Meet Robin Thirdfloor, young rapper shaping the future of Durban scene

After his performance at Show-Me Festival in Zurich (CH) we sat down with Durban’s rapper Robin Thirdfloor.

Let’s face it! The landscape of South African rap has changed.

Robin Thirdfloor, also known as Simphiwe Nyawose, emerged onto the local hip hop scene in 2014 with his self released debut EP titled “Sounds Empty Pockets Make”.

Inspired by South African greats like Tkzee and Brown Dash this brilliant musician effortlessly fuses kwaito, electronic and hip hop to create his unique sound. Last August he released his second EP Bhotela, a seven-track studio recording that skillfully takes his neo-kwaito sound to new levels. “Bhotela is an isiZulu word for butter“, but as Robin explains, “in the townships it also refers to cheesy boys, or misfits: basically, the different kids.”

Robin has seen his name grow in leaps and bounds, with new ventures like a performance at the iconic SXSW festival in the USA and the success of his single ‘Somdanger’  he has returned with a new hot track called ‘Crazy’ featuring Easy Freak.


Could you tell us about your name, why Robin Thirdfloor?

Robin comes from Robin hood I really love the concept of Robin Hood, not literally the legend saying he robbed from the rich and given to the poor, but it’s more about being that guy who gathers other people in his cause with him. And Thirdfloor it’s because, it’s my third rap name.


Joburg is seeing somewhat of South Africa’s leading city for rising rap. How is the urban scene in Durban?

For me being in Durban is an amazing opportunity I have. Durban has so much potential. I think, there is so much that I can do for Durban. My mentality is to create and invite people to share that passion. Everything that I do now is for the kids by creating platforms and opportunities for them. It’s not even just about me you know .. OK fine I’m getting what ever I’m getting making the moves that I’m making but for those little ones they need to not move and make it in Durban. So, I’m what of those people who are pushing that. There are so many peoples who have been going to Joburg, for better opportunities in their minds you know. I just feel like it is time for us to create a musical industry in Durban. We are doing that now, we are creating our own platforms, having our own events and basically like that we are trying to create an industry here in Durban by its artists. For me its to go there, gets and bring back here.

What are you favorite topics? 

I have my own movement which I’m pushing called Bhotela Republic (it’s also the name of his last EP). With that movement we are trying to push self love, unity and peace. World needs to change. I feel like the world needs that. Whatever you are doing you can contribute into spreading positivity. We need people to know that they are capable of doing things, good things. Bhotela Republic is about pushing positivity. That’s what my music is about.


If you could choose, who would you like to invite for a featuring on your next production?

Right now, there is a guy named Raury, I think we share the same vision, the same vibes and also the same values in term of changing the world, spreading positivity. I don’t know if we could collaborate on a song but I think we might make really good friends.
Tyler The Creator as well, so talented artist, Jaden Smith is also very cool. But also I would love to collaborate with South African guys like Spoek Mathambo and Darkie Fiction, a really nice duo. I definitively want to work with those guys as well.

Read next: Discover Angolan producer Nazar’s rough kuduro echoing the civil war