He won a mentor-ship programme with South African Hip Hop superstar, AKA as part of the 2012 BlackBerry campus tour competition last year and got an opportunity to open for hip hop superstar, Kid Cudi earlier this year. He’s currently UCT’s BlackBerry campus ambassador and one of the most promising rappers in South Africa and yes, he’s under 25. Repping Durban to the fullest, X The Green Panther (real name, Xolani Dludla) took some time between his busy lecture schedule and shared some thoughts with us.
LIVE: Who is X The Green Panther?
X: X The Green Panther is Xolani Dludla, a rapper from KZN/Durban, Umlazi who is currently pursuing a degree in the Bachelor of Social Sciences at the University of Cape Town.
LIVE: What does your rap name mean?
X: ‘X’ is Obviously Xolani, ‘Green’ and ‘Panther’ essentially stem from the wilderness in the sense that I have an appreciation for nature and how it mediates and sustains it’self along with the animals that occupy it. I try to look at myself as a non-conformist in that regard while also realising that my behaviour and content is shaped by my surroundings and thus when rapping, the idea is to reflect that.
LIVE: Could you describe your music?
X: My music is aimed at drawing content from everyday experiences and I construct it in a witty way that will enable ease of information intake. I try to be as funny as I can be sometimes because I personally believe that an art-form such as music should make you smile to some extent. It’s based on experiences and also focuses a lot on my up-bringing, family and “friends”.
LIVE: You do a lot of things, you rap, you are a campus BlackBerry ambassador, a father, a goat owner and you are also a student. How do you balance all that?
X: [Laughs] “Goat Owner”! They stole my goat yo! But on the real, I would be lying if I said I have an order in which I do things and that sometimes impedes my progress. I always want to get the short-term commitments out of the way so that I can always revisit my long-term commitments. with rap, I decided to take a back-seat this year and play more of a spectator role since that was the cause of me not graduating last year.
LIVE: Early this year, you announced that you’d commit to the X-File series but it vanished after a few ‘pages’. What happened? Was that you ‘taking a back-seat’?
X: I’ll be honest about this. I decided to take the back-seat the moment I received my results last year. But since I am a competitive rapper sometimes and feared losing relevance or whatever buzz I had, I teamed-up with a few friends to start the “X-Files Sessions” and as successful as they were and kept the people engaged, I felt like I was giving without purpose and abusing the resources that were benevolently provided for my use. Also, I needed to grow, I needed to experience more, focus on school and other aspects of growth. I realized that the “buzz” I feared to lose was nothing for me. I have a son, granny and brother that need me to do something for the family. Screw the Buzz, rather i take time to grow and come back to the people with something worth investing more than just getting a buzz from.
LIVE: Surely, opening for Kid Cudi was your rap career’s biggest highlight. How was that experience?
X: [Laughs] Kid Cudi and X Collabo? um…ja neh.. As for the experience, it was beyond amazing. So amazing that even when we went back to the hotel to sleep, I couldn’t I kept on looking at the pictures me and my camera guy had taken. Also it was just another reminder that if I work hard enough, there are people out there who will do what they can to support me. With that being said, let me just thank everyone who supports my music and passion. I really owe all the good I’ve had to them. Back to the experience, I was surrounded by a handful of SA rap celebs and they all treated me with so much warmth and love. It was surreal.
LIVE: How was your mixtape, Cheese & Mayo received? And what did it do for your career?
X: I think it was well received. I got what I expected and hoped to get from that mixtape. From radio stations in Durban (Gagasi FM) to radio stations in Cape Town (Bush Radio and UCT Radio) it got plays, I got to be booked for performances and actually have something to share with the people, I made it to the cover of the YouCT Magazine & I am currently working with an amazing mobile application company called Bozza.mobi and they have given me so much support because of the content they heard from that tape. Therefore, I could say that for my career the mixtape gave me the taste of what hard work, creativity and goal-orientation brings. But honestly I think it could’ve done more. But I’m grateful of what I got nonetheless.
LIVE: At this point, where would you say X is in the the South African Hip Hop scene?
X: [Laughs really hard] I am where I should be. I am learning, observing, judging less and understanding more. It’s up to my listeners to position me. My only interest right now is learning as much as I can so that I can better portray my thoughts, feelings and ideas.
LIVE: You recently battled at Battles on The Block. Apart from having a very weak opponent, you did great. Any more battles in the pipeline?
X: About that [laughs]. Firstly, thanks. I called out T.O.P that night because he was the second nicest after me and he said, “Yes.” Later on, I heard he had cancelled it. Then I went to call out Vegita and I’m still waiting for any person to sponsor that battle. I had also made contact with some people and would really like to do Scrambles for Money. And with regards to X & battles, I will make one thing clear, I do not battle for cred, I don’t battle for props or to seem cool. I battle because I need money and also know that I have the passion for battling. So when a rapper calls me out with nothing on the table, I will calmly ignore him and continue with life. I have a son to feed and bills to pay.
LIVE: What do you think of the CT Hip Hop scene especially coming from Durban?
X: It has a lot of good rappers but I don’t like it. It’s too segregated for my liking. I mean, I try to rap wherever I can just to bridge the gap but the truth still remains, there are areas where I rap and get judged for rapping in English when I am black, there are areas where I get judged for being black. People are too stiff and serious here, like I said, music should be a medium in which we utilise to connect but instead I feel like a lot of rappers here in CT wanna rap for their hoods, about their hoods in their hoods and end there.
LIVE: So what’s next for X?
X: I’m planning on releasing my second mixtape next year titled “Hip Hop & Other Drugs” and it is my way of talking about prospects that start with good intentions and end up being bad addictions that blind you from what’s important. The drugs are not drugs for real though [laughs]. I want people to know that much for now, the rest we will see when 2014 arrives.
LIVE: Thanks for your time, b. Any other stuff you wanna add?
X: Vote for Buddha at http://www.studentvillage.co.za/blackberry2013/mentees
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