Fresh off stage, after a crazy performance at the Basha Uhuru festival in June, the clique Revivolution slowly gathered around for an interview.
Revivolution is a hip hop collective based in Joburg that is composed of six members, a producer and a graphic designer. They make music and videos that tell a vibrant, urban, inner-city narrative with refreshingly skillful raps. The people behind the clique are Illite MC, Tony Dangler, Impropoe, FuSion, Inferno and Tommy L.
Revivolution members are known through their individual grind, with some members already having a following as independent musicians. Rappers like Impropoe and Tony Dangler have been in the rap game for way too long to be seen as newcomers. It all started back in high school, where they were involved in the Ghandi Square movement. “Hip hop ciphers was our gathering spots. We battled each other. At a later stage we were like, ‘Yho! Let’s all come together and form a clique. That’s how Revivolution came about,” they said.
Every hip hop group has their own unique style of delivery and Revivolution prides themselves on being different. “We brought the true boom-bap music in like a realistic way. It’s not just everybody trying to spit 16 bars. We got six people doing that on every single joint.” Boom-bap was a popular style of hip hop in the eastern United States during the 1990s. The sound originated in the mid-to-late 1980s.
For some time I felt Revivolution were exclusive to a particular market, more underground and not mainstream, but the group said it aims to target all ages of trendy and open-minded people. FuSion shares his thoughts: “We should never limit ourselves because we’re creating something. We might create for [underground fans] but it ends up going to a wider market. I think putting ourselves in a box limits us.”
Revivolution is not signed to any record label, meaning they don’t enjoy the perks of a publicist and distribution networks.“We do a lot and we [are] very fortunate to be backed up by Grime Town, which is like a media company that does a lot. We’re mostly dependent on Grime Town to do the work for us,” said one of the members. Revivolution also produces videos, which they share on the internet for listeners to access their work.
The group’s mission is to push a new wave of artists in South Africa. “If we can collaborate with a visual artist, then we can even try to educate hip hop cats,” said Tommy L. They are trying to encourage young kids to go out there and do it for themselves, not wait to be signed by a record company. “There are couple of crews that are already doing it, look at BoyznBuck$, Ill Skillz and Revivolution just to mention a few. People must just do it and stop waiting to be signed,” they said.
According to the clique, the reason why other groups collapse is because a lot of people get together coincidentally. Illite MC said, “Well, we [are] all dependent on each other.” Tony Dangler added, “I am because, we are.”
Revivolution is currently trying to get radio airplay and focusing on their individual work. Illite MC recently dropped a mixtape titled Straight Outta Grime Town available for download on Audiomack. Impropoe is dropping his in July.
Revivolution is on a mission to dominate SA hip hop, taking the music to where it began, boom-bap style!
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Photography by: @KingOblivy