Back in the Booth with Niko10long

Cape Town’s hip hop councillor keeps doing it for the culture

The last time we chatted to Niko10Long was somewhere between a rooftop in Zonnebloem and beside a waterfall. Since then he’s been doing live shows in and around Cape Town and handled performances at Corner to Corner and BC One. We caught up with him as he was wrapping up his week-long stint in studio.

What have you been getting up to this week?Basically, at the moment, I’m at Red Bull Studios recording my album. I started on Monday and it’s almost done already.How many tracks are you looking at?I want 10 tracks for Niko10. My first album, Longontsteking, had 18 tracks so I want about 10 on this one.Did you have a plan before coming into studio?Yes, definitely. I knew what I was going to do. I didn’t waste anyone’s time here. When I came in on Monday I worked on five tracks. We were done by 2 pm and only started at 10 am. On Tuesday, we did three tracks, but I didn’t want to finish everything before my time had run out.

What’s the general vibe of the album?We don’t really have a name for the album yet, but I might want to go with the name Longevity. It ties into Niko10Long. I’m not certain if I’ll use that title or not, but that’s in the works, sister. In general, the album is hip hop – it’s boom bap. Real hip hop, you know. I’m talking about what goes on in the spaces I occupy, relationships, the streets, a bit of politics and I try to touch on a variety of topics. It’s music – beautiful music – and it’s going to be better quality because everything has been recorded here.

When do you think you’ll release it?I’ve had a lot of work come in. Praise the Lord for that. So, I was thinking of launching next month, but I’m not sure if it’ll happen. There’s too much work and I’ve committed to projects that I need to sort out first. Apart from my own project, there are a couple of compilations I’m working on in collaboration with other artists and hopefully, there’ll be few more performances that come through. A man is busy. I think we’ll probably more realistically release the album in July – on the 23rd.

Why that date?It’s a special day. King Rastafari was born on that day, sister. Rastafarians across the world celebrate the day. First, we have church – a ceremony – and then after that, it’s a celebration. Seven days of church and then after that, everyone gets together to celebrate. That’ll give me time to promote the album and there are a couple of festivals around then as well.

What’s your experience been like in studio this week?For me, it’s totally different from where I usually record, sister. I record in a room, but the environment has been nice here. No stress – no pressure. I came here with the mindset that I’d kill it – I didn’t want to waste any time.Listen to Longonsteking while you wait for Niko10Long’s new project and, while you’re at it, find him on SoundcloudFacebook and Instagram.