GDaLyrical has his own record label in Crownville Entertainment, with an in-house producer, Hlohonolofatso Dietsiso.
He has appeared with international acts such as DJ Phanatic and The Legion who have worked with the likes of Reason, 2Chainz and Kendrick Lamar.
We chat to Darko GdaLyrical about his journey within the music industry:
Full name: Itumeleng Thabo Noge
Nickname: Darko GdaLyrical or Darko
Start of Career: 2010
Music influences: Influenced a lot by the whole of Top-Dawg Entertainment (Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy-Q, Jay Rock and Isaiah Rashad)
Motto in life: If we don’t win, we come back and win.
Favourite Food: Burgers, Chicken Wings and Chips
Star sign? Virgo
Relationship status? In a relationship
What was the inspiration behind ‘Purple (Lit)’?
I was just frustrated with not being recognized for my work, and I wanted to just talk about myself in the least common way possible. Apart from the fact that my friends were all drinking “purple” (Sprite and Cough Syrup) when I wrote the song, I wanted people to view me the way I see myself…as one of the best hip-hop artists in Africa.
A line in the songs says ‘Just tryna make a statement. I think I’m Zeus.’ Do you have an altar ego when you rap?
Yes, I do. I believe we are all made in the image of God and I see myself as one. I have always been more of a spirit than flesh, that’s how “Darko” came about.
In ‘More Work, Less Manelo’ you rap about your identity as a South African? Why do you feel like you have to justify your identity all the time?
There has always been a negative stigma when an artist has an international appeal and since the best rappers of all time have always been foreign, I needed people to understand that all I want is to be the best at what I do and also be mentioned in that list.
I saw many black people who were fans of rock music being judged for their taste, and from my view…no idea is original. Even the so called “Pantsula” dress code is from L.A, we just need to expand our thinking. Unto each their own…
What would be the height of success to you as a rap artist?
The height of success to me would be appreciation, knowing that I helped as many people as I possibly could with my artistry and being appreciated for it. Not that I would ever do it for free! (lol). I want to retire from employment and just entertain.
Which local rapper in the industry do you admire?
There are many, but I admire Khuli Chana the most. He is humble, he has been doing this for years and is still at his best.
What do you have to say about millennials being fake?
I wouldn’t say that they are. They learned from us so we taught them that (lol). My take is that most of them have misplaced values, it is all about physical gain or pleasure to them because that is what the people who came before emphasized as success.
You also mention that no idea is original, so how do you stand out in the rap game?
The ideas may not be original, but my view is something that has never been described. There have been many painting of the last supper but Da Vinci’s version is the most well-known. I just want to paint the best picture I can and change a life in the process.
Under ConstruXion has the most peaceful, chilled out beat ever, with haunting elements to it. How long does it take you to mix these beats up to get it to that ultimate level that it’s on?
Lol it takes some time, but honestly I don’t keep track. The project just came together very well, mostly because I had a lot to say…still have a lot to say now. I’m learning everyday…and each day I just do my best.
You rap about not graduating, and the disappointment you have. What advice would you give aspiring leaders with similar dreams?
Knowledge is key, with that key you can open many doors. Don’t let your success depend on anyone…
What is your advice to youth who are out there who are trying to make it?
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, even if you fail…Don’t stop. Also, you can never be too smart or too wealthy…so never stop learning and growing.
Who’s your favourite winner from the SAMA?
Nasty C – All because I like the way him and Mabala Noise are finally aiming at international success, our country needs such people. More Trevor Noah’s, more Charlize Theron’s and more Pearl Thusi’s to show the youth that the sky was never the limit…it’s where you learn to fly.
What is your definition of a leader?
I define a leader as someone who always has the greater good in mind, someone who has no concern with what the majority dictates…but someone who is strong enough to do right, even if it leads to your death.
Someone who is not too proud to take advice, someone who knows that there is strength in numbers but also accepts that sometimes…the needs of the one outweighs the need of the few.
If 99 out of 100 people need me to make them dance but one of them needs some words of encouragement or healing…it is my duty to help the truly needy urgently before making the 99 dance.