[wpaudio url=”https://consciousness.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/01_Dont_You_Know.mp3″ text=”Dont You Know”]
sunchild – Please introduce yourself to the Consciousness Community and tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
D.U.S.T – Greetings world and all the CC peeps, my name is DUST; which stands for Direct Universal Sound Technique. I’m a South African musician/rapper/song writer from Riverlea, Johannesburg. I’ve been touring the world for a few years; putting my hood on the map. I’m one of the best in the rap game. I write all forms of music but hip-hop and rap is my culture.
sunchild – How would you describe your sound and what makes you unique, if you consider yourself to be unique?
D.U.S.T – My sound is universal. Anybody can relate to my music. Any race, any age. My sound bridges all musical gaps, with many influences and messages. It represents the struggle and the future. From hardcore rap to reggae and R&B, the music has no limit. My lyrics are real, no gimmicks. I can be considered a pop artist because I’m on the radio, but the difference is I’m a real emcee. My sound is international.
sunchild – How did you end up in the USA and where are you based?
D.U.S.T – I had a vision one day, God told me to get out of Jo’burg. I believe that decision saved my life. I was surrounded by drama and close calls with death. I always knew I wanted to be a rapper, but at the time rap wasn’t really embraced in South Africa. I knew that New York and California are the mecca of hip-hop, and I wanted to be the best and to do that I needed to be around the best. So when I was 15 I moved to Brooklyn, New York. I live in Oakland, California now. But hip-hop is what truly brought me to the USA, it’s like if you play basketball you want to be in the NBA – I want to be competing with the best rappers in the world. I can’t do that by being a just a local artist. I’ve done shows with the biggest names in music and my childhood idols are now my mentors. But I do plan on moving back home. I love Jozi, I always have the S.A. flag on stage; somebody has to represent on a international level. That’s me.
sunchild – Was it hard to get into music over there and whats it like to be an independent artist in the States?
D.U.S.T – It wasn’t really hard to get into the music industry in the U.S. because I’m the only rapper from S.A. out here. So I’m different from most. So many artists wanted to collaborate. My life has been 50% in S.A. and 50% in the U.S. So my style is that perfect balance. I have my own sound and I’m respected in the industry, I went from being a battle rapper to making hits and being a musician. But being a battle rapper got me respect, and the hip-hop community embraced me as a real emcee.I performed wherever I could, didn’t matter if I got paid or not. It’s all about the hustle and the grind. Being consistent and creative. Being independent out here is dope because you are in control, and people support music that’s not on radio. The internet is a huge tool; being independent, from promotion to selling merchandise, it’s the digital age.
sunchild – Do you believe in always having a message in your music or is your music just a tool to make you rich and famous?
D.U.S.T – I believe music always has a message. Even instrumental music has a message, because to me music is energy and vibrations. So there is always a message, sometimes the message is more abstract because if I make something for the club, people don’t wanna hear me preaching, they wanna forget about the stress and get far away from reality. So sometimes it’s just about having fun as opposed to being serious and political or focusing on the negative. But at the same time I try to find a balance, but there is always a message. Part of being in hip-hop is letting the world know the truth and being real. But there’s a time and place for all different music. Most people just focus on the beat, but there’s always a message in there.
sunchild – What inspires you?
D.U.S.T – Just being from South Africa inspires me. Waking up to a new day, the air, the trees, being able to make the impossible possible. Just knowing that I’m just as good as whoever says they’re the best. Raising my son is the main inspiration. Watching chiefs and pirates, eating bunny chows and braai vleis. Being a bushie and just being high off this thing we call life. I feel like God chose me to be the best S.A. rapper and for me to rep S.A. all over the planet. That’s inspiration, knowing that I’m blessed. When a kid tells me my music saved him or when a person tells me I’m their favourite rapper, that’s what keeps the fire going.
sunchild – Can you tell us about some high points and low points in your career?
D.U.S.T – A low point was when my son’s mom died in 2007 from cancer. I was touring and I stopped everything, I had to re-evaluate life. I got stressed and depressed because life changed, and music politics just wasn’t important to me anymore. So I took a break from the industry and worked with at-risk troubled youth, teaching them about hip-hop culture and self expression. But I couldn’t stay at that low point. So the high points were getting back to biz, and touring Europe and the whole U.S., being on stage with KRS-ONE, Method Man and all the superstars I looked up to. I wasn’t a fan anymore because I was performing on the same stage, I realised I’m not dreaming, I’m living my dreams now. I did a mixtape for G-UNIT SOUTH. Just to name a few high points. Free styling on the radio in LA with Sway and King Tech from the ”wake up show.” One of the highest points was when the Y-FM music director contacted me to tell me that I’m officially on the playlist and that Y-FM is supporting me. I always felt hurt that S.A. people didn’t care about my music, I couldn’t understand why those local rappers had more support than me and why I wasn’t on radio in S.A. But
all that has changed. Once I have a few million South Africans supporting me, then I’ll be truly happy. That will be the highest point in my career.
sunchild – How do you feel about South African music and do you still keep up to date with it?
D.U.S.T – I think that South African music needs more support from South Africa. They show international artists much more support. Most of the best talent doesn’t get noticed. But some of the greatest musicians are from South Africa. I listen to S.A. music all the time, that’s where I get some of my inspiration from; Kwaito, Jazz, you name it, I listen to a bit of everything. With rap it’s hard to say, some artists I can hear the creativity, but sad to say that most of the rappers in S.A. are not as good as they think. Some cats have never been out of Jozi, but they think they’re from New York or they just imitate their favorite artist. But there are some rappers from S.A. that I respect. I think the hip-hop scene is great though, S.A. needs it. But the music industry needs more unity in S.A. I don’t just say I’m the best S.A. rapper to start a debate or to get fame, I really believe that. But I think the music from home is amazing, but a lot of the rap I hear is a low standard. I know there are some good artists back home in S.A. but the media and radio choose to support certain artists, that’s when you have to be independent and take matters into your own hands.I got Hugh Masikela, Lucky Dube, and Tananas in my car CD player right now.
sunchild – Do Americans know much about South African music and hip hop and if so, how do they feel about all these African rappers, that rap with American accents, whats your view?
D.U.S.T – That’s funny, I have an accent that’s half S.A. and half American, but I’ve spent half my life in Jozi and half in America. So I guess you can say I’m South African American, even though I still wear Supergas! Haha. Most people who listen to hip-hop don’t take other African rappers serious because the African rappers are trying to be American when they haven’t even been to America for one second. The sad thing is, back home in Africa they think that they are stars. People tell me all the time, ‘you are the only rapper from S.A. that I listen to” but it’s because I’m not trying to have an accent, for me it’s who I am and it’s natural, and unique. But to me, some of these African rappers are a joke. They not on my radar. And it’s not just the rappers, even the radio hosts try to have accents. It’s funny. That’s why, when I see who’s popular in S.A. it makes me wonder. It makes me want to go back and really take over the rap game, because none of them can come close to me. I’m just happy I’m not one of those guys. Like who makes the list for the top ten S.A. rappers? It’s hilarious.
sunchild – How can people find out more about you i.e MySpace, Facebook etc?
D.U.S.T – I have a website called www.diamondsanddynamite.com, I’m on Facebook/DUST, I’m on Twitter and everywhere online. My website is the best place to get all info on DUST and what’s happening in my world.
sunchild – Do you have any final comments or words of inspiration for the consciousness community.
D.U.S.T – I wanna say thanks to you and the CC staff for having a dope place and magazine for African artists to be seen and heard. We need to support each other and unify for Africa to reach our true potential. I’m waving the flag high in the U.S., I never forgot my home, and I’ll always rep my country. Look out for my album ‘The Phoenix’ coming soon, One love—D
sunchild – Dusty thanks for taking the time out and allowing me to bombard you with all these questions, hopefully our readers will get a chance to find out more about you as and artist and allow your music to spread across the globe.
peace and love