I’m convinced that Joburg is called The City of Gold for two reasons. The first, is because of its beginnings as a gold-mining town; and the second is undoubtedly because of the plethora of talented rappers that continually emerge from all corners of the city.
I’d like to think that he doesn’t need an introduction but, unfortunately there are the few that haven’t caught on to this experimental, young rapper straight out of Joburg. When I think ‘Sam Turpin’, I think ‘divergence’ – divergence from the norm and all mainstream trends, towards a completely unparalleled artist. With some of the most well-thought out lyrics and introspective concepts, it’s difficult to ignore the talent oozing from Sam Turpin…
For those who are in the dark, who is Sam Turpin and when did you get into this rap bidness?
“Sam Turpin is a rapper from Joburg. I got into rap when I was eight years old but only started working on my own stuff when I was fourteen. My early stuff was really terrible but I started to get serious when I was 16 after my mother passed.”
You’ve previously spoken about OutKast having quite a strong influence on you. What exactly is it about them that you dig so much and how would you say that may be reflected in your music?
“I think OutKast have been such a strong influence because of how varied their music is. It’s like no two tracks sound the same so I was able to learn how hey incorporated different influences. I actually included a number of OutKast references in ‘Eternal Sentiment’ but they’re not obvious. I really like the way they structure their tracks too, and are able to add ad-libs and breaks.”
What is your creative process like?
“I always have to be inspired. Mostly my music is emotional and inspired by personal experiences that I need to let out somehow, but I’ve also been inspired by what’s going on in society. Social issues and anxieties are things that I’ve touched on. I guess my process would be taking things that re important to me and finding a way to put them out through my beats and through my lyrics.”
You’ve performed at a couple of dope places. How difficult was it for you to get to some of those stages?
“I think that when it comes to gigs, as an artist, it’s important not to beg and also not to assume that they’ll come on their own. You need to have a product that you’re able to give people that speaks for itself and when you have that, hopefully there will be people who want to help you share it. It’s all about how hard you work.”
What platforms are you hoping to see being created for emerging artists, like yourself, to get out there and really spread your message?
“I think there definitely could be more radio outlets for emerging artists to give people a chance to get their stuff out there. Also, I think people who throw parties and organize shows need to be more open with their artist selection or at least have a good submission process. There are a couple dong that kind of thing but mostly it’s the sane names on the line-up.”
What are your comments on the rap scene in Joburg right now?
“It’s amazing. As difficult as it is for new artists to break out, the artists that are doing stuff are doing some crazy work and I think that now we’re all seeing a list of people that aren’t all the same. There are different avenues of expression and different artists to relate to. Aside from how closed the radio and show avenues are, the internet is also being utilized by new artists and the Jozi scene online is also amazing.”
Your sound is quite unique. Despite the burst in creativity in all spaces right now, your music is different from what’s been coming out. What impact are you hoping to have on the music industry; whether it’s now or in years to come?
“I guess I just want people to know that you don’t have to stick to any formula in what you do. I think that finding your own process and your own way to incorporate what you like is really important. If something means a lot to you then incorporate it. Personally, I find closure in putting forth my message one way and having people interpret it in another. I want people to take what they want to from my music – especially if they relate to it. Most importantly, I want people to know that they can break whatever cage they’re in at the moment.”
On to ‘Thoughts’: Tell me a little bit about it. What should the people expect and how did the concept come about?
“People can definitely expect something different with Thoughts. It’s not like any of my other tracks and I experimented quite heavily with the production. It came through my need to say some things that I wouldn’t be able so say in any other way. Shooting the video was an amazing experience. There is some colour symbolism in there but, like my other work, I’ll leave that all up to interpretation. I want to keep the rest for when it drops.”
Any plans for after ‘Thoughts’?
“I’m announcing something special after it drops, so people will have to wait and see!”
Peep the music video for ‘Cranes’ which is off of Sam’s last project Eternal Sentiment. ‘Thoughts’ drops on the 2nd of November so keep your eyes on his Instagram or Twitter for links!