I’ve been a fan of Anathi Mnyango since the first time I ever heard a song produced by him, that was back in grade 8 or 9, before it became cool to listen to hip-hop.
Back when people accused you of trying to be American just because you loved and subscribed to the culture as a whole.
Although we were only introduced to Anathi’s production talent when he was 15, he made his first beat in grade four! That means he was only nine years old.
Speaking to blogger and stylist, Siya Beyile on his Cliff Central show, The Threaded Exchange, the rapper shared details of his first foray into music and his earliest experience with fashion which has come to play a major role in both his personal and professional life.
Even though Anatii started making music quite early, his father maintained that school was always a priority so Anatii had to put music on the back burner for a while. That was back when the family still lived in the Eastern Cape (where he’s originally from), where his parents owned a boutique among many other businesses.
The Mnyango family later moved to Johannesburg and Anatii’s father passed on shortly afterwards when the rapper was about 15-years-old. It was also around this time that a song he had worked on had made it’s debut on radio.
It was a very proud moment for the rapper who held onto that little sliver of light during that dark time and turned it into something lucrative. He believed so much in his dream that he saved up to buy his own laptop so that he could work more on music.
“At that time, a lot of the influences came from like Jozi and those type of guys because for my generation they had like that sound and they were really killing it.”
During his interview, Anatii remarked that not many people know who he is due to the name changes he has undergone over the years, starting with his very first moniker, “Thundacat,” which was given to him by Da L.E.S back before he became Da L E S.
Anatii later changed his name to Anathi Royale before eventually settling on just Anatii.
According to South African lyric website Bimba, Grammy Award-winning composer Lebo M commissioned Anatii to work on four songs for the 2009 Coca-Cola ‘’Summer Yama Summahh’’ compilation album. He was also given the opportunity to co-produce one of the title tracks used during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup opening ceremony at the tender age of 16!
When asked what his first big hit is, Anatii said he doesn’t have one. “I’m not even close to peaking,” said the rapper.
Geez! Humble much?
He’s got tracks like 10 Fingers, Hours, Tell Me Feat Omarion and The Saga Feat. AKA to his name and he features on AKA’s Run Jozi alongside Yanga and he thinks he still hasn’t peaked yet.
One can only wonder what he’d have to achieve for him to think he’s made it. But then again, he’s only 24 so he has an endless stream of successful possibilities in front of him.
At such a young age, he has already done things like move to the US to perfect his production talents in order to bring them back home and take the industry as a whole forward.
During his time in the U.S., he spent time in studio with the likes of Dem Franchize Boyz and thee DJ Khaled thanks to the ultimate plug - Joseph I. If you’re a major hip hop fan and you follow your favourite artists online, you would have seen Joseph in a number of their posts.
When Siya brought up the fact that African artists often feel as though they have to go overseas just to make it big, Anatii stated, “I never went to America to be big, I went there to learn about my art form.”
Before adding, “in order to be big on a global scale, you have to be big at home. If you don’t have that solid foundation, you can’t go anywhere.”
Lastly, Anatii revealed that he and AKA have been friends for years.
“I met Kiernan years ago. My mom used to book him for like family golf days for her company back in the early 2000’s, way back in the Entity days. He used to come over to my mom’s place where I had a studio and we used to vibe out but we never made any music. Once we just linked up and I played him Saga in the car and he liked it so we linked up and just worked on it and made it a hit you know.”
Hopefully, that story about making the Saga will be the same case for the duo’s upcoming album‘Be Careful What You Wish For.’
Main image credit: instagram.com/anatii