18-year-old Tarquam ‘MaliQ’ Magagula and 19-year-old Stephen ‘Solution’ Khumalo are both rappers from the Kingdom of Swaziland.

They’re founders of Prime90s, a rap collective based in Swazi. They told TRUE Africa about the music industry in Southern Africa and the artists they look up to.

What releases have you made recently?

Wrecords is the first and only Prime90s project that has been released thus far. It’s a manifestation of the struggle to balance making music, going to school, going out and other aspects of a late teen’s life. It captures the jazzy and soulful elements of hip hop and is inspired by our daily lives.

What are your musical influences?

Solution: I prefer to term my musical influences rather as sources of creative inspiration, from the lyricism of Jay Z, Kanye West, J. Cole and Kendrick to the overall artistry of Drake and Ed Sheeran.

MaliQ: As somewhat of a rap aficionado, it would be near impossible for me to ignore the impact of niggas like Joey Bada$$, Kendrick, Ab-Soul and the like; taking from the work of such artists allows me the freedom to use whatever sound I feel necessary to optimally express how I feel.

What’s it like to work in the music industry where you are?

It is a challenge, with the main problem being that it is still developing. With such an overall lack or shortage of infrastructure such as well-equipped studios and producers, the costs of being an artist that produces quality products is definitely foremost.

More subtle, but equally crucial, missing pieces are legal protections for artists, the most obvious being the lack of the ability to protect music as intellectual property or even receive remuneration for radio play. However, these are not insurmountable obstacles and as a collective, one of our aims is to correct as many of these systemic deficiencies as possible.

What’s a night out like where you live?

It can get quite crazy, especially when you roll with the right crew and you hit up the right spots. Being in university has definitely opened the door to making the right connections for having a chilled or wild evening, depending on the overall mood of course.

What song do you listen to: (a) turn up to (b) feel sexy (c) pine over your ex.

MaliQ: (a) Anything A$AP Ferg gets me hyped. (b) Killuminati by Joey Bada$$. (c) Anything that has to do with an ex, i.e. The Great Depression by MaliQ.

Solution: (a) It can only be No Role Models by J. Cole. (b) How ‘bout Now by Drake (c) Trust Issues by Drake as well.

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