HAVING been a writer for almost a decade, Yahkeem Ben Israel only started his music career in 2003, when he discovered his passion for music and performing.
The Eastern Cape-born artist, who now resides in Motherwell NU6, made his first album in 2009, with hit songs like Practice, Word Love and Ezomthonyama.
“I started singing, because I felt there was a lack of profound voices. I use my music to tell the hidden truth.
“I call my music ‘truth music’ because it is specifically designed to uplift, motivate, uncover hidden truths and defend our people.
“Music can reach people faster than another medium of communication. Beyond everything else, music is accessible to everyone,” Israel said.
He specifically loves the hip-hop genre, because it gives him the platform to express his views fully.
He is now working on a project dedicated to the late freedom fighter Livingstone Mqotsi, who died in 2009.
“I was touched by his work as a writer and his selfless spirit as a freedom fighter,” Israel said.
He added that it broke his heart that a lot of people did not know Mqotsi’s work, and that all his hard work was never acknowledged in the struggle.
Israel has performed in a number of places such as Splash Jam in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Queenstown, East London, Grahamstown, and Sterkspruit.
“It gives me great pleasure to see that a lot of people are receiving my music quite well and they love it.
“Last year I was nominated in the King Of The Eastern Cape category at the South African Hip Hop Awards.
“I represented the Eastern Cape in the Splash Jam Conference as a panelist. I was listed among 23 top underground emcees in South Africa.”
His music has been played on various radio stations across the Eastern Cape, including Umhlobo Wenene and is to be played on East African Radio in Kenya.
The next issue of Hype magazine will include his single Indaba Kwamkhozi.
“Some of my music is inspired by Ben Ammi. He is my anchor and his teachings encourage me to write and to live more.
“I am pleased by the way people receive my music, but I must say my support is mostly from outside Port Elizabeth,” Israel said.