Yanga Chief on owning his heritage and being confident with who he is

Yanga Chief on how embracing his heritage helped him find his place in hip hop.
Yanga Chief on how embracing his heritage helped him find his place in hip hop.
Image: Twitter/ Yanga Chief

Yanga Chief has come a long way in his career and he's shared that having a sense of identity and being confident with it has helped him refine his craft and maintain his longevity.

Speaking to TshisaLIVE, the rapper said that he had grown to learn to be unapologetic and accepting of who he is to cement his name within the hip hop space.

“Music is a reflection of who you are ... When you are still confused about who you are it becomes hard to be expressive about your culture and your upbringing fully and people don’t know who you are ... and the older you grow the less apologetic you become ...  

“I’ve never felt that there’s a song that can be good forever if it doesn’t reflect the artist's environment and that’s what I like about hip hop,” he said.

This has not always been the case for him though, Yanga admits, 

“I think it took me quite a while  to just realise how far I had just drifted from myself in general after being in Joburg and meeting so many people ... by the time I got into music there were just traces of myself and the more people started to know me, I kind of got into a space where I didn’t know whether I was coming or going, I didn’t know how much my upbringing and environment mattered.”

The rapper said going back home and absorbing and learning about his heritage and interrogating his beliefs helped him to find himself.

“I really started being myself again unapologetically and in finding who I was I actually found out more about my own culture, my family's beliefs and my family tree and who I am which is something that has completely turned my own career around.”

In embracing himself, his culture and his journey he has found confidence to infuse it better in his music, and his latest single Ntoni Na Yanga shows a different side of him.

“I found it to be an opportunity to kind of showcase my relationship with God and it’s that open.”

While some may argue that Yanga Chief might be overlooked and underrated at times, the rapper says he's grateful to at least be an inspiration for people from the Eastern Cape that have followed his path.

“I appreciate my position the fact that I’ve opened so many paths and avenues for people who are from where I’m from. I’ve got my language into hip hop which took forever to stay and I look around seeing the kids around me and I’m glad that what I have done has also inspired them.”