O-NERVE is a South African hiphop artist who recently released his mixtape 2012eXplosion. We caught up and interviewed him about the release and about his music, check it out below!
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview O-NERVE. Can you tell us a bit about your new mix tape ď2012eXplosionĒ?
2012[explosion] is a 14 track mix tape that was inspired by Nostradamus theory about the year 2012 being the beginning of the end, I believe in the musical context the same applies to my career this year- it signifies the beginning of the end. I believe if Iím ever going to blow up I have to take a conscious decision and invest myself, of which the mix tape bears testament to that. My success is inevitable like the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one.
Is there a story behind the mixtapeís title?
Itís a combination of concepts which share one particular meaning, such as 2012 being the year of the cataclysm I believe in hip-hop I am the personified cataclysm only because I am so explosive in everything I do. And secondly it was titled this way because this year is significant in that itís the start of a new and improved me, consistency is my middle name because next year Iíll be releasing something else better and different so I suggest you enjoy this tape while itís still 2012.
What were your major influences in writing and recording 2012eXplosion?
My supporters, those who have been with me since day one and who believed in me ever since. This release is one thatís overdue and I had made a promise to my followers that Iíd deliver which leads me to the second influence of the circumstances Iíve been put under by friends turned foul, they tried to put me down but they can never keep me down I shall prevail.
What is your favourite track from the mix tape?
Find me (None better) Feat. Spliff the Shepard, track 12 on the tape. Because it simply states the fact that you might think that youíre a better emcee but! Nobody does it better than me Ė look it up.
How do you think 2012eXplosion will be received?
I honestly have no idea what people might think. But I hope they can sense the experience and the work Iíve put in and judge me fairly this is a debut and I feel as hard as I have delivered there is still a lot more Iím capable of doing so the masses shouldnít think this project defines me.
How long have you been rapping?
Well, Iíve slowly started losing count but I am somewhere approximately between 11 to 13 years deep in it but Iím just getting started.
What first got you interested in becoming a rapper?
Natural inclination. Iíve always been a creative individual, I was into art, painting, drawing and writing as a kid. I started with poetry for expressing of my deepest desires and conflicts that I was experiencing at the time but hip-hop I was never exposed to until sometime later, after the first time I saw my first Busta Rhymes or Mos Def music video then I started writing rap. Sometime after that,
my cousin who was an emcee also discovered I had hidden potential and attempted to mentor me until I could do things for myself.
What/who inspires your music?
Life experiences and the people around me, the future I envisage for myself and the convictions I have to succeed, in a nutshell those elements combined inspire me immensely.
Do you see being a rapper as a career, or as a hobby?
Career definitely. Iíve been given an uncanny talent of expressing life from an unconventional perspective and sometimes I look back in astonishment on how I did that. And honestly looking at the music industry in South Africa most or some of the prominent artists in the South African music scene today, I am light years better than. Just that they enjoy more publicity then I ever have. And last but not least itís not just a hobby because I donít excel in anything else as fast as I have with hip hop.
What are you trying to do with your music? Do you want to help your community? Are you trying to get rich? What is your goal for your music?
I am trying to make a life changing transition from nothing to something. At least with the hard work I put in I owe myself that much. And as for the community I want to make people believe in me and the things I say, to the point where my words have enough power and influence to bring about change, growth and development. This is a lifelong ambition and itís a calling.
Have you ever performed live? How did it feel?
Wow - I do that all the time. Performing is my heart, the stage is my home and thatís where Iím myself and express myself the best, thatís where I excel and thatís where everybody will agree I make the biggest impact. Forging an incredible set is my line of expertise and all you really want to do is to see me perform your favourite song on stage because that just might offer you a newly ignited perspective on how much you thought you liked the artist I am or the song I performed.
Do you have any kind of management, publishing or distribution team behind you? If so what are their responsibilities?
Audible Braile Entertainment Ė they have extensive duties in representing me to the bigger world where I canít represent myself. They manage all details such as distribution, publishing and marketing. They have many other responsibilities as an artist management company not a record company.
What are some accomplishments that you have achieved, and are most proud of?
I have done a number of things in my time but havenít made any pivotal movements yet. The only factor I can highlight right now that would make me proud as an artist or a person is that, people believe in me Ė I have genuine fans that want to see me succeed. So Iím proud of my whole career so far, Iíve done so much to ever decide on one thing. I have a few regrets though.
Have you ever made any contact with major artists or other high positioned people in the music industry and do you keep in contact with them?
Well, recently I met up with the hottest property in South African hip hop today, ĎAKAí , I had never met the guy before but I was with him in the parking lot at a gig in Port Elizabeth (South Africa). I asked whether I could kick some bars for him and he said yes. As usual he was astonished at my abilities to the point where he offered me his phone number. That moment was an interesting one but as for keeping in touch, I havenít kept in touch and donít know whether the circumstance of me doing that will ever come up anytime soon.
What one tip would you give to other aspiring rappers?
Align yourself with the right people, plus if blood sweat and tears are not secreting out your glands and pores by the time that youíre done then youíre not working hard enough.
What do you see is in the future for the music industry? How do you think it will evolve/change?
We are not creatures that were meant to predict the future and speculation of what should be isnít what I do. All I can say is people follow trends that come and go, only to return again. Nothing is ever really new in this world. But I intend on being the trend and the evolution of the industry depends on whether I work hard enough to turn this trend into a religion.
Do you feel like the internet is helping you as an underground artist?
Yes Ė the internet is the only gateway I truly have at my disposal. Itís the biggest resource I use to communicate with my fans and make potential business deals and its where my presence is felt on a consistent basis. Too many things promote my artistic development through the internet; even international recognition is not far-fetched anymore because of it.
How do you think social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have affected the music industry?
I think they have centralised business and marketing to another profound level, because these networks have just made communication with the market much more economical, easier and effective. Downloads have made hard copies irrelevant. The evolution of social networks has made it easier for the upcoming artiste because you donít need to buy expensive equipment or have large marketing teams to make your presence felt.
Where can we hear your music online?
Social networks have my music, Reverbnation, MySpace, Bandcamp, YouTube, Soundcloud, Facebook just to name a few. I go by the tag name [onervemusic] on the internet. So wherever you are just Google it to find my music.
What projects are you working on now that youíve finished this mix tape?
The sequel and continuation of 2012[explosion] is next. Have not settled on a suitable title yet but rest assured it is going to be ten times more explosive than what 2012[explosion] has to offer and of course it will be released, distributed, marketed and managed under the reputable Audible Braile Entertainment team.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years' time?
I see myself traveling around the country, continent and then world. Visiting places, meeting new fans, working with the best and pioneering in what I do best. Most of all, I see myself taking care of my single mother by putting food on her table.
Do you have any shoutouts you want to give?
Yeah!! S/O to my People at the Audible Braile offices, they stay on they J/O Ė shouts to my friend, mentor and senior founder of the audible stable Moeti Damane AKA SAN Scripts - a lot wouldnít have been possible without him. And of course shout out to the world, my fans, listeners and supporters. I intended to grow from stride to stride so I can give you what you deserve which is the best music for your ear drums.
Thanks again O-NERVE for doing this interview.
Thank You to Crazy Pellas for the international publications of my work and making people recognise the truth behind the music. You guys are the defining force in this new age of music and rapid information. Your role is a significant one and I feel so honoured to have shared part of it. Thank You!!