Interview: Munashe — “Global by 21”

Auckland rapper/producer Munashe is new to the NZ music scene. ‘It hasn’t even been a year but I think I’ve made a fair amount of progress’, he says. 
The 17-year-old, originally from Zimbabwe, has such a passion for what he’s doing; school has taken a backseat to recording music and doing shows. Having been noticed by Raiza Biza and subsequently adopted into the AmmoNation collective, Munashe says, it feels good to rep a team and be kept in check, quality wise. Seeing him perform live at the Back To Basics gig in Wellington, hosted by YP Productions and Ill Magik, it’s clear this kid is not one to underestimate or sleep on. Whendidyoufallinlovewithhiphop caught up with him before the show to talk about what keeps him motivated, his upcoming mixtape and how he plans to be a global name by 21.  

HH: When did you start making beats?

M: I started making beats when I was 10 on FL Studio. My older cousin hooked me up with it and that’s when I started.

HH: You produce a lot of your own music…

M: Yeah, most of it.

HH: How do you feel about collaborating with other artists, be it production or features? Do you like to do that or are you more confident doing things by yourself? 

M: That’s a tough question because at the same time, I’ve collaborated and worked with other people but I also like crafting my own music. So, it really depends.

HH: With crafting your own music, do you feel like it’s beneficial because you have complete control of your vision within your own reach?

M: Yeah exactly. I mean, if you want something right you’ve gotta do it yourself.

“I was getting into an argument with my cousin. I was trying to tell him that Lil Wayne was the best rapper ever, then he played me some Nas.”  

HH: So, you’re performing at Back To Basics, to basically a new crowd. What kind of stuff do you have in store to introduce yourself to everybody?

M: I’m gonna do a lot of unreleased stuff from my mixtape that I’ve been working on, so yeah, I’m really stoked to perform those because I’ve never done it before.

HH: When’s your mixtape coming out?

M: The end of October.

HH: How much do you still have to do?

M: It’s almost done. I’ve got stuff written but I just need to record because I’ve got school, it’s noisy, the people I live with, so I can’t really record all the time.

HH: What’s it like juggling school and music? Because I find that some of us don’t really find a clear balance but rather choose one to focus on the most and neglect the other.

M: (laughs) Yeah , I’ve sort of done that.

HH: Has that had any affect on your parents? Because they’re supportive, but when they see your grades going down, how do they take that?

M: I got into a little something with them last week because one of my teachers said something in one of my classes. So yeah, they’re not too happy about that.

HH: At times people are quite stunned when there are young musicians doing really well. What do you think about people putting somewhat of a label on young artists like “only 16” or “only 17”? 

M:  I think being young is sort of an advantage because, when people look at you, they see potential. When people see someone older, they’ve kind of reached their prime. But when they’re young you see the potential and there’s hope.

HH: Raiza Biza has also taken notice and got you into AmmoNation. How does it feel being part of a collective?

M: It’s pretty cool being part of a collective because you have a team to rep. It’s not just your name on the line, but you’ve got a collective behind you which makes you stay up to par with the other members of your team.

HH: Some aspiring musicians, and anyone for that matter, tend to have a slump in their motivation. What goals do you set for yourself, or what rule do you live by to continue making music without wanting to say “Uh, yeah I quit”? 

M: I always write down what I want to do. Everyday when I wake up in the morning, I write something like  “Make a beat. Record.” Because I feel more motivated when something’s on paper. I don’t know why, it’s just a mental thing.

HH: When did you know that Hip Hop was something you wanted to do as a career, all day, everyday?

M: The first time I heard Nas. Yeah, that’s when I knew. I was getting into an argument with my cousin. I was trying to tell him that Lil Wayne was the best rapper ever, then he played me some Nas. I was like, eleven or something, and I just fell in love from then on.

HH: What long-term goals do you have for your career? 

M: I plan to be global by 21, so that’s what I’m working towards.

HH: What’s it like having the support of your family, because sometimes, especially coming from an African background where parents want you to do a set criteria of things like being a doctor or accountant…

M: Or a lawyer…

HH: Yeah, exactly! What does it feel like to know you’ve got parents who actually support something really artsy?

M: I wouldn’t say my parents support me, and if they do, they’ve only started recently. Back in the day they didn’t really want anything about music.

HH: I suppose as you progress they’ll start to see that it’s something worth doing.

M: Yeah, definitely with time.

HH: When did you fall in love with Hip Hop?

M: I don’t really know, I can’t put a date on it. It’s just always been something I’ve been into from when I was a little kid. My sister used to just put on MTV, Juice and I’d just listen to what’s playing all day, but it’s always been a part of my life.

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