Monday, March 8, 2021

Down memory lane with Scar

Taking this Motswako rapper down memory lane gave a sneak peek into his future ambitions and revealed a lot about him.

Following weeks of playing hide-and-seek, the rapper finally agreed to rendezvous at music producer Joe Tanyala’s residence where he spat some of his songs into life.

He is a remarkable figure in the local Hip Hop industry; a figurehead.

He released the first successful Hip Hop album in Botswana and is one of only a handful of local artists who owe their success to the art.

With just shorts, a t-shirt and a pair of slippers, it is clear why he wanted to be interviewed at his own convenience.

“We can chill outside if you don’t mind,” he says as he hands me another camp chair.
Although born Thato ‘Scar’ Matlhabaphiri in Molepolole 29 years ago he spent the better part of his childhood in Gaborone.

“I did my primary school at Ben Thema, proceeded to Moselewapula Junior and completed my secondary schooling at Ledumang Senior before heading to UB (University of Botswana),” he says.

His introduction to Hip Hop came while at Moselewapula Secondary School in the late 1990’s thanks to another local rapper, Kast, who was his senior.

“Kast subsequently introduced me to P-Side, a 20-something member group based in Partial (Gaborone).”

It was there that he formed a group called VOT with two of his friends.

“After a couple of performances at various talent events including Yarona FM’s Sprite Rap Activity Jam we were spotted by Tumelo Mokgosi (a TV producer) who offered to sponsor us financially,” he said. “He asked the three of us to meet at his residence but he was not there when we arrived.”

Scar says Mokgosi later called and asked to meet again to which his two VOT crew members refused.
“I went alone and Mokgosi decided to sponsor me for a solo project,” he says. “He paid for all production costs.”

A few months later, in 2002, Scar’s debut album, ‘Illegal Act’, hit the streets and became an instant success. It was especially the song ‘My People’ (featuring Pongorista) that turned the young rapper into a household name.

Following the release of the album, bookings came flooding in, one of which was Youth Health Organisation (YOHO)’s Dzalobana tour where he performed with other local acts, Unique Attractions and Vee.

“After the tour I then performed at the annual Togetherness Festival in front of a bigger audience and everything just fell into place after that concert.”

In 2007 he got an opportunity to perform alongside Mr Doe at the Channel O Awards and the following year he released his second and most successful album ‘Happy Hour’, produced by Presley Metshe and Gofaone Mapitse under Breakthrough and Ramco Loco Records.

“The album opened even more doors for me. It did way more for me than anything had ever done before,” he says.

The first single ‘Metlholo’ got 3 Channel O Award nominations for best Newcomer, SADC, and Hip Hop.
“The success of Happy Hour led the corporate world to take notice and I even got an opportunity to be a judge on Idols Africa where I got to travel first class across the continent,” he said.

He also got to perform live on Big Brother Africa. Not to be left behind, Orange Botswana also wanted to cash in on the young MC’s success with an endorsement deal that included performing at their shows as well as adorning their Alcatel phone pack.

Yarona FM also came knocking on his door and offered him a 6pm-10pm slot co-presenting with Sesame Mosweu.

The breakfast show ‘The Real Enchilada’ from 6am- 10am with Tumie Ramsden followed. “It was a great learning experience as far as my radio career was concerned. She (Ramsden) knew everything man, and taught me so much.”

But Ramsden left radio to pursue other things.

Scar continued the show with Mosweu before his contract expired and had to leave the station.
He was then called after Mosweu left, to do the breakfast show,

‘Mojo in the Morning’ with Phenyo Moroka, which he recently left as well.

He said that it is possible that he will go back to work and he will keep his options open.
Like most artists and promoters across the country, Scar lambasted the government’s liquor regulations for stifling the entertainment industry.

“The quality of our music will never improve unless artists are afforded enough time to perform.”
The question on groupies pops up. Do young girls throw themselves at local artists?
He breaks into fits of laughter.

“It happens a lot. Wherever we perform there are always young girls looking to get laid. I once had a girl banging on my hotel door screaming ‘why won’t you f*** me’ while I was trying to sleep.”
He warned that artists have to be careful with these girls lest they get them into trouble.

“Nothing comes easy. If it comes easy there has to be trouble. That may be somebody’s girlfriend, sister or daughter. She may even be underage.”

Scar says he is currently working on a new album which he hopes to release sometime this year.

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