dropped his debut album Artiifact and brought RnB heartthrob Omarion on his Artiifact Tour. The duo recently released the video for their song “Tell Me”.
Anatii has also bagged two nominations at the South African Hip Hop Awards, for best video and best collabo for the song “Jump”, which features hip-hop sensation Nasty C.
Anatii has been producing hits for your favourite artists
We’re sitting in his studio, probably one of the places he feels most comfortable in, if you consider that he’s been making beats since he was 16. The first big hit he produced was L-Tido’s 2010 single “When It Rains.”
Since then, Anatii has become one of the biggest South African hip-hop producers, producing hits such as L-Tido’s “We Ain’t Leaving”, Cassper Nyovest’s “Bad One”, Chad Da Don’s “Hola”. In 2010, he worked with DJ Khaled on the track called “Bananaz”. He also produced most of DJ Dimplez’s Zeal album in 2014.
On his 17-track album, Artifact, released in September, Anatii featured Omarion, Tiwa Savage, AKA, Nasty C, Uhuru and Faarrow. Artiifact is a piece of art, as the name states. He produces, sings and raps, and does all of them well. The album straddles genres like afrobeats, pop, RnB and trap, but still has an underlying sonical uniformity.
Artiifact was long overdue. The artist says he waited this long to drop his debut album because he wanted to ensure it was a priceless work of art. “I had to ensure that everything was organic,” he says, “so my collaborations and the process itself were organic. It was meant to be released last year this time, but the timing wasn’t right.”
The album’s cover is minimalistic yet effective, as it sells the artefact concept, with a golden sculpture of Anatii. For Anatii, the graphics and videos are as important to him as the music itself. “I spent countless hours on the visuals and the themes,” he says. “My music is really personal in terms of the kind of effort I put into it.’’ Anatii insists this album is not a reflection of the events in his own life, but a compilation of what’s happening globally on the social and cultural scene.
To promote the album, the artist toured the country and spent seven weeks preparing for it. “Putting together a show of that magnitude was life-changing,” he says. “Preparing the repertoire I was going to perform, and mixing it with Omarion’s visuals and production.
“I met Omarion through a friend,” he says. “I walked into the studio and he was playing some new music and he was just like, ‘Plug out,’ so I plugged in my laptop and played ‘Hours’, and he got vocals on that.” The impromptu session led to more songs that are in Anatii’s archives.
Does he really charge R80, 000 for a beat, though?
AKA, on his 2015 song “Composure”, rapped: “I’m the only reason fans had ‘The Saga’ on repeat/ Now you wanna charge me 80, 000 for a beat.” I ask Anatii if he really charges R80, 000 for a beat, and he admits he used to. He further explains that his rates depend on the magnitude of the production. However he adds that he wouldn’t work with anyone just for the big bucks; a good vibe is what dictates who he works with. “If you had a certain flavour that I could only get specifically from you, then sure, that’s more important than money. Money will sort itself out later,” he says.
Anatii says, when he’s not creating music, he’s creating visuals, throwing around ideas for his clothing range or taking pictures. When asked how he remains relevant, he insists that’s not his main concern. “I’m always in the process of creating. So whether it’s relevant or not, I’ll never stop,” he says.
He’s already started working on his next album and will be dropping more visuals for Artiifact in 2017. Could 2017 be his year too?
On the video below, Anatii talks about how he chooses his features, his Artiifact Tour, the response to his album and more.
Image courtesy of Anatii
You can get Artiifact on iTunes