The art of emceeing, from its inception, has been renowned with masculinity. From emcees speaking with a thundering bass, to barking instructions to an audience to “put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care”; the vehement unequivocal centre of manliness and male dialogue epitomises the genre of music that is hip hop. However, as the music has evloved we’ve seen female emcees come into the game and add a bit of sweetness and spice. Ms Jalettua Nuune is one such artist who brings the softer side of the spectrum, mixed with odd high shrill here and there.
Her swift, upbeat and melodic flow added with her ability to hit the upper echelon of the vocal notes at any given time, exemplifies her exquisite breath control. She gives a demonstration of her rap skills on the Interview with Rapper Jalettua Nuune courtesy of Angela Nimah’s YouTube Channel. In typical hip hop fashion, this highly expressive femcee holds no bars (no pun intended) and shoots on many aspects of her young career. She completely opens her thoughts out to Lavatory Records about about her take on the industry politics, her come up, career aspirations and more.
Lavatory Records: Who is Jalettua Nuune?
Jalettua Nuune: Jalettua Nuune is a singer-songwriter, rapper and FEmcee, designer, entrepreneur and creative. I’m a lover of all things new, real and different. My life as a creative began long before I can remember. Before I knew what being a creative was… Before I referred to myself as one. But as a performer, I recall performing poetry and being a slam poet during 2008-2010. As a singer and a vocalist, on my own accord, I began in 2012 doing back up and later moved to front and centre stage :-).
LR: Is this your birth name given to you by your parents?
JN: No it isn’t. It’s just my name.
LR: Where are you from and where did you grow up?
JN: I’m currently residing in Ruimsig, from earlier this year. But home is between Lenasia South and Randfontein, in the west rand. I grew up there. My parents bought our home in the ‘burbs called Greenhills but I spent most of my time in the hood: Mohlakeng. Most of my paternal family is there.
LR: How did you discover your love for rapping/emceeing?
JN: Honestly my love for hip hop began in 2007 and it began underground. Hymphatic Thabs did it (LOL). The first time I heard the Who am I track, then the Perfect Times album, my life was never the same (LOL). My view of life, music, knowledge as I thought I knew it, was totally altered and open. It was mind blowing.
LR: Who are your musical inspirations?
JN: That’s a very complex question considering the variety of genres that I grew up listening to and am currently listening to. I’m not sure if I’ll remember all of them. There is Guru, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Blu & Exile, Lauryn “L-Boogy” Hill, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Janelle Monaé, Andre 3000, MC Lyte, and Hymphatic Thabs is still on my list. I’m actually hoping for another offering after Age of Horus.
LR: How are you finding the challenges of being a femcee in this male dominated arena?
JN: Quite challenging. Men are aggressive at the smell of competition. And that time I’m not even competing (LOL). You have to be certain in this industry especially. You have to be strong. Be careful who you trust. In this field you have to be firm and always be 100% behind every statement you make. Hip hop involves character. Real hip hop. You can’t be pretending while talking about some real life issues. You can’t really be in fear of confrontation. That’s what the underground is about and to some it’s sometimes stifling. But I always say that a bit of discomfort is the assistance of growth. So it’s always important for me to work at bettering myself and what I wrote the year before.
LR: We know you also just as good a singer as you are rapper. Why is emceeing and rapping more compelling to you?
JN: (LOL). I talk a lot. Even in my silence I’m talking. My mind always processing and digesting things around me. I noticed during my years doing graphic design that a lot of creatives go through the same thing. Kind of like how a toddler behaves when trying to figure out and learn something they’ve never seen before. This is why I have had to value the art of meditation. Slowing it down long enough to hear my own thought and voice between all the static which is the world we live in and all the day-to-day distractions. Rap is a skill. Rap is poetry. It’s about what goes on in your head and how you come about it. Rap and emceeing for me is like verbal acrobatics (LOL). That entails telling stories, painting your own pictures, showing your skill. Also involves taking my audience on 2-5 minute trips into my world and my thoughts. Rap and emceeing to me is about being in synch with myself, the people and the world that I’m living in.
LR: What are your thoughts of this modern trend where “fame needs to come before talent”?
JN: I don’t know if I’m allowed to swear, but I think it’s a whole lot of bulls**t. Or should I rather say bullcrap? Is that more presentable? (LOL). That statement has led so many astray…as in so far gone! With me roughly estimating, I feel like 90% of the “artists” that I see younger and at times even older people, trying to imitate and follow – have moved their train off the track a mile back. Do they even know how they got there? Do they know whose watching? Do they know why they started? Is what they’re doing initially what they wanted to do? I don’t know! All I know is that I play underground. We ain’t got time for sugar coating or flossing any other material but knowledge there (LOL). Of course I see the perks of fame. But I want those perks through talent. I prefer real. Fame seems to get exhausting, talent is fulfilling.
LR: Why do you think there’s pressure for female artists to “sell sex” more than pushing their skills in order for them to be successful in music?
JN: The world is visual. People have the “seeing is believing” mentality. I ain’t even tripping. Check a track with a video will probably get more recognition and/or air play compared to a track without one. Hence the many crappy songs and artists out there right? But because there are half naked women on them, who really cares right? That’s some bullshit. Granted the female body is beautiful. It’s fascinating! Visual stimulation gets things across a whole lot quicker. No doubt… Hence I studied graphics. But I was never for the “selling your body” steeze. I find it frustrating that that is what women present, or that’s what is presented to women. We need to start believing in ourselves, our abilities, in what we have to offer and most of all, in each other. We need to remind the world what it seems to have forgotten: the mind is attractive, a woman’s mind even more so. Have you heard how exhausting it is trying to have a conversation with someone who has nothing to say yet says a lot? (LOL). The problem is that women are too busy competing with each other instead of working together.
LR: We noticed you’ve worked with Angela Nimah, how did that collaboration come about?
JN: I have. We’ve known each other for a good 9… Or is it 10 years now (LOL)? The universe kind of placed us together. The collabo… Well, Angela Nimah had a track or two and she asked me to lace on it with her and I did. Quite simple, no complications (LOL)! Just two beautiful, talented and strong women who have a lot to share with the world.
LR: Which artists or producers would you like to work with, if time and resources were perfectly aligned?
JN: Check. You mean once time and resources are aligned? Let’s be optimistic yeah… Okay :-). I’m a sucker for drum and bass. Well that MalumeKoolKat has dope production. His beats are proper mad beats there! Then there’s Hi-Tek (Talib Kweli), Exile (Blu), Bonobo, Little Dragon, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Janelle Monaé, QuestLove, Black Thought, Thandiswa Mazwai, Kwesta, Tumi (And the Volume), Hymphatic Thabs, Yugen Blakrok… Those are the few that pop up right now.
LR: If you had to be part of a group, which well-known major artists would you want as members?
JN: I haven’t thought of that. A lot of group projects I’ve tried engaging in have usually fell through. So let’s have this conversation a bit later on in my career (LOL).
LR: What projects or events are you currently working on?
JN: The birth of my first offering. A few people, very few people have heard my Twelve Nuune EP. It’s the rough version of course. Blister Jay Pop on production. I’ll be dropping it soon this year. As much as it’s done, I’m just being extra careful with it because it’s what I’ll be offering my listeners. I’m my worst critic. I’ve started brainstorming my next project. You know it seems the more I try to surface, the more I love Underground music. I’m three tracks into it and only certain of two. I think I’ve already named it (LOL) but I’ll keep that info to myself.
LR: Do you have any special mentions you want to shout out?
JN: Certainly. A big hug and kiss to Mambo productions for the constant support and patience and for making lacing so rejuvenating. To every producer that has offered me a beat to go murky on. Their belief in me has kept encouraging and motivating my creativity to keep bettering itself each day. Blister Jay Pop for the production on my first offering and introducing me to African Boombap. My sisters Pinkie, Masesi and my twin Boikanyo for believing in me when the parents keep questioning the ability of this creative. To my hood, Mohlakeng, it gave me the platform to try this creative out. To Blackrose, Suzan and Jequee for pushing me like bulls from the beginning. It’s all undying love. To Oom Leon “SonicTerrorist” Erasmus for crisping up my first offering and is always reminding me to remain humble. To Thami “VJ Raphido” for constantly supporting this creative! Also to the BoomBox for the platform. We all hope it comes back soon! To my parents, they are talented, ambitious creatives and individuals. It’s all love! To Lavatory Records for this opportunity and exposure. And of cause a big thanks and gratitude to the courage, strength and determination provided by the universe, my guardian angels and the kings and queens who did this before me. Peace and Blessings.