We have been thrown into a situation many seem not to know how to handle, at least at first. With the pandemic came measures to try and curb the spread. Measures many of us have never had to live with before. Enter national lockdown.
The initial announcement of the national lockdown in South Africa came with less than a week’s notice of a 21-day hiatus we would all have to take. This was acceptable, given the circumstances. People planned around the given length of 21 days, causing many to see it as a mini indoor vacation and not prepare for anything beyond that.
Artists were hit in the pocket but they were willing to wait it out. This hit especially hard for artists without home studios. Artists couldn’t perform music but they could still record and put it out. But for those first weeks, we didn’t see much new music coming out on the Hip Hop front. Granted, Stogie T held it down with his #FreestyleFridays and caused quite a stir each week. There was still a feeling that artists are brewing something to come back with after the 21 days were over. Then came the blow of the extension of lockdown.
Suddenly a new sense of seriousness kicked in. A new perspective of what the future held. Heightened uncertainty. This threw us all in a slump. As jobs were being lost and supplies for our vices began to run dry, sadly we were low on new music too. Of course we could visit old music because music doesn’t expire. But we could all feel the heavy atmosphere we were under. While government offered financial relief for artists, actors and sportsmen, the pool they had to draw from was hardly enough to cater for everyone that qualifies. We were all still in a slump.
Then something started happening. At the beginning of May we started seeing an EP here, a single there. And some movement in general. SA Hip Hop was saying, Fuck It, No More Waiting. After all, it is the most suited genre to carry on creating under these circumstances. This revival was shared across many spheres. We were coming out of the lockdown slump.
No more wallowing in self-pity. We are coming to terms with new ways to operate under the medium term “normal”. Just as with music, things are changing for the better. On the music front we are surely bound to be in from a hell of a ride with the inspiration rappers have been gathering. Many will come back reinvented. Definitely something to look forward to.
Figuring things out comes with a sense of growth/evolution and empowerment to take the next step.