29 Apr Hear the dark and melodic sounds of Johannesburg based rapper QzA
On a quiet day in Johannesburg’s leafy suburbs, a seven-year-old kid first laid eyes on the music video for Daft Punk’s ‘One More Time’. An ordinary moment by any other standards, but for Dalukuthula Mqondisi Ngcobo, it was the moment he knew he’d become a musician.
Fast forward a few years and QzA’s now realised that dream through his 2012 Midnyts mixtape, an early 2016 EP iDreamInColour, radio play on multiple stations including VOW FM and 5FM, a music video and a brand new album, Forever.
“My history with music goes way, way back to when I was a kid,” explains the rapper. “As I got older I began crafting my skills in writing until I felt I had mastered it. I went on to record my very first song with Junior Singo in 2011 and I guess I’ve been getting better and going strong ever since.”
Like many artists, QzA draws heavily on his background in his current work. The moniker, QzA, comes from a nickname out of his high school days, and his upbringing inspires much of his music. “I guess growing up in the suburbs influenced my music in the way I deliver it,” he says. “The language I deliver it in as well as the lifestyle I lead and portray in my music. I would say some of my struggles differ from someone who stays in the hood. I won’t speak about a lifestyle I know nothing about.”
His latest album, a heady mix of 808s, choice samples, and QzA’s sonorous and measured vocals, talks of late night parties, big city living, aspiration, love, and more. The 13 track album is dark, dreamy and wholly melodic. It’s also well produced and artfully track-listed, calling for a full listen through. That said, there are a few stand out tracks, namely ‘Joz’Bek’ with its ominous intro and narrative lyrics, and ‘Night Thing’ which is one of the slower and painfully short-lived tracks on the album that pulls through with a subtle bassline that brilliantly platforms the rappers vocals.
Despite his prolific nature, QzA remains enigmatic on social media, opting to focus primarily on the quality of his music. “A strong social media presence does count in certain aspects, but I won’t lie, my focus is completely on the music and mainly because I know that’s my strength,” he explains. “I also believe that putting out quality music will help in the long run. The aim is to make timeless music. They don’t have to catch on today, but when they do, they’ll wonder what took them so long.”