Date:24 April 2014 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Many South African hip hop artists hardly manage to secure a following on the social networks, but Mizo Phyll has done it.
This rapper, whose Facebook fan page boasts 24 354 likes, has proved that the hip hop genre is here to stay as it can articulate raw messages and also comment on social issues. “I use the spoken word, or rhyme for that matter, to express my innermost feelings,” he said.
Born Livhuwani Ratshiungo some 28 years ago in Shayandima, Mizo Phyll discovered his voice when he was an ordinary tourism student at Bloemfontein some years ago. “In Bloem, people loved hip hop and the genre was in style,” he said. “Vhomurepa like Tuks and HHP were belting out rhymes in Setswana on radios, and everybody liked it.”
When Mizo Phyll ascended the stage during impromptu gigs, people responded warmly, even though they couldn’t understand his language. He even managed to record two songs, Hu do luga and Tshikandeledzi; but soon calls reached him from rural Venda and Joburg, after he had MMSsed few friends, who also made the same mistake of spreading the messages via Bluetooth.
“Everyone was speaking about Mizo, who rapped in Tshivenda – and both songs were inspirational,” he said.
His first full-length album was recorded at Masana Records in Johannesburg, where he worked with Sandile, Necodermic and Menzi from Ho2. “I titled it Mapungubwe, after the world heritage site near Musina,” he said.
Some community radio stations and the SABC radio acknowledged the emerging talent by giving his hit-song Vimba massive airplay.
It was the second offering, My African Dream, which introduced him to a larger listenership. A most popular song from the very album is Venda’s Anthem, where he featured his contemporaries P Postman, Bellafonte and T-man Gavini.
“I won a Tshima Award for Best Tshivenda Hip Hop with the song Muthu Wangu. The public voted for me,” he said of his 2012 Tshivenda Music Award kudo.
Today Mizo Phyll gets bookings for more gigs than he can accommodate at a go. He recently shared the stage with musicians such as DJ Cleo, Zahara and Colbert Mukwevho during the Royal Spring Festival at Nandoni Dam.
Asked what he does for a living, he quickly answers that he is a full-time artist. “The whole package which comes to me as a hip hop artist gives me strength to keep my head afloat,” smiled the hip hop artist, who is a vegetarian for health reasons.
Mizo Phyll’s popularity with the people, particularly the youth of Limpopo, earned him the cult status of the foremost Tshivenda rapper.
By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.