Music 11.6.2015 03:46 pm

Jukebox Thursday: Five musicians before they were famous

Nhlanhla Nciza and Theo Kgosinkwe of Mafikilizolo. Picture: Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo

Nhlanhla Nciza and Theo Kgosinkwe of Mafikilizolo. Picture: Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo

Before they were famous celebrities with millions of albums sold and piles of money to sleep on and the adoration of fans worldwide, many of today’s biggest artists had humble and often embarrassing starts to their careers.

In this week’s edition of Jukebox Thursdays, we look at the often cringe-worthy early works of some of our favourite artists.

1. Jay-Z

Before buying Tidal and before he was Mr. Knowles and the de facto CEO of hip-hop, Jay-Z was a drug dealer and part time rapper trying to break into the industry. Like most rap artists, Jay had to start from the bottom, making cameo appearances on songs and performances by more popular rappers (at the time) such as Big Daddy Kane and his mentor Jaz. Here is a young Jigga rapping incredibly fast during an interview on Yo! MTV Raps with legend Big Daddy Kane. Note how the interviewer doesn’t even say Jay Z’s name before asking him to rap.

Then

Now

** Jay Z has moved all his recent videos from YouTube to Tidal streaming service, so here’s a video with him and his wife:

2. Katy Perry

Back in 2008, Katy Perry broke out into the mainstream music scene with a song about kissing girls and liking it. She went on to become pop music’s biggest acts and one of the most popular artists of the post-2000 Billboard era. But before that, the Roar singer made Christian music in the early ‘00s under the name Katy Hudson. Raised by devout parents, Perry made her start in the industry making contemporary Christian rock before singing about kissing girls and liking it.

Then

Now

3. Mafikizolo

South Africa’s favourite afro-pop duo, Mafikizolo, have been a mainstay in the country for a little over ten years. In 2003, the group, then a trio, released their career making song, Ndihamba Nawe and South African weddings were never the same. They’ve gone on to make a string of hit singles and songs since then and took over Africa with their comeback single, Khona. The song made them bonafide, award winning African superstars. They were even giving away a plane last year. Before all that though, the group had a sleeper hit called Lotto. Look out for the lyrical depth and awesome graphics.

Then

Now

4. AKA

The self-proclaimed Prince of SA hip-hop and DJ Zinhle’s baby daddy, AKA, is without a doubt at the forefront of the country’s hip-hop scene and his sights are now set on the continent. As a solo artist, Mr Forbes has been active for about six years. But what you might not know is that; before the awards, accolades, Cassper Nyovest beef and Da Les bromance, the All Eyes On Me rapper was one third of the now defunct rap group, Entity. He, Greyhound and Vice Verser (Dali Mpofu’s son) released an album back in 2005. Their two singles, First Gear and Touch and Go, got them some notice and even garnered a Kora Award nomination. Look out for an awkwardly tall teenaged AKA and his dance moves.

Then

Now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcUP-C5xRUk

 

5. ProVerb

Mr Idols himself has been one of the longest surviving hip-hop artists in the country over the last decade. From his 2003 debut on Amu’s Attention, Pro has went on to release six albums. He recently held a concert at The Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of his debut album, The Book of ProVerb. Although his longevity in the entertainment industry is commendable, the first time South Africa saw ProVerb was back in 2000 on Jam Alley. And of course chose to do ‘freestlye’.

Then

Now

 

 

 

 

 

 

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