When you think about music, art or creativity in general, the last thing you’d think of are rules and regulations. No artist likes to deal with anything related to federal and centralisation, as that usually involves some form of control of their art or artistry by the government!
Federal above the Law, commonly known as FDL, is a rapper from Soshanguve in Pretoria. Despite what his name stands for, FDL embodies his full poetic license and is all about creating with no restrictions. He is part of the group Sky[Hi]Fed and an emerging solo artist who has been doing his thing for a long time. FDL is one busy man who finds it hard to sit still as he’s always on the move. Lavatory Records was happy to get a moment with him.
We asked him about his solo career, Sky[Hi]Fed and his perspectives on hip hop at the moment among other things.
LR: When and what made you decide to pursue music as a career?
FDL: I started rapping from the age of nine, so I’ve been writing songs since primary school. This was something I did occasionally but when I was in high school I would write whenever I was alone. I then actually realized that writing helped me to stay sane. Music is my life I took it serious ‘because it helped me with a lot of emotional things and situations. In 2005 I took it to the next level when I stepped into the studio to record and made magic happen.
LR: Which artists have influenced your style of music the most?
FDL: The artists that were a huge influence is Dr Dre, Snoop, the west coast to Dru Hill down to Eminem Tech9, LL Cool J. A lot of R&B singers like your Ushers, Ginuwine, D ’Angelo etc. As well as a bit of Rock music to UK artists such as Dizzy Rascal and many more, to even Kwaito artists like TKZ.
LR: You are also part of the group called Sky[Hi]Fed. How did the group get formed and who are the members?
FDL: Sky[Hi]Fed is a duo made up of Hamika (Katlego) and I. We formed the duo after deciding to collaborate on an EP together. Our styles are different but we had the same goals so we made it happen.
LR: How would you describe the experience of being a solo artist vs. being part of a group?
FDL: As a solo artist it’s easier! You know what you want and you go for it with no hassle! Whereas being in a group means having to gel together, and sometimes some of your individual ideas can’t be used. You have to leave room for an idea to be changed because someone else can make it better or it won’t work out well for the collective.
LR: Which artists would you most like to collaborate with and why?
FDL: Would love to do a song with Kevin Gates because his sound and mind-set is very musical, and so I can I relate to him very well.
LR: What is your take on the sudden trend of the release of diss tracks since Remy Ma’s ‘Shether’?
FDL: About that diss track, in life you will have a clash with someone especially in hip hop as hip hop its very competitive! However, for me diss songs sound like gossip because you are scared to confront a person face-to-face. Even thou Remy is a straight shooter whom I have a lot of respect for, but I however don’t follow trends so I stay in my lane and just do me.
LR: What’s your opinion on the notion that to make it as a South African rapper “you have to rap in vernacular”?
FDL: When I think about the term vernacular, seems like they were trying to say rep’ your hood, your lingo so people know where you came from! Yo… get back to your roots where hip hop comes from. I believe in doing music your own way where I feel I can’t be boxed in because someone out there will struggle to hear me. I only focus on doing good music but I know a lot of times vernacular does not compliment the song, sometimes it works -that’s all I can say on that!
LR: Any future projects/ events coming up that you wanna tell us about?
FDL: I’m focused on releasing my mixtape (to be confirmed). For everything else people will have to check my social media (Facebook and Instagram: @fdlsupaster_sa) to know where my future events will be! So follow me.
LR: What other interests do you have outside of music?
FDL: I’d actually like to do my own sitcoms. I like jokes and movies and I like to create something about the gym because I like to work out! I would like to do a lot of sky diving and crazy stuff. I am a BIG fan of anime so I would like to go Japan n create something in that space.
LR: Anybody you want to shout out?
FDL: I would like to send a shout out to Trey, Thato, Mazwai and my fans who’ve held me down from the ground up! The sky is never the limit when you are a star move to new horizons.