Female rappers have come a long way in South Africa. Not only are they proving that they have what it takes to compete with the many male rappers – but they’re creating an empowering culture while doing so. Gigi Lamayne is one of the rappers who have certainly caught my attention recently so, this week, I chat to the rapper about her just-released debut album, being a female rapper in Mzansi and where her love for music began.

Congrats on the new album! Tell us a bit more about i-Genesis.

This is definitely going to be a timeless one. I am aiming to establish myself as a young musician rather than just a rapper. I wanted to be able to experiment with so many different sounds. The remaining theme was the fact that I was rapping.

We’ve been waiting a long time for this record. Why the wait?

I decided that I wanted to concentrate on my studies at Wits and after I was done, having acquired a degree, I could look to my first love which was Hip Hop. I also wanted to give my supporters the best of me and in doing so, I could really feel the need to get many to give into my dream of The African child who is as cables as any other, of being placed on an international scale, making her country proud.

Where did the name i-Genesis come from?

Genesis happens to be my first name. It also means “The Beginning” and this marked the beginning of a different story in my career – a story that solidified my place in a male dominated industry where the odds are constantly stacked against me. i-Genesis tells my story in every emotion, every struggle and every victory in my life. I am glad to be able to share so many experiences in the beginning of such a promising future.

The album is jam-packed with 18 tracks. What was the recording process like – especially since there are a lot of collaborations?

The recording process was really easy, especially because I had collaborated with musicians whom I had admired for so long. I recorded the album over a space of about two years and I have never been so excited about collaborations until it was time for me to create them on my own projects.

What has been the biggest challenge being a female emcee in South Africa?

Being taken seriously and having people take me as seriously as my male counterparts. I think the biggest issue is trying to get people to believe I have what it takes to be great. I am done with that though. People who will believe in me will believe in me. Those who don’t can miss me.

Where did your passion for music stem from?

I used to do poetry. I started at the age of 11. I have always been gifted with words but not vocally. I really wanted to change the world through changing the mindsets of young people across the country. The best medium for me was music and so the journey began. I was from a home where everybody listened their favourite genre of music. My writing skills and variation are based on that.

What advice can you give young girls who are hoping to make music a career?

Don’t give up. People will try to test you. They will tell you that you can’t do or be anything. Fight for your right to slay.

Why do you think South Africans have identified with your music so much?

I would like to believe that I have been afforded the opportunity to be the perfect South African and thus, being able to identify with so many people at school, at home and around my community. South Africans have found their voices that are at their sincerest in my music. I hope that more people will be able to discover themselves.

What does 2017 have in store for you?

2017 will be the year Gigi LaMayne solidifies herself as not just a musician but an icon in the making in the international sphere.

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