South African rapper Sipho the Gift unveils his new EP Bloom, a jazzy 4 track project with a potent feel good production. For the occasion PAM met with Sipho to discuss his background, influences and the major themes of the EP.
With his new project, Bloom, the South African rapper from Cape Town shows how much he has grown in the rap game. The artist, who’s been maturing musically for some time, can now embrace the process; getting his hands dirty with producing, composition and, of course, rapping.
Since his debut in 2015 with his first album (Coming of Age) a few follow-up singles, and wrapping up the decade with two full length albums in 2017 (Kintsugi) and 2019 (iNDiGO), Sipho the Gift continues to build his presence and musical stature bit by bit.
Working simultaneously as a producer, an author and a composer on his new EP, Sipho is opening his artistic wheelhouse while demonstrating serious skills through these intricate tracks. PAM had the opportunity to discuss all this and more with Sipho himself.
Could you tell us more about your background in music? What are some of your influences?
I started listening to hip-hop and gangster rap around the age of 7 so my palette was shaped by the works of Dr. Dre, Eminem, and 50 Cent. Only later I was introduced to South African legends like Skwatta Kamp, Khuli Chana, Pro & HHP who combined the best of lyricism, impeccable flow, and melody.
I started playing guitar at age 12 and writing quickly came after that when my mom got me a notebook from work. I assume she knew I had something to say from being so alone with my thoughts most of the time.
Then, I started producing my own music when a friend from school introduced me to Fruity Loops as it was known back then. I didn’t release any of my own music till about 2015 when a video for a song (titled “Phanda More”) I made in my room got playlisted on MTV Base.
As I’ve grown, my influences have grown more niche and focused on the introspective, soulful, alternative side of music. Anything that can make you feel.
As a singer/ artist/ producer, what is does your creative process look like?
I usually start out with a feeling/sonic aesthetic for the type of mood I’m going for then I collect images, samples, and song references.
Next, I start making the beats that give me that feeling, and the writing kind of happens simultaneously. Then, I start trying with experimental mixing ideas I’d love to test.
The last phase is usually a big blurred mash-up off all the stages with no clear sign of what’s coming out on the other side. There’s usually a lot left on the shop floor. Bloom was the product of a year of this process but other projects came from it too, so it worked out well.
Your music is very personal, can you tell us what you want to express in this new EP? What are the major themes of this work?
I want to express bold confidence in myself and my music. I’m at a stage where I can masterfully dictate my sound and express my thoughts and I love it. It’s a celebration of my growth artistically, gratitude for everything that’s brought me here and a statement of my future intentions: keep growing and refining.
This four-track EP gives Sipho a seat at the table of South African rappers about to emerge on the international scene, and we can only advise you to take 10 minutes to listen to Bloom and immerse yourself in the universe of this promising artist.