Hometown: Johannesburg, GP, ZA
Label: Urbantainment, Urbantainment
Management: Nhlamulo Baloyi
Sounds Like: AKA IV League, Pro Dankie San, TEARGAS, Lil Wayne, J. Cole
Genre: Hip Hop
KWESTA DaKAR – Da KING of Afrikan Rap: Artist Biography
Senzo Mfundo Vilakazi was born on the 11th August 1988. He hails from the township of Katlehong in the East Rand of Johannesburg, where his dreams to become a rap superstar began. In high school Senzo had a keen interest in poetry that received positive feedback from the teachers and students encouraging him to move forward but it was when he won a talent show at school that led him to the realisation that he had a talent of the spoken word.
In 2003 he and a group of friends formed a rap crew called „Ghetto Fellaz‟ which then changed to „The Juvenylz‟ with the addition of a new member. The crew had high hopes and were waiting to be discovered but that big break eluded the group and Quest as he was then know decided to drop out of High School to pursue his dream, a fulltime career in music which started out with him recording his own demo in his make shift home studio.
It was only in 2005 when he met Max from Africa's Most Southern (AMS) Record Company that progress was made and he started gaining a following in his home township of Katlehong and the East Rand as a whole when he started performing at school pageants, talent shows, street bashes & local festivals. AMS had their own recording facilities where KWESTA and then unknown Zakwe honed their rapping skills on a countless number of songs with local beatmakers that were distributed around his hometown while he was working on his demo.
KWESTA went undefeated on his way to winning the battle competition on Yfm‟s Rap Activity Jam and also took first place on The Freestyle Kings special on ETV‟s Shiz Niz which he held simultaneously before both competitions were disbanded and with them the mainstream battle scene. This introduced him for the first time to a national audience and he became well respected name on the underground scene and that's where he gain his street credibility. His first appearances on the major festival scene came with cameo performances at The Rand Show and The Durban Beach Festival to name a few from those on-stage experiences and numerous songs under his belt, KWESTA decide to follow in the footsteps of his Idols Skwatta Kamp, ProKID, Mr Selwyn & others and break into the mainstream Hip-hop scene when he dropped of his demo at the Buttabing Entertainment offices in Park Hurst at the time... That very day KWESTA’s demo made its way to the Buttabing Entertainment offices playlist and it was received with great enthusiasm. Three days later he received a call from Slikour who told him if he wanted to work he'd have to make his way back to the offices for a formal sit down that very day, he convinced his mother, a school teacher by profession, to take a half day at work so she could give him the taxi fare he needed to get there and this led to the official induction of KWESTA as a member of the Buttabing Entertainment family in April 2007 co-owned by Shugasmakx & Slikour, founding members of South Africa's 1st mainstream Hip-hop act, the legendary platinum selling Skwatta Kamp.
It was Buttabing Entertainment that introduced KWESTA to the music industry. He traveled across the country as part of the entertainment line up and judging panel on the Sprite Hip Hoop Tour which saw him featured on The Ventilation Street Tape and has also took part in the Nokia Defend Your Street campaign where he collaborated with various, multi-talented artists. He also released his first radio single Shap Fede became somewhat of a ghetto anthem after it was released in 2007 which was followed by a Mixtape with renowned Hip-hop DJ C-live. Kwesta spent 2008 through to 2009 recording his first album while being groomed for the big-time and sharing stages with Slik', Smakx, Metro FM DJ Naves & Zulu Mobb's T'do at some of the country's biggest music festivals making a name for himself with his trademark punchline laden a capella cameo performances which received rapturous applause and cheers from crowds around the country.
In early 2010 Kwesta was selected to be a Brand SA ambassador performing as the headline act at their nationwide roadshow tour in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup. He also collaborated with African greats like 2-Face, Jozi & others on MTN's Everywhere You Go anthem which featured, Destiny's Child, Kelly Rowland (USA). This culminated in a performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony which was viewed by 500million people worldwide. His debut album Special Rekwest was releases in September 2010 and spawned the hits Flava which secured a DSTV synch-deal for their summer theme piece and was used in the 2011 Lories TV ad-campaign starring South African TV's first face retired news anchor Riaan Cruywagen, Pump It was also awarded a synch deal by DSTV as well as Redds who used it in their TV & Radio ad-campaigns for 2-years, Stomp was featured in the soundtrack for the US action flick Death Race 3. Which chart-toppers including 7-day Hustle, Babhemi, & Flash It receiving rotation on radio stations nationwide Kwesta saw his star rising becoming the first rapper to have 7 singles on radio charts in the same calender year which explains why his first album went on to earn him two SAMA nominations in categories Best Rap Album & Best Newcomer in 2011. In that year he was nominated for a Channel-O Africa MVA in the best newcomer category, named World's Grittiest Rapper by New York based online magazine SOHH.com and E-TV Showbiz Report's Rising Star of The Year. The release of his biggest smash hit Boom Shaka Laka featured Kid-X of Cashtime Fam & was arguably the biggest local release of 2012, also market his departure from Buttabing Entertainment in November that year to establish his own independent label, Urbantainment.
He's currently promoting his sophomore album DaKAR - Da King of Afrikan Rap which was released digitally on the 25th of November 2013 and debut at No. 3 on iTunes South Africa Hip-hop/Rap chart, behind Eminem's Marshall Matthers LPII & Drake's Not
“DaKAR will have the same long-lasting effect on South African hip hop that Amu’s debut album, The Life, The Rap and The Drama, had exactly 10 years ago.”
Therese Owen - Tonight
“Before speaking to Kwesta about his forthcoming mixtape, Rally 4 DaKAR, I came across a signature picture by the revered youth culture photographer, Liam Lynch.
It’s a portrait backgrounded by crisp whiteness enclosed by a thin black border with more white polaroid-esque space outside of that.
Liam shot Kwesta at the launch of the Not in our Lifetime music gig that was held as a response to the spate of attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa in 2008.
Today, Kwesta says he is DaKAR. Da what now?”
Helen Herimbi - The Star - Tonight
“Soweto Gospel Choir Win Sports Emmy; South African Kwesta Wins Grittiiest Rapper Title...
Shortly after the news broke, Kwesta was quoted as saying, "Being named SOHH's grittiest Rapper is amazing; to think that somewhere in New York industry experts listened to music made by a young boy from Katlehong and they thought it was the best rap music they've heard, I'm still not over that."
Kwesta's international recognition comes when the rapper is eyeing several awards at the upcoming 17th Annual MTN South African Music Awards which take place in Johannesburg on May 20th and 21st.
His debut album, "Special Rekwest," is up against those of established hip-hop acts Amu, Silkour, Tuks Senganga and Tumi & The Volume. The rapper is also in the running for Best Newcomer at the event which is the annual awards project of the Recording Industry of South Africa.”
Diane Coetzee - Billboard.biz
“1: Kwesta, "Never Been To The Clinic, Forever Stay Sick With It".
The SOHH True Grit Artist #1: "KWESTA", JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
It's been a trail blazing journey, but finally, we've reached the truest of the grittiest by the way of 22-year-old Kwesta. Although his secondary alias is "Mr.Cool", Kwesta's presentation is South of the Equator hot! Kwesta truly defines "True Grit".”
Editor - SOHH.com
“Kwesta is arguably one of the best rappers to come out of South Africa in the last few years. The dude, and his team are hard workers, and this work is surely paying off.
The 'Stomp' rapper has just been nominated for the South African Music Awards, not only once, but twice!! His debut album, Special Rekwest has made it in the categories 'Best Rap Album' and 'Best Newcomer'. Now that is a huge increase in performance prices from this boy!! LOL!!
We caught up with Kwesta recently, to congratulate him on the two nominations and to get to know him a little better. But before we even started the interview, dude already had ish to say. SMH... Kwesta says:
"That's the 2 time SAMA nominee. Kwesta Mr COOL to you, but I guess you can call me Sir". Okay sir... LOL!!”
Tshiamo Lentwswe - Wonted.co.za
“If you don’t already know who Kwesta is then you are about to be schooled in this 4 part series of Mr. Cool himself Kwesta. Brought to you the by esteemed indie record label Buttabing Entertainment who gave you the revered hip hop veterans Slikour and Shugasmakx. Buttabing Entertainment’s hottest protégé Kwesta is on the verge of releasing his debut album and already the hype about this young rapper is substantial. Kwesta a.k.a Mr. Cool is a new artist who has had the streets abuzz with his mixtape hosted by one of South Africa's top hip-hop DJs, YFM’s C-Live. The Mixtape features the popular single Shap Fede that got massive spins on radio stations nationwide.
His debut album titled Special Rekwest is one of the most anticipated releases of 2010 and is sure to set him on the path to stardom.”
Press Release - Music Industry Online
“If you don’t already know who Kwesta is then you are about to be schooled about this young and up-and-coming rapper in a 4-part mini series brought to you the by record label Buttabing Entertainment and The Times, The video documents his journey to date, including his meeting with US superstar Kelly Rowland.”
Gabisile Ndebele - timeslive.co.za
“The rumours have been going around for weeks now, “Eh Kwesta is signed to that, eh Kwesta is now rolling with that”, but we can now confirm that Electromode Music have officially signed the SA’s phenomenon known as Kwesta.
The 22 year old rapper just recently put the ‘X’ on the paper for Electromode Music to distribute his material. The Distribution Company already distributes for the great likes of JR and Teargas.
Kwesta was first introduced to the industry about 3 years ago with his street banger titled ‘Shap Fede’. On July 28th, he will be dropping his debut album titled ‘Special Rekwest’. Look out for it. For now though, we got hold of the leaked album cover...”
“Okay, Kwesta, WHO IS HE and what is all the Hype…..
Well this 21 year old rapper is not new to the South African Music Industry by a long shot. We first heard of Kwesta three years ago with the street banger single ‘Shap Fede’, which earned him massive respect in the streets. He then dropped his online mixtape, but this time kept low down.
2010 and he is back at it again, this time harder and stronger to prove to the haters that he is still a strong force to be reckoned with. The kasi-styled rapper is signed to Slikour and Shugasmakx’ Buttabing Entertainment and is described by many as ‘A Breathe of Fresh Air’.
He, Slikour and various other African artists recently recorded a World Cup track with American R&B singer and entertainer Kelly Rowland called ‘Everywhere You Go’ showing that Kwesta is proudly South African and is making a solid contribution to the World Cup through his musical talents.”
“Kwesta must be one of South Africa's hardest working newcomer artists. His album will be dropping next week and now he has blessed us with his first music video. Keep it locked to the site to stand a chance of getting a copy of his debut album titled Special Rekwest. But for now just chill and enjoy his new video:”