Let Zeus the musical rap star be known as Zeus the filmmaker, Zeus the event manager, and as Zeus, the entrepreneur.
The award-winning musician has broken his hiatus after a journey of self-exploration that has rewarded him with additional perks that have bolstered his portfolio as an artist.
In light of Socrates’s pithy quote “know thyself”, Zeus embarked on a path of self-discovery that according to him, equipped him with abilities he believes will last him a lifetime.
Goabaone Bantsi, – musically known as Zeus- who was once purported to have skipped to South Africa (SA) cleared the mist and revealed that he has been significantly based here in Botswana since 2014.
“My relationship with SA started in university because I did my university there, and I stayed there when I graduated, worked there for a little bit in terms of the entertainment industry,” said the Bachelor of Business and Commerce degree holder.
Zeus stayed in SA up to the end of the last promotion cycle for the African Time album which was licensed by Universal Music South Africa. Zeus added that the album was a major success.
In 2014, Zeus said he started spending more time in Botswana again. “One of the things I found important after promoting African Time was coming to Botswana to look to establish other business ventures that could leverage from my lifestyle interests and my mainstream brand as an artist in the space here,” he said. In his pursuit, he came across the original Sunday event Jam for Brunch as a business opportunity.
Zeus’s venture into Jam for Brunch marked the beginning of a path that would see him merge his passion with business. “I love the entertainment business but obviously I wanted to make it a full-on business, so it made sense to have a full-on the ground in business subjects.” This perception led him on a path that has been prevalently stimulated since childhood.
“For my postgrad, I was looking at where else I wanted to branch into. I’d already co-directed and produced some of my own videos so going into TV was a natural extension for me,” the movie fanatic said. His inspiration, begotten by the likes of Ice Cube and Donald Glover, steered him in a similar direction the film icons took. “People like Ice Cube managed to go from one of the biggest rappers to also a blockbuster filmmaker, producer and director,” the founder and director of DIY Entertainment said.
In 2015, Zeus chased after his predilection for motion pictures and enrolled in AFDA’s BA (Hons) in Motion Picture Medium. This would be an acquisition of a new superpower that would gear the award winner for his much-desired future. He has so far, received the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa’s (YALDA) African Star Champion award in 2017.
He also won the Channel O’s Best Hip-Hop Video award for his Gijima song’s visuals in 2009, and years down the line, he scooped the Most Gifted Male Video award at the Channel O Africa Music Award in 2013.
Zeus, who revealed he’s always been interested in social problems as well, got the chance to do the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF)after his Honours in 2016.
From promoting the African Time album, to now, “I feel like I have just been spending time to grow, to grow my capacity, my skills my portfolio and even just my humanity,” he said. “I got married in 2017, got engaged in 2016 after the MWF, said the rapper, seated beside his wife and Jam for Brunch business partner Zandile Keletso Rammekwa, who is one the company’s main founders. In his words, “that period of my life for me was always like graduation in so many ways.”
After a mouthful of his whereabouts, the Marvel T-shirt clad rapper went on to share his experiences while intermittently away from the music universe.
Following the success of African Time, Zeus’s next big move was transferring his brand equity as a musician into a business that will function whether he was on stage or not. “Look at Diddy, Jay Z, Dre.
The reason they are always on the Forbes lists is that they figured out how to take their brand equity and move it to companies that they have a stake in,” he said.
“I wanted it to be a business that is also close to entertainment, that can speak about the things I am passionate about,” he further said. “I love food, I love music, I love good drinks, all those things bring people together and make people happy,” he added.
The second instalment of Jam for Brunch beckoned at Zeus’s desire to augment his portfolio, ultimately resulting in investing and developing the company. As a Co-Founder of Jam for Brunch, Zeus revealed that the company hit its 5th-anniversary last year, and he believes, “we have literally created an entire sub-sector of the industry, in terms of the events industry.”
Further elaborating on his burgeoning journey, the Copyright Society Of Botswana(Cosbots) board member holds that there is a lot of synergies between the different art forms within different spaces in the value chain.
“You can’t have events without music, you can’t have a film without music. It’s really been about exploring that value chain, finding what else I enjoy over and above the music,” he said.
For a moment Zeus sounded like an artsy version of Elon Musk vouching for mankind’s unbridled potential and uncharted limits. “I love being a recording and performing artist. In all honesty, it is not enough to satisfy all that I am,” he meekly said. “As people, we are complicated human beings. We are way more than just one title or one thing that we do.”
Inspired by Clint Eastwood’s myriad titles of actor, filmmaker, musician, and politician, Zeus realized that, “for me, it is also about not necessarily throwing away my artist career or giving that up, but also looking at ways I will also be able to extend it. Both as an artist and as an entrepreneur. It is about growing capacity to do more,” he said.
Quizzed on the reasons for what seemed like a break from music, Zeus said for him, “being an artist is not about releasing albums or people screaming my name at shows.” With crackling confidence, he declared: “I’m an artist. I’m an artist whether I’m by myself in a room, or whether there are a million people who are watching me on screen.” Artistry is something he carried throughout that whole period.
For Zeus, the marathon of trying to look for markets beyond is not an easy one and it takes time. “I’ve had four trips to the US since 2014, but my first performance in the US was last year August 2019, at the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA) Fest,” he mentioned. The festival happened at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia.
After taking the time needed to satiate his innermost ambitions, Zeus feels like what he has done so far will help him grow for the next 50 years and beyond. “Now one of my big things is to get as much music as possible out there,” he said.
Currently, Zeus is working on a film soundtrack that is not yet complete but includes about 2 songs ready for release. For the film, Zeus said, “my working title is Boy to Man and it’s a coming of age film.”
According to Zeus, Boy to Man speaks to gender issues from a male perspective, of a young Motswana man who finds himself in a me-too era. The soundtrack includes music from Socca Moruakgomo, Han-C, Buzae and B.Frnce.
Lyrically christened after the Greek god of lightning, Zeus returns yet to hurl more electrifying thunderbolts with the likes of Gotta Get Mine which was released in December 2019 as a second single from his upcoming album. The Hip-Hop Electronic dance music (EDM) crossover single is a mantra for 2020 and the song encourages one to get what’s theirs. The song was produced by electro veteran DJ Kuchi and already has visuals.
In 2017, Zeus signed to Sony Music Africa and recorded a new album under the label “Pieces of the now” which will be his 4th studio album released in 2020.
“There is a lot that I am very eager to share, so I can safely say that Pull Up featuring B.Frnce and Buzae, My Brother’s Keeper featuring Han C and jazz musician Socca Moruakgomo should be out within the next couple of weeks,” he said.
The impeccable lyricist also has a project with Motswako godfather Nomadic formerly known as Mr T, that he described as a “kind of Watch the Throne vibe.” The album Tswana Renaissance Art from two Hip-Hop heavyweights promises music to celebrate Botswana and make hip-hop heads bop.
From the collab album, Zeus released the first single from the project titled A Re Chencheng, after Ratsie Setlhako’s legendary aphoristic phrase. “The song was dropped late last year, and it speaks to change and for us to change to be a more progressive society,” Zeus said. “I think it’s about time we use art as a vehicle for self-reflection and the opportunity to develop philosophies that can move us forward as a culture,” he added.
Affirming to whether he has officially returned, the Motswako Hip-Hop rapper said, “yeah a whole lot of music is coming your way, some features as well so yeah, I guess you can say Zeus is back.”
For his parting words, he said: “I appreciate the fans and the media that haven’t been impatient with me, that have given me the room to grow and make the moves I had to and wanted to.”