Decked in a simple black tee, jeans, trendy Jays, a monochrome cap and to finish, a gold beaded rosary- Kapital K walks into the popular and cosmopolitan beachfront hangout spot, Cafe Caprice in Cape Town. Kapital K known simply by those close to him as K warmly welcomes us to his playground to discuss his life, music and futures plan. Joined by his manager Coach, the venue was set as we overlooked the Atlantic Ocean, the sun came out for a chill and the palm trees swayed in the background. Kapital K, a Zimbabwean diaspora musician is an upcoming rapper making significant amounts of noise around the continent with his lyrical talents and flows.
Kapital K chills with us in Camps Bay Sho’Mwatala Photography
The South African based hip hop rapper was born Keith Guzah Jnr in Harare and moved to North Carolina in the USA around the age of 2. The 24 year old rapper accredits his love for hip hop to his childhood in the United States where he was exposed to rappers such as Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G, Snoop Dogg and Colio. His father enjoyed the new genre making rounds on radios and his father’s taste for hip hop music rubbed of onto K. Kapital K admits to having been impressed by young rappers like Lil Bow Wow and was inspired to burst some cool hooks and be his own lil Keith. Kapital K rapped his first verse at an impressive age of 9, he jokingly, adds, “At this point all I cared about was whether my raps rhymed that was the most important thing at that age”. In 2002, Keith returned to Zimbabwe and attended school at St John’s College. This is where he further developed his passion for rap and hip hop where he was able to play around with tracks. As he refers to his green blazer days, K was able to interact with other young Zimbabwean hip hop heads while attending high school. K reflecting mentions that in his younger days, he had a certain arrogance and attitude to him and his music but growing up has given him time to mature and create a new sound more honest, humbling and grown which he says is thanks to his mother who has been a big supporter of his music.
After attending high school in Zimbabwe, he decided to further his education in South Africa. He moved to Cape Town in 2010, to study at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and pursued a degree in Human Resource Management. While rapping is his first love, the young musician has a great appreciation for education and self development. Being a 4th year student with 14 distinctions and hoping to graduate this year only shows his belief in both education and music. Over the past 4 years whilst studying, Kapital K has pushed his music into a new direction and more seriously as well. Lil Keith has grown up, matured and Kapital K has started making more emotional, honest and personal rap songs such as, “Feel it in the Air”. Creating music in his dorm room on par with top class studio productions, K’s story undoubtedly tells a story of a rapper dedicated to his art. While studying at CPUT, the upcoming rapper has released two mix tapes, Mixtape Monster and the recent T.O.S.O.M (The Otherside of Me). Both mix tapes gained significant attention from music bloggers both in Zimbabwe and around the African continent. With the popular, Danny that Guy in his review commenting, “Overall, T.O.S.O.M. is more than just a solid mix tape. It’s a very good mixtape by a very good Zimbabwean rapper”.
Performing in Gabon URBAN FM
The growing popularity of Kapital K’s music leaves room for Zim hip hop lovers to watch this interesting space. Kapital K has featured on South African show, Hectic nine 9, wrote lyrics for a 2011 South African Coco Cola advert just to name a few of his South African adventure. He has also released a significant amount of videos online, most noteworthy is his 2013 video, High featuring Tagz which has been popular on social networking sites. His collaboration with Gabonese hip hop sensation Baponga has been a career highlight thus far for the upcoming rapper. As his manager, Coach adds, “What is fascinating is Kapital K’s success outside his home country especially in Gabon where French speaking fans know his lyrics,” Kapital K’s bilingual song with Baponga, All or Nothing is a hit in hip hop loving Gabon. Kapital K drops verses in English while Baponga does his thing in French. Kapital K flew to Gabon in December 2012 to perform alongside Baponga at a music concert hosted by Gabon’s Urban Fm. A crowd packed with avid hip hop lovers sang along to his music and is undoubtedly a sweet moment of success for the young rapper. With Kapital K adding, “It was crazy to see people singing the English lyrics in a French speaking country- it was unbelievable”. The past year has been very promising for the rapper, having headlined with Naeto C, Davido, HHP and Jozi. More exciting plans await Kapital K, as collaboration with Nigeria’s Davido is currently in the pipelines.
While not forgetting his roots, Kapital K performed at last year’s musical festival, Rumble in the Jungle which he headlined alongside Victor Kunonga and Chikwata 263. The young musician has collaborated with Zimbabwean musicians such as Simba Tagz and Stunner. Stunner recently visited Cape Town where the rappers collaborated on tracks. During Stunners visit to Cape Town, Greenback TV recoded the video for one of the tracks, Warriors which also features P S Quint. Kapital K shows off his Shona raps much to the surprise of his fans who did not know that he could burst a verse in Shona. K pointed out that he wanted people to know that even though he embraces a western rap culture, he can also rap in Shona and remembers his roots. Kapital K adds that another track with Stunner is soon set for release which K adds, “Is the one”. The track due for release is set to be lyrically on point and dripping in zwagga. It is something hip hop musical lovers should look out for in the coming months.
The young rapper is also keen to work with Tehn Diamond, a rapper whom he has respect for. With the Zimbabwean 2013 Hip Hop awards nominating Kapital K for Best Diaspora, it appears the 24 year old is having an impressive and noteworthy beginning. After wrapping up his studies and graduating this year, the rapper plans to focus more intensively on his music. 2014 provides to be a year to watch as this young charming rapper is eyeing not just a Zimbabwean success but an African one too.