Wamb??seun, from Mondesa to the world
So is it LO2 or Wambüseun?
I acquired ‘Wambüseun’ after dropping a track by the same name and it stuck. I, however, have different personalities; Lawnan is the businessman, Sandy is the at-home guy and LO2 is the alter-ego to Wambüseun.
What have you been up to?
Been busy putting up a farm. There’s nothing on the plot yet, so I’m starting from scratch. I have two albums recorded eight years ago, so I’ll be adding and removing songs from them to make them sound more current.
What was the hardest thing for you to deal with as a kid?
I grew up all over the country. It wasn’t tough per say but the experience made me more adaptable. I learnt different languages very quickly at a young age. But the toughest thing for me came during my teenage years; not having a father figure. I had to find father figures in my favourite movie stars and superheroes.
You brought Jack Parrow to Namibia last year, what can fans look forward to this year?
In August, I will have a live concert with award-winning South African Afrikaans rock band, Van Coke Kartel. I will also be celebrating 16 years in the industry, so I will be giving away a car. To stand a chance to win it, fans will have to get a ticket to the concert.
You’re one of the few artists to have a sponsor deal (Score Energy). Why do you think most companies shy away from sponsoring local artists?
Artists here lack professionalism. For example, an artist can be booked for a show that starts at 7pm and are required to pitch an hour before that for sound check, but the artist will show up 20 minutes after the show starts. How do you expect to be taken seriously when you don’t even take yourself seriously? Many artists also lack knowledge of the co-operate world.
How do you come up with your songs?
I am inspired by random things. There are songs that take me 20 minutes to write while others take me three years or longer to finish. I guess I get inspired by life in general.
How was the kasie life in Mondesa?
It was the birth of Wambüseun. I draw a lot of reference from my experiences there. It was not a hard life, I cannot lie. I also can’t say I had to be a gangster and saw gruesome things and whatever, like some rappers try to reconstruct their pasts. I saw some things, yes, but it was a decent life.
What do you think of the current state of local hip hop?
It has certainly evolved. There are some good things but there are a lot we’re unhappy with too. To a certain extent, we lack identity. There are those who complain that only certain rappers get the chance to get booked outside the country and even perform in USA and Europe, but how do you expect to get booked in those parts of the world when you sound exactly like the rappers already in there?
You do Afrikaans music, which is predominantly white but in a black medium, hip hop, one would think that was a recipe for disaster?
True, it even seemed that way initially. Whenever I performed, I would be hated to from both sides. Whenever I went to the hood, I wouldn’t be appreciated for rapping in that language. Whenever I performed in town, Afrikaners didn’t like the fact that I was rapping in their language. It took 12 years for both sides to recognise me. My own family didn’t understand it, they told me to get a Government job like everyone else, but I stood by my dream. Now I’m the biggest export for local music and Afrikaans has grown as a language.
Who’s your favourite local artist?
Kanibal. I have a lot of respect for him. He has raw talent. After being a heavy weight in the industry for many years, he’s still one of the few who can still surprise you. I like MC Ray as well. He just needs the right people behind him, though. But above and beyond those two is Harry. The way he captivates audiences is a unique talent.
Did you hear about the ‘destroy and rebuild’ talk last month?
Yes, but my question is; what are we to ‘destroy and rebuild’? I’d rather work with what is here now. Unless someone gives me a proper definition of what the initiative is all about, I’ll stay away from it, because I don’t even think the guys pushing this agenda completely understand what they’re talking about.
Your dream team track; four artists and a producer?
Me of course, alongside Mark from Black Vulcanite, MC Ray and Catty Catt. Producer, Glo.
Ever had a crush on a local celebrity?
Definitely; Lady May.
You’re stuck on an island with a few zombies, you have a choice of five local celebrities to survive on; who do you pick?
Selma Moses; the NBC News sign language interpreter. I’d choose her for good company while passing time. Mario Locke and Killa B would help me fight the zombies. I’d also pick Ruby from Energy 100, because I would need motivation to stay alive and Kanibal for when we need someone to sacrifice to the zombies.
What’s the lamest Valentine’s gift you’ve ever given a girl?
A plastic blow-up heart, which was not even bigger than my hand.
What was your most embarrassing moment during a live show?
At the Castle Light event last year, the organisers didn’t have the right equipment for me but I decided to go on stage anyway. I ended up sounding 10 times worse than an amateur. It was the most embarrassing performance of my life.
What else do you do besides music?
I’m an aspiring farmer and I am also about to become a CEO of one of the biggest media establishments in the country. But that’s a secret for now.
If you could have a chat with anyone from history, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Hedrick Witbooi and Samuel Maharero. I would ask them how we lost our land and ended up selling it to foreigners.
What are you currently working on?
My next album. It will be called ‘Stel My Voor’. It should come out late this year or early next year. I also want to start doing more live shows as well. I also hope people build their expectations on the big show this August, which will be a celebration of my 16 years in the industry.