To say that social media has changed the way we interface with music is to state the obvious. As the implications unravel in waves and some wonder what it all means, a handful of African artists see the opportunity for infiltration which awaits and are jumping on it.
In 2010 Ill-Literate-Skillz (or simply Ill Skillz), Cape Town’s premier rap duo, embarked on a first-of-its kind venture called the Skillz That Pay Da Billz: 24-hour project. The premise was the guys would get into a studio and record a 9-track album in collaboration with a few artists on their radar such as Zaki Ibrahim, Proverb, John Robinson and Stan 1. They would then mix and master the record, shoot an accompanying video and turn around a freely downloadable release at the end of that one-day stint.
As if that was not ambitious enough, the project proposed simultaneous online interaction. As they worked, the participants would update their facebook and twitter pages with pictures and progress status messages.
The result? Resounding success and a level of buzz Ill Skillz hadn’t experienced in their 5-year existence as a group. (see them listed here in UK cultural bible The Guardian’s article on South African Hip-hop)
Fuelled by their achievement the guys have decided to up the ante and take the project across borders courtesy of Red Bull and the British Council. Throwing themselves in the deep end, they are now in London for the first time, stationed at the Red Bull studios where they will repeat the feat with these South African artists: Zaki Ibrahim, Nonku Phiri, Planet Earth, Sibot and pH Raw X, all Cape Town-based. In addition there are some surprise UK-based artists lined up.
It all kicks off at midnight tonight (Friday 25 March 2011 GMT) and will be webcast live on Ustream via Ill Skillz channel.
Follow Ill Skillz on their Facebook page