On a normal occasion, I doubt anyone would want to stay at work past their knock-off time. So for me to be hanging around in the Livity Africa offices past business hours could only mean one thing, someone awesome was coming. As the room fills with a large crowd of Braam fashioned youths, Alloysious Massquoi, Kayus Bankole and “G” Hastings, otherwise know as Young Fathers, are chilling on a big black couch, ready to tackle their meet and greet. We chat with them about staying original, racism and advice on the music industry.
Each of the guys have their own unique style, Alloysious wears traditionally classic urban outfit (plain shirt with skinny jeans), Kayus sports a septum piercing, while “G” Hastings dons a black leather jacket with fringed sleeves. These are the sort of guys that can make any guy jealous and any girls heart flutter, they’re the cool kids at the party.
If you look up Young Fathers on the internet, you’ll find description of the band being an “alternative rap” group. Don’t expect the same answer if you ask them in person though. “What is Young Fathers about… We haven’t figured that out yet,” Alloysious confesses, leaving the crowd chuckling at his honesty. Though we may not know exactly what the three friends from Edinburgh music genre is, we do know they have a good sense of humour. When asked about living in Scotland the simple reply was “it’s cold,” while “G” Hastings playfully gets up midway through the meet and greet to re-enact the first time the soon to be friends and co-workers met back when they were sixteen. The boys have a cheeky sense of humour to go with their musical talent.
Young Fathers is not your typical rap group, and they know it. “The stuff that we do isn’t commercial.” Young Fathers tackle serious subject matters in their lyrics and sound. One will not find rapping about “side bae’s”, or “popping bottles” in the club with this group. New listeners can be in for something different, when listening to Young Fathers for the first time. “We do meet people that need convincing,” for some artists this would mean changing who they are to please the public and fit the mould for their particular music genre. The band that has been going strong for over a decade have not forgotten who they are. This is the ultimate musical bromance. Young Fathers keep true to themselves, “we don’t follow anyone,” and one has to believe this has been the key to their success. The group recently won the Barclay Mercury Prize, proving originality in the music industry is key.
Young Fathers have also pushed the expectation of rap music. Their new album: ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’ addresses racial injustices, which we as South Africans can relate to, especially looking at our history. The band displays that being a musician is about using your voice as a platform to be an advocate for what one believes in. Young Fathers explores the idea that racism has not ended, but is instead being swept underneath society’s proverbial carpet. The group wants to confront this problem, “you have to talk about it,” Alloysious said on the topic of race. growing up in predominately white Edinburgh, Alloysious and “G” Hastings of Young Fathers faced their own moments of racism growing up, “the world is not equal,” and they acknowledge this, however they are hoping that by confronting the subject of race with their new album title, they’ll get people talking about race and make the subject less emotive.
When asked about what advice would the band and their manager Tim would give to any aspiring artist this is what they had to say:
1) Make music: if nobody hears what you do, you won’t get discovered.
2) Be passionate and love what you’re doing.
3) Be original.
We all know that following your creative dreams may not leave most parents jumping for joy. When asked about they’re parents, the group agreed that if you love music enough, it will work out for you, “your parents just wanna see you happy.”
After the meet and greet with Young Fathers, one is left with the feeling that the group from Edinburgh will be one of our generations trail blazers. They’ve got the looks, charm, passion, charisma but most importantly talent. They’re pushing the boundaries of rap music and teaching us how to not let society dictate how we should live our lives. One has to acknowledge that if three men from Scotland are willing to fight for equality, we should be fighting for whatever we believe in on our own land. As said by the guys,” the world isn’t perfect, do what you want, don’t be scared.”
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