BlakSuga (real name Sakhekile Buyana) has been in the game and putting on for the EC for a while now. The East London born rapper recently put out a new single, Testify, which is a follow up to Ballerina, MMLS and 911, singles he put out earlier this year. You may know BlakSuga from iFani’s Chocolate and Vanilla, which was a big hit nationally. In 2014 BlakSuga changed his stage name to Sakhekile and put out Can’t Believe (#Tjooweeh). He then went on to put out One More Drink, Uzobuya, Don’t Matter with Reason and was featured on DJ ZanD’s Bad In December which ended up on Reason’s AudioHD album. He changed his stage name back to BlakSuga at the beginning of this year and seems hungrier than ever before. “I feel like a born again… I feel like a nigga can go back to dropping bars again” he tweeted on 14 March.
I caught up with him to talk Testify and his music journey.
Q: You have had quite the journey, from the name change to going back to your original name, the fall out to the make ups. From Blackberry Music, the Siz ‘n Scoop:Full Clip freestyle, making wearing pyjamas during the day fashionable all the way to now. How’s the journey been and what can you say you’ve learnt from it?
BlakSuga: The journey has been crazy and full of life lessons to tell you the truth. Had fun times from traveling the country, doing shows even going as far as buying myself a car and living nice until bad times came and I lost some things. I even lost friends but I’m glad I’m still close with the people I started with. If I had to change anything. ”I would teach” myself to be more forgiving not even to other people but towards myself because some stress and depression I went through was from me not learning to forgive myself.
Q: You been in Jozi for a while now, what challenges do artists in Gauteng face that artists in EC don’t necessary face. And what you think about EC hip hop and rappers from the EC and their contribution to the game and culture?
BlakSuga: There are a lot more challenges in Jozi just as there are more opportunities. You really need to know what you’re doing. The challenges were gigs, and getting my name out there due to lack of resources of course. Here in Johannesburg things are different. You can be a nobody here and be famous tomorrow but the most important thing everybody faces is creating good quality music to be put on radio. EC has contributed a lot musically and I honestly feel like we can contribute much more and I pray that the Arts And Culture Department in the EC will appreciate and help more musicians and creatives by giving them a platform in their own city instead of having artists think they need to move to Jozi to make it.
Q: You have put out some really dope singles and videos that I personally thought were going to make you blow up in the mainstream. What do you think goes into dropping a single and pushing it besides having the dope product itself (“according to the industry standards”)?
BlakSuga: A lot of people seem to be down or disappointed on my behalf that I’m not really a superstar as yet and although I understand and feel the pain sometimes lol, it’s made me a better artist. If you want a dope product you need to have a story to tell and accompany that with a good producer who understands you. Another thing I always tell people is that make music everyone or at least make music for a bigger fan base then just making rap songs for you and your niggas to dance too, make your music universal to the ear but always keep it real with yourself.
Q: Testify is doing well, people are receiving it well. It’s been getting major airplays and it has been playlisted on major stations like 5fm, congrats on that. It’s a different sound from what people would usually expect from you. What would you say the song is about (for someone who hasn’t heard it-who is clearly playing themselves), what made you pen the song and deliver it the way that you did?
BlakSuga: Thank you…this is by far the most playlisted track so far and it’s actually mind blowing because I’m a rapper but to make something soft that has RnB elements and still get so much love is something I did not expect. With my new single Testify I wanted to be honest and give people something more soulful and musical. I also did not want to come off like I usually do on songs by just throwing hard-core bars everywhere I wrote the song like I was writing a letter to someone about how I was feeling.
Q5- I like the song, it’s a very personal song and you open up about some issues that your peers shy away from, especially for singles. How was the mood in the studio when you recorded it? What are some of the demons you have (had) in your life that you mention in the song?
BlakSuga: The song takes you on a journey from talking about ‘not blowing up in time’, ‘being broke’, ‘losing the girl I loved’, ‘the good life’, ‘smoking weed’, ‘reading motivational books’ ‘changing my life’ those are the demons and HOPE that I had to manifest and go through but the song is really just a story anyone who is going through a hard time would tell the only difference is I put my feelings on a song. I wrote the song out of pain because I could feel spiritually I was running out of gas. I didn’t know if I should give up or try again. It was actually therapeutic for me to get all the love I got it from fans and radio and it’s really brought back that fire in me so I’m really excited. The mood in the studio was on another level because that night all my friends were there talking about life and dreams and the vibe was right. Everybody was high…high on life of course 😉
Q: What’s the plan with Testify and what do you hope to achieve with the song. What’s next for Blak Suga?
BlakSuga: Big tings…big tings only!! The plan with Testify is to push it more on radio and start performing it. The song also needs a massive music video and what I really want to achieve with the song is traction. I want it to be a set up for a bigger single. It’s a song that captures you to listen and right now I want more ears to listen to me because I have nothing but good music saved up and ready to go. The plan with BlakSuga is to finally take that leap of faith and show not only South Africa but the world what I can musically do and I feel it coming. I’m close now. I’m there. Its all up to me to push on and make it happen because me fulfilling my dream gives hope to other dreamers out there that its possible and I believe now is the time.
Stop sleeping on the dude and stream/download Testify here