2015 club playlists were not complete without Roll Up or the ReUp to the smash hit blazing through their speakers. The author responsible for the craze, Mthembeni ‘eMTee’ Ndevu signaled his breakthrough in the industry with a bang despite having been working in the shadow for years. The hustler that is know as eMTee strikes a different person to that on stage, conceding that he does not go out much, choosing to focus on his work and horn his craft. We caught up with the rapper to discuss anything and everything under the sun, finally getting some explanations for all the headlines he’s been making. Check it out!
QuenchSA:Who is eMtee and what does he stand for?
eMTee: eMTee is a young artist and producer… just trying to use what he has to inspire others.
QuenchSA:When did the interest in pursuing music as a career begin?
eMTee: It was when I came back from Matatiele, where my parents are originally from, that I was exposed to a lot of pop culture. I would stay up late watching the music channel and at like grade one I took it a step further, entered talent shows, the older I grew I perfected my craft and the rest is history.
QuenchSA:You had the most popular hip hop song in 2015. How did the Roll Up Remix come about?
eMTee: WizKid and AKA like most people liked the song and they reached out to me. WizKid spoke to my road manager and he was in South Africa for two days and we did the song. The same with AKA, he called my manager and sent his verse. A lot of rappers wanted to jump on the remix but I couldn’t say no to those two.
QuenchSA: Roll Up was huge! Are you nervous about your follow up single?
eMTee: I’m starting to be comfortable because I take pride in my work. I’m no longer at a point where I’m nervous unless it’s performing to a live crowd. I also have a good team, which understands that its all about timing. So before I release the next single I’ll sit down with my team.
QuenchSA: People have already started pitting you against Nasty C as the country’s latest hip hop rivalry. What’s your take on this matter?
eMTee: Nasty C and I are very tight, when he is in Jo’burg we make sure we link up. If it had to come to that I think we both matured enough to know that its work. We support each other which is something people don’t know. He featured on my album, and its going to be the third single and we still going to make more music together.
QuenchSA:Twitter hasn’t been kind to you of late. Why do you think your tweets have gotten so much attention?
eMTee: On Twitter there’s a lot of people who are… rude and try to convince other people to think alike, create communities and start hating on eMTee. I express myself. Not everyone is going to be on my side. I also understand that the more Twitter is unkind to me, the more followers I get, the more I trend and the more calls I get from journalists. Anybody who calls me out on Twitter is not a fan, therefore I will always respond in a manner consistent with the approach of that person. I don’t think there’s an artist who is as open as I am.
QuenchSA:Having worked with the most established acts in Africa on your first album and winning the SAHH Song of the Year, what still needs to happen for eMTee to say ‘I’ve made it’?
eMTee: For me it has to be getting a call from an American event organizer wanting to book me for a show, performing alongside international acts. Before I can say I’ve made it, I need financially stability, (to) look after my family, be in a position where I can help the next person and I feel like its going to happen, I just hope its not too much for me to handle.
QuenchSA: Your name has been linked to many beefs in the industry. Why do you think Heavy K called you out like that?
eMTee: He’s a house-head. I don’t think he listens to hip hop that much. He probably didn’t know much about me and probably thought I was going up against someone. Which is totally normal, everyone is entitled to their opinion. We ended up talking and I suggested he listen to my album and he did. I’m sure his views have changed. I think hip hop wouldn’t be hip hop without controversy, something people could talk about.
QuenchSA:What has changed since your break through into the industry?
eMTee: A lot has changed. My peers have changed, people that were my friends don’t like me anyone, they think I’ve changed. People have a lot of ideas about me. From me not having shoes to having 16 pairs and giving some away, I’m stronger and better, I’m more confident. In terms of my music I’ve learnt to take my time, make it a solid product.
QuenchSA:What can we expect from eMTee in 2016?
eMTee: I’m probably going to do twice as much as I was doing last year. I remember when on Twitter one person asked me what was myresolution and I said one of my new year resolutions was making my haters angrier than what they already are which means I’m going to achieve more. The more I achieve the angrier they get.