Says BigStar Johnson, “Currently I'm at a place where I'm the most comfortable that I've ever been in the industry. And I'm finally at a place where I feel I can express myself, so I'm hella excited about the future and what it holds for me.” He has paid respect to his past and now is moving forward with an album that at once sounds like classic conscious hip-hop, with all the aforementioned timeless touch-points, before unveiling its fresh 2018 sound.
In a competitive SA hip-hop scene, BigStar Johnson made a name for himself as the first winner of the reality hip-hop competition, The Vuzu Hustle Season One. In truth, the journey started well before that, honing his craft over his formative years, to become the MC that he is today. The groovy lyricist’s infectious feel good energy has gone on to captivate us through the airwaves and music festival’s alike, with tracks such as, ‘My Year’, ‘Flavors’ & ‘Just To Flex’. Now he presents his debut longform.
‘Me & Mines’ kicks off with a prelude to the next stage of his journey - ‘Understand Part II (featuring Kaylo)’ tells the tale of where BigStar Johnson comes from, his experiences in the present with his new-found fame and where he wants to be in the future. Clearly music, God and family are keeping him grounded.
The dancehall beat of ‘Special Assignment’ is the bed on which BigStar delivers the smoothest flow you are likely to hear this year - to the girl who is exactly that, his special assignment. Rouge then steps into the ring for the tag-team style ‘Two Cups’, and together they ease effortlessly into a smooth flow that drips, rather than the usual rumble of a tag-team.
Skip forward to previously released ‘Closer’ with its piano intro and underlying vocal loop belying what is to come – danceable beats underpinning BigStar’s smooth honey-like voice, whether rapping or singing.
‘Calling’ sees BigStar’s huge presence filling the track over tasty minimalist beats which allows Jay Claude (who features) and our hero to explore a vocal delivery not often heard on a hip-hop record.
‘Time Of My Life’, an earlier single is presented here in its full extended version. BigStar clearly wanted to give his fans a little extra - the ‘Mines’ in the title clearly refers to more than family and friends.
Kwesta drop’s by to add his smooth laidback rhymes to ‘Sgubu’, which is centerpiece of the album – a nod to the kwaito of old and its finest exponents, the legendary TKZee. On it BigStar Johnson urges us to return to roots whilst we ‘remember the time…’
‘Paradise’ is a lo-fi banger featuring Zoocci Coke Dope, with it’s an underlying wobbly beat which is perfect for both MC’s to show off their rhyming skills in full flow.
‘Righteous’ announces itself as what can only be described as an acapella, finger-clicking doo-wop call for love, peace and compassion.
The album closes all too soon, with the title track ‘Me & Mines’ – a dedication to the people in his life, past, present and future.
‘Me & Mines’ is about to bless the nation with some variety….can’t wait to see the people react to the type of music I love making.’ Early impressions are that BigStar will be pleased with how the audience engages with his sound.
Coming from a musical background, BigStar Johnson, real name Tumelo Rakumako always knew that a life in music was his destiny.
The first time Tumelo got a taste of the stage was in 2003 where he entered a talent competition in his school with a group of his friends, where they rapped and came out second place. BigStar Johnson spent most of his high school years focused on musical theatre where he harnessed and developed his passion for the arts. In early 2007, Tumelo determined to set himself apart from other rappers, embarked on a journey that saw him learning to play multiple instruments, including drums, keyboard, bass guitar and even a little acoustic guitar.
BigStar Johnson came to life in 2012 when he decided to embark on his solo career as a rapper and got his big break in 2015 when he won the reality hip-hop competition, The Vuzu Hustle Season 1 which landed him a Management deal with the Vth Season and he hasn’t looked back.
He has performed at some major music festivals across the country and has shared the stage with some of the most prominent and successful artists in the South African Music industry; The Soil, Zakes Bantwini and Cassper Nyovest as well as legends Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and the late Bra Hugh Masekela, to name a few.
He was a recent winner of the global music conference MIDEMs prestigious incubator programme in Cannes. His opening night performance was the talk of the conference in many circles.
Whether it is the sonogram of his daughter on the cover to the voicenotes from fans that play out at the end of the track ‘Me & Mines’ – it’s all about the people in the Tumelo’s life.