It’s Cashtime!by Levi Letsoko / 09.05.2012
While everybody was cheering rapper AKA on his Victory Lap, a new phenomenon was secretly bubbling under the wraps of the Teargas trio’s mentorship – in the form of CashTime Fam. Made up of the Teargas trio along with new kids on the block Kid X, Smashis and AB Crazy. Kid X is the hard rapping street smart part of the crew, he’s the strictly rap no-nonsense dude. The second member Smashis, is the ladies man, the female crowd-puller and check-my-swag rap kid. And AB Crazy, well he’s the all-rounder.
K.O, one third of Teargas, is impressed with the impact that Cashtime has made thus far in such a short space of time. “Apart from the music itself, we have managed to influence the culture in different ways.” He says. “Cashtime lingo can be heard across the streets of Mzansi! For us, we are still building and we believe by the end of 2012 Cashtime will be synonymous with SA hip hop.”
With numerous accolades to prove it, Teargas is undoubtedly one of the best crews to learn from in terms of creative direction in SA hip hop. Especially after a successful two year campaign with their last chart topping album Dark Or Blue.
“I’ve learnt that beyond the music, you also need to get familiar with the business acumen of this game.” Says Kid X. “Timing is everything and every detail can be the difference between success and failure.”
“I’ve learnt to take my craft more seriously and to respect those I work with.” He enthuses. “Talent is important but there is no replacement for hard work.”
“There is no question about it.” Smashis jumps in. “Teargas are the best in the game right now, they’ve figured out a working formula.”
The crew has had three very successful hit singles in terms of airplay and audience response.
The first was the pop-sounding record, “Number 1”, featuring former member Aby Fab and Molly. The song gained momentum rapidly featuring dudes in Airmaxes and ladies in red-bottoms being honest about their feelings for each other.
The second single “Goodbye” followed on where “Number 1″ left off, and managed to showcase the diversity of styles in the Cashtime Fam. The emotionally charged song became something of an anthem across the country, with AB Crazy doing something soulfully crazy with the hook.
And while it’s not necessarily a new sound, Cashtime definitely brought a fresh flavour to R&B inspired hip hop, compared to what has been served recently.
“The industry in SA had become repetitive in terms of the artists that release hip hop music! Only a handful are releasing a consistent flow of work.” says Smashis, before blowing his own horn. “Not only are we the new kids on the block we are the freshest!”
But just as things were looking up for the group, AB Crazy, the third pillar and one of the central artistic presences in the fam, waved goodbye just days before the video shoot of their third single “Shut It Down” citing creative differences and personal goals as the main reasons for the split.
“AB Crazy felt that he can accomplish more as a solo artist.” Says KO. “We felt none of these guys were ready for that, at the time. But we didn’t want to hold him back. And there’s no bad blood!”
And while Teargas is currently in studio cooking up their next album Num8er, Num8er! there are plans for an untitled mixtape from Cashtime, to coincide with that release.
And then Cashtime recently dropped the video for their latest single “Shut it down (Stundee)”, which is on heavy circulation on MTV Base and other platforms.
“The video is a collage of visuals of us in the gritty streets of Alexandra with some famous friends of ours.” Says KO. “As well as snazzy shots of the entire Fam performing at a dingy warehouse in downtown Jhb.”
Three singles later, Cashtime’s debut album Now or Never, seems like a decent effort from both a creative and a commercial view point. But only time will tell if the Fam has the same kind of staying power as their cousins Teargas!