Rap artist Deko Barbara-Jessica Wedi, better known as Rouge is one of the more successful rappers that just so happen to be female in the country making moves. Browse through her catalog and you’ll quickly find that she can hold her own on the mic against any rapper. Tapped on the Baddest Remix alongside the most prominent femcees in Mzansi, Rouge has since measured her skill on tracks featuring Skhanda Queen and Reason of late. We spoke to the 24 year old about her career in music, her impression on the hip hop industry in the country and the impact female rappers are having on the hip hop scene. Cav the response!
QuenchSA: What is the background behind your stage name Rouge?
Rouge: I wanted something that stood for something. The colour Red means love, passion, fury, it is bold and its bright. That’s why I chose it because I felt the one colour had a lot to it, like me.
QuenchSA: You graduated in Drama & Film. Do you plan on acting at a later stage in your career?
Rouge: Of course!!! They were never ready for me.
QuenchSA: You have been embraced by many artists in the hip hop industry. What can you ascribe that to?
Rouge: I don’t know exactly I guess my determination and they recognize the hustle.
QuenchSA: What irks you about being referred to as a female rapper?
Rouge: Everything! It’s old news now…people need to get creative.
QuenchSA: Your hair is an unavoidable feature of the Rouge brand. Was this a premeditated strategy?
Rouge: (Laughs) Actually I had this since high school and it just stuck.
QuenchSA: In your opinion, what needs to be done by female rappers not to limit their collective impact on hip hop to a single year?
Rouge: They need to start doing more singles that don’t rely on dudes to put them on.
QuenchSA: The track between yourself and Nomuzi put the alleged beef between female emcees to rest. How did the track Mbongo Zaka come about?
Rouge: Well I wanted to feature a girl on my track since we all seemed apprehensive to work with each other and why not the Skhanda Queen. We both had a story to tell.
QuenchSA: Do you have a date for when you will release a full body of work?
Rouge: Not a full date but you can most definitely expect work this year.
QuenchSA: Commercial success has never been this attainable in the hip hop genre. Have you directly or indirectly seen the benefits of the 90% local music policy?
Rouge: Yeah! I have and Mbongo Zaka is still charting 5 months later.
QuenchSA: It has been evident that the number of followers on social media don’t translate to physical CDs bought, votes or ticket sales. For you personally how do you measure the best response to your output?
Rouge: I guess at this moment it would be downloads and how many people are actually receptive to my sound during performances.
QuenchSA: What can your fans expect from you in the immediate future?
Rouge: Just more music and great features.