When you have so much access to artists, more access than the average person, you tend to find that who celebrities are in person is completely different to who they are whenever they are in the public eye.
On rare occasions you come across those who are always the person you see on TV, in videos and on stage. Yanga Ntshakaza is one such artist. Chilled and soft-spoken with a very good energy about him.
Which is probably why he spends more time behind the scenes than he does on the scene. You see, in addition to being a rapper, Yanga is a visual virtuoso and notable music producer.
Yanga has had a hand in a number of music video’s including AKA and Burna Boy’s ‘All Eyes On Me’, ‘Run Jozi’ on which he also sings the hook as well as K’O’s ‘No Fear Freestyle’. He can also put AKA’s Levels album on his resume as he worked on the production side of that project too.
He hasn’t always been Joburg based. He came to the city for school. “I came to Joburg because of school to study film, but then I dropped out to do music.” he once told the North Eastern Tribune.
Music wasn’t the only reason he decided to leave varsity. He wasn’t happy about having more theory thrown at them than practical work. “Two years without even picking up a camera” wasn’t Yanga’s idea of learning film. Despite this, his talents behind the camera are lauded and widely spoken about.
Yanga remains humble about this however, saying “I’m not really well versed in film but I’m not done.”
He also has a self-proclaimed problem with authority which he says hurt him (his progress) while at school.
When asked if that helped or hurt him in his career however, the artist said it did a bit of both (more helped than hurt). “That’s how I learned to bend the rules,” he adds.
He no longer dabbles in videos as much as he used to though. Music and the chances it provides for him to be in front of the camera are currently his sole focus.
“Music has always been there, I never would have done film without music. I can’t even say I did film, I did music videos. I actually couldn’t do film productions if there was no music in that. I’m not passionate about JUST film.”
Yanga is currently shooting a short film for his recently released EP, called Touch is a Move. It’s title will be a play on the EP’s title and it will be called Touch is a Movie. He plans to rope in some big acting names for the project but might have to let that idea go due to time constraints.
The aim is to keep his fans going until the next episode which he says will be his debut album set to be released on the 9th of June.
He also plans to release another single and shoot a video for it as soon as possible to give it enough time to do the rounds before the album release. It doesn’t stop there, Yanga promised that he will also be dropping a video for his latest single, Mntase, next week.
His long term plan is.... You guessed it… world domination.
We're kidding, he just wants to be a global citizen who creates without confining his art to a geographic location.
Seeing as Yanga has worked on the production side of videos, I asked when we’re going to get to see anything other than the stereotypical video vixen in the stereotypical outfit on our screens.
“The day we hear a song in the club and we look around us and we don’t see half naked girls with a big ass and booty shorts, dancing and gyrating around then I think that concept will be played out but until then, I think it goes hand in hand with selling a club song…” explained the rapper.
“You know, beautiful girls, alcohol, I’m not against that. I think it’s out of place when the song doesn’t really relate to that but also, the songs that people push are club songs anyway. So it’s kinda tricky but the only reason people are mad at that is because it happens so often. And everybody knows that having a club song is like gold so you can stay relevant for that period of time so I ain’t really mad at that,” he added.
“I just think we need to be shooting different things. The visual that comes with the artist can’t just be down to music video’s because I think in that case, you will only have that perception about the artist and you’ll think, “ah, they don’t even try hard, it’s just skimpy girls all over” so there needs to be another visual element that comes with being an artist whether it’s behind the scenes footage or like documentaries or anything creative that an artist can come up with to like show what they’re into or who they really are.”
And what about the dark skinned hun?
“Yeah! Let me tell you something about dark-skinned huns. I tried to find a dark skinned hun for an artwork that I was doing for a rapper, like I just wanted two dark skinned huns and those girls don’t exist.”
Not to say that they literally do not exist, he just meant that not a lot of them are represented by agencies that specialize in providing talent for music videos and other such projects. If one wanted to hire a dark skinned model, they would have to go to a modelling agency that specializes in models for fashion projects.
But hopefully, a seed has been planted and we will see a significant shift in the status quo once Yanga returns to dominate things behind the lens.
Main image credit: instagram.com/itsyangachief