Hard-hitting song about northern areas ‘not an attack’ on much-mentioned Trollip
Protesting is a natural response to our people feeling disenfranchised, rapper Jason “JBux” Fraser said as he sipped an orange juice at Richmond Hill eatery Angelo’s yesterday.
Released on Thursday, the 35-year-old Hillside artist’s rap Protest! has caused quite a stir on social media as a result of its hard-hitting lyrics that directly call on Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip to sort out numerous social ills in the northern areas.
The rap was an offshoot from another, which would have been called Dear Athol – but when Fraser realised the severity of last week’s northern areas protests he changed his mind and wrote Protest!
The idea behind Dear Athol was to find out how much progress had been made in addressing issues in the northern areas.
But while travelling home from Cape Town, Fraser heard about the protests and Dear Athol morphed into Protest!
He said the use of the protest as subject matter was to address lingering issues still prevalent in the area.
“It’s not me advocating lawlessness. I feel protesting is just a natural response to our people feeling disenfranchised,” he said.
And, he said, he really wanted the rap to raise an important question: where are our leaders?
Fraser said the rap, which mentions the mayor by name at least four times, was not a scathing attack on Trollip.
“Whatever the reasons for the protest, it shows how easy it is to manipulate people,” he said.
“Will red tape and bureaucracy stifle us from finding solutions to our social ills?”
Active in the music industry for more than 15 years, Fraser does not align himself to any political party.
“My political views are informed by my involvement in the hip hop culture and its consciousness element,” he said.
“I’m about the people – and I think we all should be about the people.
“We can’t be passive with him [Trollip], based on what happened [with the] previous leadership.
“If we continue giving him time, he won’t feel any sort of pressure and we will continue losing lives in the northern areas.”
He said the premise of the rap was to say “we are going to keep pressure on you [Trollip], we are going to keep talking to you, we are going to keep pushing for more and you must not become complacent”.
“It was done because conscious music has always been a way of starting discourse.”
Fraser said he had mixed emotions when it came to embracing the northern areas, as “my people were forcibly relocated from urban utopias like South End before I was born”.
Asked what he thought could be done to improve the situation, he said he believed more activities were needed for youngsters.
Initiatives like soccer tournaments and information sessions to introduce the youth to development programmes in the area should be undertaken.
“We have a large workforce in various fields in the northern areas. Are we going to keep these people working for these established companies for the rest of their lives?”
He said more investment should be made into local businesses.
While the rap places emphasis on the northern areas, Fraser said it was for all communities.
Youngsters in the northern areas “are awakening to the fact that they can be anything they want”.
Fraser hopes the rap will bring the powers that be closer together, with one common goal – taking care of all disadvantaged areas.
Yesterday, Trollip said he had heard the rap for the first time after it was sent to him by The Herald.
He said Fraser was skilled and this was the first time he had received a complaint in the form of a rap.
Asked if he would be willing to meet the artist, Trollip said: “I have no objection – this is why we have been arranging outreach meetings.”
- Protest! is available for download at www.theblacksmithed.com