In Conversation with VenomRaps

Post the release of his eponymously titled 2022 album, Zolani, VenomRaps is definitely a name to lookout for within the the South African Hip-hop world. His lyricism is nothing short of brilliant given his ability to balance a good flow with lyrical content that does not shy away from touching on current times {that may be seen as being the reality of most}. His music also acts as a window into him; his life and where he is from.

We got to chat with the Newcastle based rapper about his artistry and creative process, the often unspoken difficulties and challenges that come with being an independent industry artist and how the music incorporates into his life.

Get to know VenomRaps a bit better below:

What inspired you to pursue a career in rap?

Well, from a young age, I have always been drawn towards rap music. This is mostly because I was amazed by how other artists can express themselves through the music. I wanted to do that too and have fun while at it.

Who are some of the biggest influences of your work?

Besides my friends, I am highly influenced by those that did it before me and made it work. I am inspired by the likes of A-Reece, AKA and Nasty C to name a few. I draw a lot of my inspiration from these guys and that has made me a better artist.

And how best would you describe your creative process – be it the writing, composing, recording etc.?

My creative process is quite a long one, I’m not one to rush anything so I usually start writing when I already have the beat. Sometimes I’d just record myself mumbling a melody and then sit down to find the right words to fill in place of the mumbles. It’s a process that has worked for me since I started making music.

How do you then approach collaborating with other artists in the industry?

One thing about me is that I am not afraid to shoot my shot, be it via DM or via email. That’s how I usually reach out to artists who I feel like I can work with. I work with a lot of different artists from all over the country and some of them are usually situated far from me, so we work via email, sending stuff back and forth to each other until the final product is done and ready to be released. 

What are some of the challenges and rewards you face as an artist – more specifically as an independent artist?

One of the challenges I am always faced with as an independant artist is having financial constraints. It is really heartbreaking being called in for a radio or podcast interview and you can’t make it there because the studio or station is located in a city that is far from you and you can’t make it there or you don’t have enough saved up for traveling. This is a challenge that I consistently come across and it has led me to even seeking a 9-5 just to get by. Now the problem with that is, sometimes my 9-5 get’s in the way too, so finding a balance between the two is very important in order for me to make the music work.

How do you actually manage to balance your music with other responsibilities and commitments?

This one is hard for me because sometimes I end up doing things at the very last minute due to the many commitments and responsibilities I have outside of music. I have figured that the best way for me to manage everything all together is to allocate my time accordingly, so there’s time for my responsibilities and there’s time for making music.

How has your life and your lived experiences influenced your work as an artist/creative and vice versa?

I write my truth in my music, how I feel, what I am thinking and where I want to be in the future is always illustrated within my music. If I was sad when I made a certain song, you will experience that in the music. For me this allows me to connect with my audience at a deeper level and it shows everyone that even though I am an artist, I am also human just like everyone else.

Would you say you have evolved as an artist and if so, how?

Yes, I have. It’s evident in the music I make too. I am more conscious of the things that I say in my songs and I am aware of the impact my music may have on the listener. I am able to bring my concepts to life easier than I could before and my stage presence has improved a lot too.

How do you get yourself to stay inspired and continue to grow as an artist?

I stay inspired by always reminding myself of where I come from and where I want to go in the future. Everything in between is just part of the process and I am just a student of the game. This in turns allows me to block out any negativity that may try to creep in and keeps me focused on my end goal.

What is the most important thing you have learnt in your journey as an artist thus far?

I have learnt that patience and consistency goes hand in hand. My time will come one day and the only way to ensure that is by staying focused on my goals and being consistent. Everybody has their time, you just need to be ready for when it comes.

Connect with VenomRaps here