Notshi - Insert Coin

Local, Urban
Insert Coin

He's just 20-years-old but already Notshi is showing just how far Motswako hip-hop can go. "The old school has paved the way for people like me to take the Motswako sound to a different level," Notshi says of his debut album, Insert Coin.

It's a confident boast from the Itoseng-raised artist but it's one that is backed up by, hands down, one of the best urban albums to be released in 2010.

The 20-track offering is already having a significant impact on South Africa's hip-hop scene with its skilled and sussed combination of tracks that are as much about the challenges of being in the music industry (the wake-up call "Oikepela Lebitla featuring KG) as about love ("My Lady Song") or parties ("Birthday Weekend").

"I guess aside from the production and beats, it's the lyrics that make my music more new school than old," says Notshi. "Birthday Weekend" featuring Maxhoba is a straight-up party joint that is the first single off 'Insert Coin'. Soon to be accompanied by a music video, "Birthday Weekend" has all the ingredients to set clubs and house parties on fire in the 2010 festive season period.

'Insert Coin' also has plenty of tracks that serve as wake-up for young fans - after all, there's nothing as powerful as hearing from someone close to your age about "waiting for your time to come" to entere the world of adults, as Notshi convincingly raps on "Ako O reetse".  "Ke Jele (Peo Ya Motswako)" is also a rallying cry against things like xenophobia - fittingly featuring Mo'Molemi, undoubtedly one of Motswako's most conscious rappers.

Mo'Molemi is just one of several creative collaborators on 'Insert Coin'. Others include Kuli Chana (on the gossip-slaying "Sheba Tsa Hoa (Mabarebare)", Nathi on the moving "I Believe", and Element and Sifiso on "Convoy". Production-wise Notshi chose to work with DJ Hypnosis ("I love the stuff he produces," he says) as well as D Mongz which whom he worked previously and who has worked with the likes of Proverb (Manuscript), HHP, Zubz (Headphone music in a parallel world), Tukz (The Monopoly), H20 (Sheleng), Navio (Uganda) and Jay (Nigeria).

As much as he is pursuing a new school Motswako sound, Notshi is super-aware of the legacy of this popular hip hop genre - and the dues he's been allowed to pay through his earlier collaborative work with some of Motswako's forerunners.

Among these is DJ Lemonka, a well-regarded DJ who has worked with the likes of HHP, Tuks, Mo'lemi and Morafe and who first heard Notshi raping his song "Reach For Your Goals" to a Fugees beat on a cell phone. Convinced of Notshi's exceptional talent, Lemonka tracked the teenager down at a weekly hip hop session held in Itsoseng (Notshi's hometown in the North West).

Once news of Notshi's prodigious talent spread in the Motskwako community, he rapidly became an in-demand vocal guest - appearing on "Game Over: Part Two" with Tuks (featured, along with 'Reach For Your Goals" on DJ Lemonka's 'DJ Lemonka Presents Motswako" mixtape). Notshi also appeared on Mo' Molemi's 2009 album "Motszamai" and HHP's "Dumela" (also in 2009).

It's clear that the man whose name translate to "bee" in SeTwana has plenty of sting left to deliver in the coming years. "Insert Coin is just the beginning for me," he says. 

Release Date : 14 Feb 2011