Sibot's Journey Pt. 2: Stay Restless

Mohato Lekena / September 13, 2017

In 1989, after years of academic study into what makes great athletes great, ethnographer Daniel Chambliss released the The Mundanity of Excellence. The title wasn't just about being provocative, but rather about a realisation that being the best meant taking means that are accessible to us all and combining and stretching them to new levels. In Sibot’s case, these means were a deep love for, and understanding of, rap – mixed with a newfound freedom from his adoption of samplers and an MPC style approach to music production. The results of this new combination would come to define the rest of his career and the spaces he operated in.

Moving beyond rap
“There was kind of a death of the hip-hop scene in Cape Town, and I kinda turned my back on it because of its rejection of experimentation. Experimentation is what got me into hip-hop in the first place. It was something new that wasn't a band and that driving force that moved me into trying to find new sounds, which hip-hop rejected.” This new phase in his thinking coincided with a new collaborative project - The Real Estate Agents - formed with former Max Normal collaborator Markus Wormstorm.

Real Estate Agents
“Marcus’ music was very out there and very nonsensical, and I found it very exciting because back then, the hip-hop scene was very stagnant, with people following the footsteps of what was happening in America already.” As the 00s rolled on, though, there was a shift in the music coming out from Cape Town that threatened to reinvigorate it. 

“There was definitely a shift around 2006 and 2007 where this revival of the rave scene happened. And there was a bit of cross-pollination between that and the rap scene. And then you got the birth of Marcus Wormstorm and Spoek as Sweat X - that was like the rap rave stuff”.

Playdoe and In With The Old
Spoek Mathambo would also go on to form a collaborative project with Sibot off of the back of his debut album In With The Old. 

“That time was quite confusing for me, because I had just released a very vinyl-heavy, very organic album called In With The Old in 2007. The name of [the album] was trying to tribute the richness and warmth of vinyl [sampling], instead of the scene that was happening at the time. At the same time I was offered a tour overseas and I didn't have a performance, so I asked Spoek to come with me and that sparked Playdoe. Playing in clubs overseas we needed a far more energetic set, so we started writing club music and you can kinda see the natural meandering that happened through that time.”

In With The Old sat on the precipice between Sibot’s love for vinyl samples, using the sounds foundational to early rap to create something beyond it. On the other hand, the Playdoe records embraced the synthesised world of electronica to underpin Spoek’s rapping, going back full circle towards a more Real Estate Agents-inspired sound. All of this happened at a time where the international beats scene was placing more of a focus on electronic and experimental rap music in the late 2000s.

“When we were pushing Real Estate Agents, I think [we would have been] part of the beats scene, but there was no beat scene. Unfortunately I think that stuff came a little too late for us, because we would have been slap bang in the middle of it. I hope I don’t sound arrogant, but the Real Estate Agents sound was ahead of its time. All I wanted was for kids to come up behind us and kinda take over from us and destroy us and make an exciting scene but that never happened until years later.”

Years later though, Sibot is still around and more relevant than ever. This is due in no small part to the years spent before that, with every direction change and external influence sharpening his mind and skills, forming the solo artist we see today. Restlessness, forward motion and a craftsman's eye for fidelity have been constants, and in part 3 of this series we’ll conclude on how these qualities all pushed Sibot to new levels of creative control.

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