From break dancing to Hip hop to Dancehall. WipeOut aka Bliksemstraal is not your quintessential Bboy, he manages to transition effortlessly from Afrikaaps Hip hop to Dancehall without loosing a beat. He has worked with Hip Hop heavyweights such as Ready D, POC, Brasse Vannie Kaap and Black Noise. He has been featured on over a dozen Dancehall Riddims coming out of Cape Town; he will be opening up for Sizzla Kalonji Live in Cape Town and is set to release his EP The Gaza Wors. Below is a chat we had with him as he explains the difference between his two personalities, Bliksemstraal and WipeOut
Who is Bliksemstraal/ Wipeout?
Bliksemstraal is a local hip hop hero who started off as a B boy in the early 90’s with one vision only, to succeed in what ever he does. As a high school student I started seriously creating rhymes and rapping as a hobby and also to express himself.The word BLIKSEMSTRAAL means Bolt of lightning. We know after lightning strikes its followed by loud thunder, the sound of GOD almighty talking to his people. BLIKSEMSTRAAL is also an inspiration to speak in ones mother tongue.
Bliksemstraal raps in Cape Flats local language”AfriKaaps” or Afrikaans as its known.
WipeOut spits in Jamaican patios/English on the dancehall Reggae tip.
How different is Bliksemstraal from WipeOut.?
Well I’m in the process to add WIPEOUT to BLIKSEMSTRAALS registry with SAMRO so people can work with Wipeout without having to be confused when filling royalty papers and admin sheets. Wipeout just finished an album and soon Bliksemstraal is going into the studio to do some work. Also people book Bliksemstraal who knows his services. Wipeout is more known to the dancehall reggae/rasta community which is different from the hip hop crowd.
At what point in your life did you decide that you would like to pursue a career music?
My journey as a musician started with my wanting to create hip hop music, as a Bboy, I loved hip hop as a culture, cause bboying/break dancing is part of it. Yes I started as a real hip hop dancer. When I noticed how my close friends and family responded to my lyrics I felt inspired to write more. My first ever recording I made spread far and wide and also inspired many. It became clear to me I had to create a platform and at least, try and make my living close to or with hip hop art and what a hustle it has been from break dancing in ads, corporate events and just about any other gig we could get hands on.
How was the transition process, from Hip Hop to Dancehall?
It was dancehall music that drew my attention, being who I am I dug a bit deeper than the average mind and I found the rich history of the Caribbean islands and its wonderful people and their connections to us right here in Africa. Reggae music was one of these great treasure I found.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Bliksemstraal is part of an international award wining HIPHOPERA “AFRIKAAPS” which traveled and toured in The Netherlands and in Capetown. Basically you can’t talk about local hip hop without mentioning Bliksemstraal. I get mad respect from every area every ghetto in and around the Cape Flats for putting in work creatively. I’ve worked with some of the country’s best like DJ READY D, POC, BRASSE VANNIE KAAP, EMILE YX, BLACK NOISE, HEMELBESEM and TRIPPLE CROWN SOUND. I also opened for a few international acts like WORDSWORTH(USA), DEAD PREZ (USA), JOHNZY D (LONDON). So I would say that in itself speaks volumes of my work.
What is the difference in hip hop and dancehall in your view?
The difference between hip hop and dancehall is the rhythms, the beats, the type of flow one would choose to do. I would change even the tone of voice a bit higher in dancehall if need be.
Are your signed to a label?
I’m an independent artist with no label and signed to no management. I do have friends and connects who I can rely on to get things done. People say artists cant be doing everything on their own, well I’m showing that with focus and hard work you can achieve what you will.
There is much more presence of you on social media, what is different from other years?
This year I’m one youth richer and need to set an example. I’ve been going thru some very revealing experiences lately that almost diverted me from my missions in life. This year I’ve decided to take my music career to other levels and be more focused. Social media is a very good vehicle so I’m using it to my advantage.
You have voiced on many riddims now, can you list them for us.
I’ve been featured on riddims such as:
80minutes riddim [rebel liberation records]
Justice train riddim [7ton]
Simple approach riddim [yaga yo studios]
Toxic man riddim [DJ Kosiko]
Get in line boy riddim [DjUncarl]
Ghetto street riddim [Simple C production]
7am riddim [yaga yo studios]
Yaad dance riddim [Uplivement Records]
Jah blessings riddim [uplivement]
Common riddim [rebelstone]
Trinity riddim [Uplivement]
Fans and fame riddim [Simple C Production]
Empty vessel riddim [DJ Kosiko]
Delft boulevard riddim [flyweh]
God of War Riddim [Uplivement Production]
There is more, but I will leave it at that.
How do you choose the riddims that you voice.
I thoroughly listen to the riddim before choosing my flow and topic. I choose a riddim that creates the perfect environment that I need for a specific topic or I riddim surf through a bunch of riddims and choose one that I can feel at that moment in time and the lyrics follows naturally.
Are you as comfortable voicing a reggae one drop riddim as you are voicing hard core dancehall riddims?
Every artist has his or her own style of riddims they prefer but I can do reggae and dubs but on the flip side do a hardcore dancehall tune.
Tell us about what you sing about.
I’m just spreading a message while expressing myself the best way I know how. Music is a form of healing for certain people so I choose not to write destructive lyrics rather those that build and spread a word of consciousness.
Who are you working with on your upcoming project, The Gaza Wors EP?
The EP has 3 tracks featuring Honorable Antonio on the main track Gaza Wors vs Gully Pattie. I worked with DJ Uncarl, DJ Kosiko and JahLink on production.
Most of your productions come out of Uplivement, are you only working with them or are you prepared to go out of your comfort zone and try work with others, even outside Cape Town?
When Wipeout started making music, Uplivement helped and assisted in many ways from production to management, so I will always be thankful for the work put in. I have also been working with REBELSTONE, DJ UNCARL, SIMPLE C, REBEL LIBARATION RECORDS and more.
Which artist would you like to work/collaborate with?
Locally I would love to work with The Rudimentals and internationally Capleton, Vybez Kartel, Busy Signal, Alain, Assassin,Sizzla, Etana.
Which do you prefer; live performances or studio work?
Both studio work and live performance requires skills and much practice so I try and keep a steady balance between the two.