Collaborations remain indisputably one of the most exciting things that can happen in music, and Buks and Solo are taking full advantage of this.
With rap and all of its subjectivity though; ahead of any collaborative project, along with the excitement comes the concern – concern that certain elements won’t mix well together or that expectations won’t be met. After listening to just the first single from BETR Gang, ‘Van Gogh’, all concerns proved to be nothing more but fleeting.
From the beat choice on the single to the string of intermingles between Buks’ and Solo’s verses, the track is refreshing and I’m convinced that the duo will satisfy any hip-hop head. Whether its a fun track to come across on the radio, a song with lyricism to admire, or a perfect blend of the two that you’re looking for, BETR Gang will be able to deliver.
These are two of my favourite artists out, and they’ve been for a while now. In this Q&A with Solo and Buks, they discuss their approach to ‘We Need a Title’, how they’re doing it for the people, and the beginning of the movement that is BETR Gang…
In South Africa, we don’t generally get solo rappers coming together for projects like this. Why the decision to have the collaboration?
“The two of us have been making music together for some years now. We found a synergy as a result. We decided to put together this collaborative album to showcase that level of musical understanding. We also had a lot to say.”
Going into ‘We Need a Title’, how have both of you brought your individual styles and influences to work together? Have there been difficulties fusing them?
“We both have a shared vision and that comes together with the Movement that is BETR Gang. We had conversations of what we have wanted to change in the industry using our own voices for a number of years now. It’s also always interesting when two like-minded people get together and work. Our influences in hip-hop are pretty much the same and coming up at the same time makes the synergy that much more evident in the studio. We have different styles of rapping but, because they’re at such a compelling level, there are no gaps left in the music. We compliment each other very well and the process, as long and strenuous as it was at times was never a difficult one.”
Looking at the SA rap game right now, how much attention did you guys pay to the trends that are popping? Do you think we should expect something similar, or will you be going a different route with it?
“As artists, its important to keep up with the trends. Knowing what’s going on around you is what keeps things evolving. We are always in the loop. When it comes to our music, however, we have always felt it important to highlight the things that distinguish us. All those differences are what shape our unique path as BETR Gang. I don’t think it wise to look for other peoples’ signatures in our music. You will not find that here.”
You released ‘Van Gogh’ and the people have been loving it. As two rappers known for taking pride in your lyrical abilities, ultimately what would you like the Hip Hop community to take away from Betr Gang?
“What people need to take away from BETR Gang is that we’re a movement. We stand behind the notion of trying to be better every single day at our craft. Do whatever you do correctly. Body EveryThing Right! More than anything we need to get the point across that we are meticulous in our approach and we want it to show in our music and in all of our endeavours . The music is our vehicle for great innovation.”
So once the project is out, where can the people get it?
“The album will be available for purchase at www.betrgang.co.za. We have come up with a very interesting concept for its’ consumption. Fans will be able to purchase the album at any price. With #BETRPayAnyAmount listeners can get the album for what they think it’s worth, or even what they can afford. Even if that amount is R0.”
Listen to the first track off of ‘We Need a Title’ called ‘Van Gogh’ here.