Johannesburg - Award-winning rapper Mthembeni Ndevu, 24, better known by his stage name Emtee, is all about family values and respecting his fans.
His striking facial tattoo – a cross beneath his left eye – shows that Emtee is no baddie. The nice guy of South Africa’s burgeoning hip-hop scene is best known for his debut hit single Roll Up, released in 2015, which made him a household name among the country’s youth.
After learning that City Press wanted to chat with him, the rapper popped into our office this week. Our main topic of conversation was family, especially mothers.
“To me family is important, which is why I always take my son to my shoots or sets ... Family is everything to me,” said Emtee.
Many of his tracks contain this line: “Shout out to my mum!”
Asked why, he said: “I love my mother a lot. She always taught me love, values and to respect everyone around me.
“My mother is my hero. She has always been there for me and she encouraged me to follow my dreams in music,” said Emtee, adding that his upbringing had shaped the kind of parent he was striving to be.
“Fatherhood has taught me to be responsible and to prioritise my son and my family. My girlfriend and I are teaching our son family values.
“My parents raised me well, even though we had nothing at home. Shout out to my parents! Shout out to all the mothers out there who give their best for their families and take good care of their kids. I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all of them.”
Regarding hip-hop, Emtee said commitment and making his career a priority was key to succeeding in the industry.
“Some people just throw their careers away by being careless and disrespecting their craft.”
His focus is on collaborations – with the likes of AKA, Nigeria’s Wizkid, Cassper Nyovest, US music star Trey Songz and now the legendary jazz artist and music producer Don Laka.
“My new single, Ghetto Hero, was on my mind for years, but we did not know how to do it till we met with Don Laka this year to give it his touch. It is being well received by the masses.
“He gave me words of wisdom and made me believe that it is possible to last long in the industry. I feel honoured to have worked with him.”
Listen to Ghetto Hero here:
And working with other big names like Stogie T and Wizkid? “It is a blessing, because they have always been patient with me, which brings positive vibes to the studio. I view collaborations as a form of unity with artists and as a form of growth.”
His big news is that he is set to host a new TV show. “The show is called Rap For Me. It will give upcoming young rappers a chance to show off their skills and win prizes. It will be on Gauteng TV, which is on DStv, channel 265.”
The date it airs has yet to be announced.
“The show is also for those who say I can’t rap to come rap for me, and I will judge them like they always do me.
The Ghetto Hero single will be linked to a campaign in which Emtee asks his followers to share their stories of people who inspire them. “My second album will be out in spring. It is going to be the best album ever. If you thought the debut album Avery was the best, this one is it.”
Watch Emtee's interview with City Press here: