Kommanda Obbs (32) has been a motivation and a role model to many aspiring Hip Hop artist in Lesotho. His exceptional work has been seen even on the international televisions. He honoured us with some of his time to share the wisdom
He started doing music as early as 1999 but he started taking rap on a professional level in 2006 starting with songs like “kelorilekejabosekana.” ObatiaChapi (Kommanda Obbs) is well known for his unique style of rap where he uses pure Sesotho that many Hip hop artists in Lesotho are not firm enough to try it.
Therefore he finds it as a challenge because local usually wonder of how Sesotho language could be one of the trending languages. He says a lot of people who are not visionary were wondering how he was going to reach an international level without using English.
He grew up in Leribe, Maputsoe; so the environment motivated him to pursue music. He says he was exposed to variety of music genres like Jazz,Afro beat and Hip Hop. Places like the football ground and the church, was surrounded by music and he feels that we are culturally “People of song “then he felt that he had what it takes to make music more of a commercial thing rather than a cultural norm.
Lithua-majoe, an art revolution movement is his own creation which has a sub-genre of hip hop called T’sepe that is strategically placing them within the whole African situation as Basotho. It is aimed to give artists a sense of belonging and it does not only deal with Hip Hop artists but there also graphic designers and management team.
This professional linguist from B-tech Central University of Technology says that he does not speak perfect Sesotho because language is something that keeps on growing. He saw a loophole that Basotho culture is rich and he looked beyond marketing locally because local people need something new so that is when he took a tourism approach and started marketing his music abroad.
Music industry is usually a risky, ruthless business that needs survivors so Obbs says he has been at it for far too long. He has got music playing on radio generating royalties and also he performs in South African international events, sells music online and owns clothing brand.
Now that he is based in South Africa, he says the best opportunity that he came across is his management team that is goal driven and also understands his sound. “Finding a good agent is key” he says Native rhythms helps to push his ethnic and traditionally inspired music.
Produced by Bosco Afreeca, Mabele-bele is his famous song and is enjoyed by many of his fans. The song focuses on defying the western dream which is the pursuit of riches and fame and the materials that come along with such an accomplishment. In the song he says “Mabelebele a sekhooa lihele” emphasizing on how much people are fooled by glitz and glamour that is here today and gone tomorrow.
Therefore Kommanda Obbbs declines all of that because he is all about an African dream. He says he is here to stand his ground and never be influenced by shallow trends. Finally, his advice to the upcoming artists is to be realistic.