If music was visual art, HHP would’ve been a sculpture. There is so much to be said about Jabulani Tsambo and his legendary musical journey. Not only did he redefine South African Hip Hop, he practically gave birth to a whole new genre and a whole new manner of moulding authentic South African music.
The first time our crew met HHP was at the Kalawa Jazmee artist showcase in July at the Universal Music Group South Africa headquarters where he was performing alongside the King Don Father “Spikiri” as he was featured on the new hit single “Moriri wama indian”, and man was he on fire!
As we were taking photos and selfies during the intervals, his charismatic sense of humour kept us entertained. His energy and positive vibe pulled us closer and closer toward him as the night went on.
We were later honoured to be one of the few publishing houses to be the last to interview the legend as he was gearing up for his huge come back, and he was indeed as joyful as we were for the exclusive interview. He was definitely in high spirits and ready to conquer the world, his energy levels hit the roof, and his passion for his craft set the room alight. “I’m a huge Kas’lam fan”, he stated with a smile.
Over 15 years consistently in the industry, how did you do it?
HHP: Man! I don’t know. Honestly it’s about always tapping into that self-love, going deep within and finding that thing that makes you who you are. I’ve realised that’s it’s all about staying true to yourself, that’s how you’ll always relate to the masses.
Now you’ve been a bit quiet, where have you been hiding?
HHP: I just took a break just to revive the love and also get to work on other projects as well, but we’re back at it and been working on my 10th album (to be released next year in 2019) I felt like we still needed to stay active and give people that Jabba vibe. With that said we decided to put together an EP with my young brother Hugo Flash all the way from KZN, so right now I’m just trying to put him on and we’ve recently released an EP titled Feels Good to be back (FGTBB).
So Hugo, word has it that you were the big boss on the EP.
HHP: He is the Kingship!
Hugo: *lol* I wouldn’t take the credit for that but creatives think alike and I’m really grateful for having the opportunity to have worked with someone as big as him.
Tell us about your role on the EP
Hugo: Well my role was just making sure that everything was just a good vibe, because I’m all about good vibes and positivity. Every time we were in studio it was never about the pressure of having to release something big instead it was all about having a good time and just seeing where it all takes us, then 5 good songs came out of it.
As a young producer, how was it working with a legend as big as HHP? It must’ve been some feeling right?
Hugo: The best thing about it is that we relate to each other and that’s crazy. At first it was very nostalgic for me I won’t lie, it’s something I never thought it would happen. I mean I grew up listening to this guy’s music with the Tswaka vibes, I used to love that song when I was young and then having to find myself in studio with him I was like “damn is this really me!?”
HHP: What was even more crazy with the whole process was him telling me that they grew up on my music in KwaMashu, I’ve always had this perception that maybe I wasn’t that big over there so it was really great having that feedback from him. So putting together the music was something that was so natural for us, with Hugo being so fresh in the scene and having this amazing sonic sound with everything he does. I wanted to put him in the space where he didn’t have to acclimatise himself to the Hip Hop Pantsula sound but him giving himself off.
So How did you guys hook up?
HHP: I met up with Hugo at Kalawa, he was working on one of the singles I did with a brother called Pex Africa on a Gqom track titled Slay Queen and he was working on another version of it. After having a small conversation with him it led me to want to check him out in the studio and get to know how he works and at that time I was still thinking he had already done so much in the industry. So I went over there and I told him that I’m just trying to put out more music and not just sit back, I always want to be creatively active, so he put on the music and it was so generic and everything just kind of flowed. The first track we did was feels good to be back then the next track he was experimenting with that trap sound which is pretty much his forte and after jumping on that and it coming out so smoothly I was like how about we put out a 5 track Ep and it was only then that he had told me that this was going to be his first commercial release and I was like “Yo! Even better” because I’ve always been about showing out new cats.
Now besides the Ep and the album, what have you been up to?
HHP: I’ve been doing a lot of collaborations, including some that you might have heard already. I was also working on an audio book with my Mom, we’re trying to put together a vernacular story book for children.
With your experience in the industry, what advice would you give a young Artist like Hugo on how to get in and stay in?
HHP: I think it’s always important for young artists to be creating their own noise, you need to stay true to what you’re doing and just put in the effort to create your own noise. You need to be actively and creatively putting in the input of people that listen to you and add it to what you’re already doing then people will just gravitate to you naturally. Just like with Hugo it wasn’t a case of him coming through with a demo looking to be put on, I found him in motion already and that naturally took itself to where it’s at right now. It’s just about staying active to yourself. How would you lay it down Hugo?
Hugo: Yeah,I would say the same. It’s pretty much about being original and doing my own thing and just enjoying the vibes by creating the music that I feel is a true representation of myself is what pulled my friend (HHP) towards me and I’m really grateful for him.
HHP: My supreme goal is to see African music grow and I am proud of youngsters such as Wiz kid, Davido, Casper Nyovest, the likes of Khuli Chana, Sjava and Nasty C who have taken our music to the global stage. I wanna leave this earth as a pioneer.