A metropolis’s acronym might solely appear vital to individuals who spend their time out and in of airports, however for rapper YoungstaCPT, the three-letter abbreviation for Cape City does extra than simply present the place he’s from – it tells the world who he’s.
Born Riyadh Roberts and raised by a single mother, the 28-year-old from Wynberg in Cape City’s southern suburbs is a family title across the Mom Metropolis. Now he’s making waves throughout the nation after the discharge of his long-awaited debut album, 3T – which appropriately stands for “Issues Take Time”. The physique of labor that he’d been compiling since 2015 proved to be well worth the wait – Youngsta scooped Album Of The Yr on the 2019 SA Hip Hop Awards (SAHHA), placing himself, and Capetonian rappers normally, on the map.
However lengthy earlier than claiming the hip hop crown, Youngsta was precisely what his rap title describes – a child. And like all child his age, regarded as much as his favorite characters on TV. His ardour for music and leisure started when he first watched a sure Contemporary Prince who moved in along with his rich auntie and uncle in Bel Air.
“It began from as early as Main College – just about since I first noticed Will Smith in Contemporary Prince of Bel Air,” he recollects. “I all the time credit score that as the start as a result of I wished to emulate him. Not essentially be a rapper – I simply wished to be Will Smith. I’d rap alongside to the theme music and attempt to match the outfits he wore on the present.”
Images by IndexFinger88
Afterward, he found the likes of 2Pac, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and DMX, who would form his fashion of rapping and affect the best way he delivers his lyrics. On any stage that he’s been given, Youngsta has electrified the group along with his vitality and highly effective stage presence, however this wasn’t the plain consequence when he was honing his craft in his bed room as a teen.
“I kinda saved my rapping a secret as a result of lots of people would make enjoyable of me for desirous to change into a rapper,” he admits. “It wasn’t a cool factor on the time. Even the women would make gat of me. How was I purported to flirt with a lady after which say ‘I wanna be a rapper’ and anticipate her to be impressed? So, I saved engaged on it in my room on my own.”
YoungstaCPT x Muffin Man
This remoted dedication made younger Riyadh Roberts need to chase his goals much more, and in direction of the top of his matric 12 months, he met somebody who had an analogous imaginative and prescient – DJ, producer and fixed collaborator, Muffin Man. “I made a decision that as quickly as I completed faculty, I’d pursue this [rapping] full-time, and no person might wys me in any other case. Then, actually, within the final week of faculty, I met Muffin [Man]. It was future.”
It was the start of a brotherhood that sparked a decade’s value of artistic endeavours – beginning with the collective music and attire model Y?GEN. Youngsta and his workforce made merchandise to accompany the rap songs and stay performances. What began as a few t-shirts grew to become its very personal retailer in Wynberg.
“Some individuals thought we all the time had a retailer,” he says. “And, in a method, we all the time did. We used to promote our merch out The Loft, which was a membership by evening, however we turned it into a store by day. So having the official Y?GEN retailer has all the time been a part of the plan.”
YoungstaCPT carrying Arnette shades, accessible at Sunglass Hut
Together with a powerful talent for writing intelligent rhymes that weaved in a few of Cape City’s colloquial slang, the rapper additionally gained numerous consideration for his streetwear fashion and assortment of sneakers. This eye for trend stemmed from his mom’s love for garments and inventive imaginative and prescient.
“My mother undoubtedly schooled me on tips on how to gown. And to this present day, I nonetheless don’t have a stylist. I fashion myself. Even in my music movies. She additionally performed an enormous position in steering me creatively.”
One among Youngsta’s latest collaborations with singer Kyle Deutsch concerned each his wizardry with phrases and his style in fashion. Within the music video for “Face The Solar”, the rapper dons a pair of Arnette shades (from Sunglass Hut) whereas cleverly mentioning different sunglass manufacturers in his verse. However whereas we, as mere mortals, may surprise how one can transition so easily from hard-hitting hip hop anthems to laid- again summer time jams – for Youngsta, it’s simply “one other day on the workplace”. He additionally credit his mom for uplifting his style in music of all genres.
“I’m fortunate to have a mom that’s open- minded and supportive of my creativity. She allowed me to experiment and hearken to several types of music. She would play numerous R&B and Home music – some Mary J Blige, Ashanti, Brandy, SWV after which some hip hop,” he says.
“And I’m proud that she did. As a result of it will profit me lots sooner or later. Now I’m capable of crossover to completely different genres very simply. If I ended up being a really hardcore ‘hip hop head’, I wouldn’t have been ready
to collaborate in addition to I’ve with artists similar to J One thing, Chad Saaiman, Jimmy Nevis and Kyle Deutsch.”
The Mixtape Marathon
YoungstaCPT at Rocking The Daisies 2019. Images by Tyrone Bradley/Purple Bull Content material Pool.
Earlier than dropping his first official album in 2019, Youngsta launched 24 mixtapes in 24 months after which six extra, bringing the whole to 30. His secret to constantly delivering all 12 months spherical has been consistency and persistence. He’s all the time sharpening his lyrical blade to organize himself for any undertaking, function and particularly for his stay freestyles.
“I make songs on daily basis. A few of them won’t ever come out. A few of them will come out subsequent 12 months and folks will assume it’s new. Even on 3T… Pallet Gun, Highly effective and a few different songs have been made in 2016, however have been solely launched in 2019,” he says. “Individuals additionally ask me to freestyle on a regular basis. I don’t love to do it that a lot anymore – but when somebody asks me to, I’m not gonna suck at it. It’s going to sound like I wrote it. Not as a result of I’m the perfect rapper or something, however as a result of I’ve been practising and freestyling in any respect my reveals.”
Together with freestyling and performing his largest hits in entrance of large crowds, an enormous think about Youngsta’s stay reveals is the hype that he brings on stage. He jumped and ran all around the stage at Rocking the Daisies final 12 months – and the festival-goers fed off that vitality. What makes this much more spectacular is that he can do it in a Y?GEN bulletproof vest, a headscarf and high-top sneakers. Absolutely, there’s some health routine that he’s hiding from us, proper?
“I’ve been working – each on and off stage,” he explains. “I additionally be certain that I drink numerous water and have plenty of fruit. I do know that if I would like my profession to final lengthy, I’ve to be wholesome and up for the problem. Your physique is a temple, as they are saying. What you set in, you get out.”
Discovering His Voice
Older YoungstaCPT followers will keep in mind a time when the 2018 SAHHA Lyricist Of The Yr didn’t sound like he does at the moment. Like different aspiring bar-spitters, he would rap in an American accent due to the affect that the US has on hip hop as a style. However he quickly realised that to be a worldwide success, he needed to begin a bit of nearer to residence. So he dropped the American act and embraced his native colored accent whereas incorporating Capetonian slang. He now rapped the best way that he spoke – which might, in flip, make it extra lekker to be native.
“It’s sort of a cheat card – utilizing the slang,” he jokes. “I all the time knew I had it at my disposal however I by no means used it as a result of I used to be a bit self- aware [about how it would be received]. I feel slang grew to become extra acceptable after my technology – 90s & 2000s youngsters – began utilizing it as colloquialisms. And it grew to become one thing that’s native. One thing that’s ours. So after studying a lot of the American hip hop phrases by listening to so many rappers, I assumed: ‘why not educate them one thing?’
“Now, though I’m nonetheless influenced by worldwide rap and western music, I’m placing it into a neighborhood context that we, as residents [of this country], can perceive and relate to. You [as a local artist] ought to take sure issues from these world examples that make sense to you after which combine it in a pot of your individual experiences, then serve it to the mense.”
Issues Take Time
That’s precisely what he did when he launched the a lot anticipated 3T album. You’ll want about two hours to hearken to the total undertaking, which can appear lengthy to some however to Youngsta followers, that is what they’ve been ready for. The album cowl options Youngsta’s grandfather, whose spoken interludes act as narration that seamlessly joins every of the 22 tracks. Youngsta knew that this was the ultimate piece of the puzzle.
“My grandfather is the ‘X’ issue of this entire album, that’s why I put him on the quilt additionally. It’s my first album and I’m not on the quilt, which is uncommon in hip hop. I recorded all of his audio again in 2015,” he says.
“I feel it’s finest that I waited so lengthy as a result of it gave me time to resolve whether or not that is what I wanna say and whether or not these are the perfect songs for it. And since it was created over a protracted time frame, listeners get completely different variations of me as an artist all through the album.”
Now, after bagging awards for not solely the album, however for one of many undertaking’s music movies as effectively, the rapper who turned his private passion right into a nationwide sensation appears to be like to proceed the momentum, but in addition lend a
hand to up-and-coming artists. His recommendation to them:“If you wish to compete on this trade, you’re going to need to get out of your consolation zone, and take the criticism head on. You’re gonna need to exert your self and make your self drained – nearly day by day. Make investments extra into who you need to be. Don’t be lazy and don’t sleep on your self… as a result of issues take time.”
For extra YoungstaCPT, observe him on social media @youngstacpt and stream his new album on Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play Music.