… Nga-I’s new sub-genre makes township waves
By Jeoffrey Mukubi
UP-AND-COMING Namibian rapper, Ngaihape Mupurua, known as Nga-I, has come out of nowhere to stake his claim as one of the leaders in the local hip-hop game, with his self-created rap style, widely known as Ovi-trap.
Ovi-trap is a fusion of enchanting Otjiherero vernacular lyrics, with what has become known as trap music.
Trap music is a subgenre of hip-hop that originated during the 1990s in the southern parts of the United States. It is typified by its ominous lyrics and sound that incorporate double or triple-time sub-divided hi-hats, heavy kick drums from a Roland TR-808 synthesiser, layered synthesisers and cinematic strings. The term ‘trap’ initially referred to places where drug deals take place.
In recent years it has been incorporated with electronic dance music (EDM), by artists who have remixed and made trap songs with more EDM-like aspects.
In Namibia, Nga-I has gone one better, by mixing this emerging sub-genre with Otjiherero rap lyrics, while in the process carving out a niche for himself on the local scene.
The 22-year-old artist may be working as a bartender at Dros restaurant, but he is also certainly serving up some fresh and innovative musical creations, which has pushed him to the forefront of the local hip-hop game. Speaking to Confidente recently, Nga-I confirmed he had invented a new music genre called Ovi-trap.
He says that he has been rapping ever since he could remember.“My older sister, Snowflake, was rapping with the Contract Killers back in the day, and I would listen and be inspired by her raps,” said Nga-I, who attended Hochland High School. He said that high school played a big role in motivating him to start rapping professionally. “My friends and I would perform at high school events or just even during break time, so it was easier for me to dedicate my time and money to my craft,” he said
Even during his school days, the blossoming rapper would use his money to pay for studio time, as he honed his rapping skills.
According to his SoundCloud page, Nga-I started writing music in 2004, but it was only in 2009 that he started to record his music.
“It was in Grade 9, when I recorded my first-ever rap songs in Jerry’s studio. His studio was not much, but we did not care, we just wanted to rap,” he said of how a friend called Jerry, who was also a fellow rapper, had been a producer on first songs. He said further that he was now dedicating his music to a school friend, who has since passed away.
Nga-I recorded his first demo in 2014, and went on to record four mixtapes in 2015, before dropping an extended play recording in March 2016. His first Ovi-trap song, titled 300, received 1 100 views on YouTube.
However, his latest offering, titled Kurama, has hip-hop lovers all over the country going crazy. Nga-i is currently working on his first ever Ovi-trap album, with multi-award winning producer Willi-G. Will-G is definitely doing the job in terms of bringing out the best in Nga-I, who seems to be improving with every musical offering. Nga-I’s Ovi-trap songs speak about his life, especially about him being a “farm boy” growing up in Windhoek.
He tries to motivate young people, while also focusing on the fun elements of life, including partying and meeting girls. In 300, for example, he speaks of needing just N$300 for new shoes and to entertain girls for his birthday. This is a far cry from the ominous, bleak and gritty lyrical content of American trap music, which focuses on the underground criminal sub-culture, including drug deals and pimping. Typical trap lyrical themes include street life, poverty, violence and harsh experiences in urban inner city surroundings.
However, African artists such as Phyno from Nigeria and Cassper Nyovest from South Africa have been pushing Afro-trap in recent years’, which is more closely aligned with the fun elements, as portrayed by Nga-I. The Namibian rap sensation said he will be dropping his debut album sometime next year.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015