There’s no denying that Hip Hop music has evolved since its inception. Through this evolution the Hip Hop sound has been infused with other sounds, and more predominantly the Rhythm and Blues (R&B) sound. This has led to a joint urban genre between the two styles within the mainstream categorization.
According to many folks within the Urban and Hip Hop culture, LL Cool J who’s one of the rappers renowned for love-inspired rap lyrics, would most likely be the main protagonist behind the idea of merging Hip Hop with R&B music. In the early 2000’s Ja Rule also rode the wave of love inspired raps to much commercial success.
Yang Cil is a young rapper who just started out in the game and has hopes to emulate the type of sound popularized by the aforementioned acts. For this rapper who hails from Mpumalanga, a province which rarely gets much attention for its musical artistry, the independent route seemed to be the only alternative. Yang Cil has enjoyed some personal success through self-distribution of his latest EP titled Life Is So Hard. In this interview Yang Cil shares his story and account of “getting out the gate” and doing it all by himself, while spreading a message of positiveness.
Lavatory Records: Who is Yang Cil and how did the name come about?
Yang Cil: Yang Cil is an independent Hip Hop artist from Mpumalanga, born and raised in Nelspruit. The name “CIL” is an acronym for “Crazy In Love”. I got it from high school because I used to rap all the time and people started calling me C.I.L because I was crazy in love with music. As time went on most of the local rappers started calling me Yang Cil, which I disliked as it sounded Chinese to me, but I eventually accepted it as it became popular.
LR: How did you get into music and what has the journey been like up to now?
YC: I grew up listening to Hip Hop music, and had a dream of becoming a successful rapper one day. I’ve stuck to it till now, even though it’s been hard especially when I got into it (laughs). I hustled a lot to get my music out and up there for the people to enjoy.
LR: Which musical acts inspired you while you growing up?
YC: I grew up listening to the Notorious B.I.G and 2pac’s music. In those years these two cats were dominant, popular and unique. Their lyrics made a difference in my life, they were motivating, encouraging and guiding me, because their stories were all about life’s ups and downs in the streets. I identified mostly with them because at the time I was also facing some of the same struggles that they were talking about.
LR: If time and resources were perfectly aligned which artist or producers would you like to collaborate with?
YC: South African Hip Hop is in the highest level now; everybody that is involved in it is doing very well. So for me, it’s hard to pick one or two names of producers or musicians that I wish to collaborate with.
LR: The province where you from, Mpumalanga, is not really known for its music, what is the Hip Hop scene like over there?
YC: Mpumalanga is full of talent and when it comes to Hip Hop, we have lots of rappers. The reason why maybe people believe that Mpumalanga is quiet is the fact that we don’t have all the good resources required by artists to blow up. Everyone needs to go to Jozi (Johannesburg) if he wants to be successful in music because all the resources that we need are there. Mpumalanga is full of talent but has few opportunities.
LR: Tell us about your latest project ‘Life Is So Hard’. What’s the significance behind the title?
YC: Actually, the Life Is So Hard project is doing very well. A lot of people are still demanding my EP so I always make sure that I make it available for them all the time. The EP has very emotional songs were about the failures and good opportunities I’ve encountered and messed up in my life. Hence, the title Life Is So Hard.
LR: If there’s one track you would want everyone to hear from Life Is So Hard. Which one would that be and why?
YC: I would like them to listen to a very special song titled Peaceful World. This is one of the greatest songs that contains positive a message that has the power to integrate people from different races. My plan as an artist is to create great music that can make a difference in people’s lives. As you saw the Xenophobic incidents we had this year in South African, people were attacking foreigners and that was not good. So I wrote this song to motivate our people and the world to stop violence, crime, racism, women and child abuse.
LR: Why did you go for an EP instead of a full-length album?
YC: In the beginning my plan was to record an album, unfortunately we lost our sound card. It went for repairs and we postponed the album because we were told that we would get our sound card back after two months but that never happened. Then people wanted my music so badly that I decided to go for an EP because we had managed to finish 6 songs in the album before we lost the sound card.
LR: What has your experience of South Africa music industry been like in general?
YC: The South African music industry is the best in Africa and improving every day. It’s also very hard to get into it and stay in it for good. There are very few musicians who’ve managed to have longevity, because every year a new artist always shows up to take your spotlight. It is possible to absorb the pressure but not easy.
LR: What kind of support structure would you say independent up-and-coming artist like yourself need?
YC: We need people/venue owners to take us seriously, respect our brands and support our music.
LR: When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
YC: I have a daily job as an assistant technician at a motor company.
LR: What can we look out for from you in terms of future projects and events?
YC: Yang Cil is a hard working musician; people must expect more great music and more fantastic events.
LR: Any special mentions you want to shout out?
YC: I’d like to thank all the people who have supported my music since day one. Their love and support made me who I am today. I wish they could do the same for all the upcoming young stars.
Thank you Yang Cil for taking the time to do speak to us. Follow Yang Cil on Facebook, Twitter: @LeryTl and on Reverbnation to stay in the loop of what he’s up to. Don’t forget to check out his debut solo effort: Life Is So Hard ,available for free download and streaming.