Since hearing the untimely passing of Prokid, I’ve come to observe that apart from the sadness, there has also been a lot of anger directed towards industry artists for not celebrating nor reaching out to Pro while he was still alive.
Fans and the public, in general, have come out to express that local artists, especially those from the school of hip-hop have unfortunately given the late rapper his flowers a little too late.
I don't know when was the last time they talked about #prokid as they talking about him now, they now "remember him, love him" it's so sad how they talk good things about him... once upon a time that boy made rap music the coolest music ko kasie #dankiesan #Ripprokid pic.twitter.com/JYaCLmQyX4— IG:@teemakwe (@MakweTee) August 9, 2018
Although some people’s opinion about how the music industry has ill-treated Pro in the last couple of years is valid, I cannot help but feel that criticising his rap peers for not celebrating or acknowledging him enough whilst he was alive, is a bit uncalled for and giving a pass on who should and who should not mourn the rapper is a bit too harsh, especially considering how many rappers and other artists Pro touched and influenced during his time on earth.
I recently read Zakwe’s article about how a distressed Pro called him in the middle of the night, lamenting at how he wasn’t being called for gigs anymore and how he felt that the industry had turned its back on him.
Zakwe's revelation about Pro was unfortunate, but it would be unfair to assume that the same rappers who looked up to Pro did not acknowledge him or did not reach out to him for a verse on their songs when he was still alive.
For instance, in 2016 Black Lez featured Pro in his single Freedom, in 2014 DJ Vigi featured various artists including Pro for his single Sgelekeqe, a song Pro bodied with his immaculate wordplay. Reason in 2015 also posted a picture of Pro on Instagram, applauding the rapper for delivering one of the best verses Reason had heard in a long time. This to me indicated that although Pro wasn’t putting out music or an album, there still were a lot of industry cats who were reaching out to him for a verse.
L-Tido also shared that he, AKA and Pro had enjoyed a cypher a few weeks ago. Unbeknownst to me, I’ve also come to learn that Pro played a pivotal role in Gigi Lamayne’s career as well and that the two were quite close as she considered him to be more of a mentor than a rap artist she looked up to.
There are many other stories that we’ll probably hear coming from rappers and various artists about how Pro touched their lives in many ways leading up to his death, but what I’ve gathered from looking form the outside is that the local hip-hop fraternity never forgot about Pro, he was and will always remain one of its lyrical golden boys.
Yes, new school hip-hop artists have emerged and have taken the limelight, and yes, Pro did disappear in the background when it comes to the mainstream hype, but hip-hop artists who respected his work never sidelined him, he was never forgotten by those who considered him as the living beacon of hope for kasi rap.
Therefore, criticising these artists for mentioning that they’re only acknowledging him now in his death is a bit of a one-sided argument. Of course, they’re going to speak more of him now that he has passed on into the afterlife. It’s only natural to honour his memory and pay their last respects to a man who probably was on their Top 5 list of the best rappers in the country.
So let us not chastise our local artists for paying their respects to Pro, he was loved and respected by a lot of them, and as much as his passing has hurt many of his fans, it also has affected the artists he influenced and worked with closely.
I guess the one crucial lesson that has come from Pro’s untimely passing is that it has taught many of us to celebrate our legends while they're still alive, to give them their flowers while they can still smell them.
Pro's death and anyone's death for that matter is a constant reminder that we all live on borrowed time. Our loved ones could be here today and gone tomorrow in a split of a second and when they're gone, all we're left with are memories of moments we shared with them.
So please do me a favour, when you're done reading this article, check up on those who are dear to your heart. Think about it, when was the last time you called your parents, a sibling or that close friend of yours?
Our lives have become so consumed by our careers and other daily responsibilities that in the midst of all the chaos we have unintentionally neglected the people that matter the most.
This year I lost my uncle to cancer. I had been so busy with my own life that I nearly missed the opportunity to say my last farewell to him. One morning I had decided to take a day off from work, drive home to KZN to visit him at the hospital as my mother had informed me that he was gravely ill.
I saw him twice that weekend and I must say, the four hours driving back home were worth it because a day after I'd seen him, I received the call that he was no more.
So take the time to check up on those you love.
Pro is gone, and the best way to give him a dignified send-off is for us all to honour his memory and celebrate a life well-lived. A debate about who should or should not mourn him is quite trivial at this moment.
Rest in Power to Pro and all the families and friends we've lost.
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