He is officially in this game for almost 19 years but what really strikes one about him is his humility and his sincere approach to his craft. June 3, 2014 marks the release of The Bio by Terror MC and this album is yet another milestone in a career that started with his very first studio recording at the age of 10.
Our first encounter in 2008 left such a huge impression on me before I even heard him rhyme a single verse. Till this day I relate this tale to young aspiring artists hoping that they will follow his example.
It was a Wednesday night Hip Hop battle & jam session, of which bruinou.com was a media partner, hosted at a club I also happened to work at. There was this guy who arrived about three hours early just as I was opening the doors. Terror MC simply explained: "I'm dependent on public transport and I will rather arrive very early for a battle instead of having some excuse like the trains are running late. If you can’t arrive early or on time for a battle then you can't expect to be on time for a paying audience when you have to perform at shows."
At that very moment I was still totally unaware of Terror MC's lyrical talent or his history with his craft but we had three hours to get to know each other. When he finally took to the stage it was still a whole lot more than I could ever have expected.
We recently caught up with Terror MC who has just permanently returned to the Mother City after living in Mossel Bay for the past four years, though he was regularly commuting to perform and record here during that time.
It all started when he was growing up in Ravensmead and as a primary school kid he would hang out with other kids making little rhymes but there was nothing really original to it. It was just a playground rhyme game in which all the kids would be reciting the same street rhymes that kids pick up. It was however during the school holidays when he used to visit his aunt in Kuilsriver for the vacation that his cousin who was an emcee introduced him to his much more complicated self-penned rhymes.
"All I knew were the raps that I learned at school but everybody knew it, so I realised that none of them know my cousins rhymes. I asked him to teach me those rhymes and after the holidays I rhymed those versus at school to the other kids.
They were like, Yorrr!!! That's Kwaai! You can be a rapper! No one knew it wasn’t my rhymes but I just stuck to it."
After a few months he started writing his own rhymes because he was beginning to understand how rhyme structures work. Though he was not born into a family of musicians, his aptitude for writing rhymes was encouraged by his mother who had a large music collection exposing Terror to a variety of genres and she was always collecting or writing down the lyrics of her favourite songs.
The young Terror MC was aware of the rap group in his area called Cell Block of which Wayne Hipe Robertsons, who is nowadays regarded as one of the top Hip Hop producers in the country, was the producer back in 1996.
"One early evening I met two Cell Block members at a corner shop playing arcade games. I introduced myself and they asked me to spit a rhyme. The next day they introduced me to Hipe and two days later I was in studio recording my first song.
I was 10 years old and that was when I knew exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life."
Now this might seem all too easy and because I know it couldn't have been a free ride all the way, we asked Terror MC what is it that's required from someone who wants to pursue entertainment as a career.
"You really have to be sure that it is what you want to do and you have to make sure that you are actually cut out for the struggles that you will face. You have to be true to yourself because the journey ahead is hard and long. There is a lot of learning to do and you have to be willing to learn constantly. You need lots of patience as success does not come overnight and you have to remain humble even when you do seem to be succeeding and it seems you are starting to reach the top of your game."
"After many years of hard work, releasing singles and featuring on other artist's tracks, it was only in 2008 that I released my debut solo album Street Life."
"Before that album, as I was starting to make headway, I formed a group called Rapbels with Phoenix, Bracen Kayle, Cream and Bitter. We were working with a producer from Paarl, the late Panaikz, Rest in Peace, and we released an EP called Die Formula 2005.
In 2006 I released The Terrorvision Mixtape and I also featured on the 2007 Planetary Assault compilation album by Pioneer Unit."
After the release of his debut album Terror MC got international recognition in 2010 when he represented South Africa on a global compilation called Worldwide Raps with 72 languages all on one album.
The Bio has been three years in the making, most of it recorded in Mossel Bay with only some of it recorded in Cape Town.
The album is almost entirely self-produced, engineered and mastered with the exception of one track produced by Charlie Hamilton at Backyard Studios.
"The original plan was to record the full album with Charlie at Backyard Studios but I felt I wanted this album to be all of me. I wanted to feel the creative juices fully flowing and I wanted to put in everything that I've learned in Hip Hop.
That's why it’s called The Bio."
In terms of direction and style Terror MC says that if you didn't bring anything new in the form of style and production to an album, then it means you did not grow in your craft.
"Like I've said on a recent radio interview with DJ Ready D, it contains that Boombap sound not to simply just take you back there but to really bring the whole concept of having your own style to the fore. A lot of emcees are losing the essence of Hip Hop, thinking that style is simply a form of flowing over beats. Some younger emcees are completely confused on how to ride a beat, let alone be relevant in terms of lyrical content. Basically I’m touching on topics with which I try to uplift the upcoming emcees because they are the future of Hip Hop but at the same time I’m being real. I strive to do music that ordinary people can relate to."
Terror MC says he decided not to work with any of the 'usual suspects' this time around as he wanted to completely dictate the flavour. "I have however collaborated with a few talented new cats living in Mossel Bay. Manta is a soul singer who features on two of the tracks and Caz Kariz, an emcee originally from Kenya, features on two other tracks.
Then there is the vocalist called Maqwathini who appears on one track. They brought exactly what I was looking for on this album"
We wondered if he would be aiming directly for the radio charts since he has had a few singles play-listed on radio over the years, but he says: “Though it would be a plus if I get play-listed, one cannot rely solely on radio to promote an album.”
"What shows like The Ready D Show on Goodhope FM does is really great for local artists, and I appreciate it, but all those type of radio shows are only on at night. During the day, even if a South African artist has a genuine hit, it does not nearly get as much airplay as the international artists get. Radio is just not doing enough for SA Hip Hop and SA music in general."
The album is only available for sale as a digital download and future demand will be the deciding factor in considering whether to go ahead and press physical copies.
Now that he is back in Cape Town, he says he will definitely once again become a regular on the live performance circuit and he plans to arrange some shows to promote the album and perhaps do some shows in other parts of the country as well.
Meanwhile, you can get a taste of his latest album by listening to one of the new tracks “Frustrations“ and also get to see the video 'Liberate Yourself' off his 2008 album Street Life.
You can Click Here to Buy The Album and for more info or to hear more of his music you can visit the following sites.