Friday, September 24, 2021

Emile YX? Biography 2021

Emile YX? Biography

Emile YX? (Emile Jansen) was born in Grassy Park, Cape Town. He is the son of a primary school teacher Mom and soccer coach Dad. Emile is thus a proponent of experiential education and is also a qualified teacher. He is often considered to be one of the Pioneers of South African Hip Hop and is a founder member of the legendary South African Hip Hop Group, Black Noise. He is best known for developmental work and community outreach projects through Heal the Hood Project

The Dancer

I started b-boying (breaking) for Pop Glide Crew in 1982 & am thus seen as a pioneer of South African Hip Hop. In 1984 we won our first competition at Route 66, Town Centre, Mitchells Plain. From 1993 I started spreading B-boying throughout South Africa by teaching and creating events. I was a member of the Black Noise Crew 1997 when we won 3rd place at the World Champs at Battle Of The Year in Germany. I also managed the South African All-star team that won 4th place at Battle Of The Year in 2000. From 1997 – 2008 I helped Heal The Hood Project fundraise to send more than 250 of our best dancers to international events like Battle Of The Year in Germany, R16 in Korea, Red Bull BC One in Brazil & India, Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in the USA and IBE in The Netherlands. From 2011 – 2013 I judges a reality dance show on ETV called “Step up Or Step Out”      

The MC

In 1988 I founded the Black Noise Hip Hop Group with other members of the group. I have recorded and released 13 albums with Black Noise including Pumpin’ Loose Da Juice (1992), Rebirth Of Mind & Hip Hop Culture (1992), Black Facts (1994), Rebirth CD (1995), Questions (1996), Hip Hop Won’t Stop (1998), Circles Of Fire (2000), Rotational High (2002), Jam Sessions (2004), Getcha On The Floor (2006), Best Of Black Noise (2008), Stone Garden Soldiers (2010) and Black Noise Matters (2019). I also recorded and released 13 solo Emile YX? Albums:- Who Am I? (2003), Conquering Lions (2006), Roar – Live it Loud (2008), Conscious Rhymes For Unconscious Times (2010), Afrikaaps soundtrack (2011), Born & Bred of the Cape Flats (2012), Mixed Mense (2013), Take Our Power Back (2015), Demockery (2016), From B-boys To Being Men (2016), Songs & Stories For My Son (2017), Songs & Stories for my Daughter (2018), Afrocation (2018) and Kaapse Katte (2019). I’m also featured on 9 compilation albums like Monster Hits (1992), Do For Self Compilation (1994), A Moment In Cape Town (2001), Battle Of The Year Compilations (2000, 2001 & 2013), Afro-lution Compilation (2004), Baobab Tree Compilation (2005), Mother City Compilation (2007), Anti-World Cup (2010), Internationally Known 2 (2012) and Fees Must Fall (2015). I also helped to release 7 Heal the Hood compilation albums and helped 6 local artists release their solo albums. Artists like Plain Madnizz, Isaac Mutant, Lionz Of Zion, Ancient Men, Jamyaka Poston, Conquering Lionz and Resistencia.       

The Author 

In 1990 I created Black Noise News (BNN), which was the foundation for creating South Africa’s first Hip Hop Magazine Da Juice in 1993. It was originally called The Message. I have since written and contributed to 24 books: What is Hip Hop?, My Hip Hop is African & Proud, Conscious Rhymes For Unconscious Times, Heal The Hood B-boying Grade 1 Manual, (Rhymes, Articles, Poetry, Short Stories and Sketches) R.A.P.S.S. version 1-3, Land i Forandring, Barn och unga i sodra Afrika, Bushman Creation Story, The Story Of The Wind, Fire The Dancer, Princess Vlei, The Big Water-snake, The Lioness, Sally the Salmon, Why Turtles Cry, Saartjie Baartman, Girl That Made The Milky Way, Reflections on Knowledge Learning & Social Movements, The Hip Hop Cook Book & Reconnect the String. I recently co-edited Neva Again with UCLA Professor H. Samy Alim & South African Professors  Adam Haupt &  Quentin Williams. I am currently working on 3 more books called Making A Black Noise 1 & 2, Hip Hop Education: We Live This and I have co-written a chapter for the book, The 5th Element, edited by H. Samy Alim, Jeff Chang, and Casey Wong on the University of California Press (2021)  

Community Work

My involvement with politics in the 1980s demanded that our Hip Hop culture in Cape Town would operationalize our community activism. As soon as we were writing rhymes about the situations in our community, we had to take action. In 1991 Black Noise started with Rap To The Rescue, then Library Holiday Programmes tours to motivate and teach kids to read, followed by teaching them the elements of Hip Hop Culture (What is Hip Hop? Library tour, followed by the book). In 1998 I created Heal the Hood Project, which won Best Hip Hop Organization in 2010. As a qualified school teacher, I brought education into South African Hip Hop. I helped raise funds for more than 250 artists to travel to international events. I have taught many others how to teach in order to spread the dance. Heal The Hood Project is currently in 15 schools. I created a syllabus that is being taught to 1500 youth in the Western Cape. 


In 1991, as a member of Black Noise and a schoolteacher, I assisted Peninsula Feeding Scheme to raise funds to feed school children in Cape Town, an event in conjunction with Rap To The Rescue. I also assisted the local Hip Hop community in hosting events like the Power Jam in Mitchells Plain. In 1993, as a member of Black Noise, we created the Do For Self Concerts to help schools and the Hip Hop Community, which were hosted in Grassy Park, Retreat and Mitchells Plain.  In 1995 I hosted the South African version of the Universal Hip Hop Nation Anniversary. I also created events like African Hip Hop Indaba, Battle of the Year South Africa, Shut Up Just Dance, African Battle Cry, Cape Flats Uprising, Learn To Surf Day, Up The Rock, Cape Flats Film Festival, Positive Poster Week, Cape Flats Performing Arts Conference, Our Hip Hop Festival, Reconnect the String, Black Noise Anniversary and Freestyle Session South Africa


I have been involved in various documentaries like Cape Of Hip Hop, Cape Town Vibes, The Creators, What Are We Doing Here?, From B-boys To Being Men, Bomb It (2 of my songs feature), Afrikaaps, Emile YX? B-boy Basics, Coline & Robbie (wrote C.A.R.A Song for doccie), Dressing The Princess, Break Like You and One Table Two Elephants


I have written and performed in award winning plays like Afrikaaps, which is a play about the black history of the language that was created in Cape Town and co-opted by the Afrikaner community as a key part of their white supremacist, nationalist project The language’s origins expose the mixed heritage of the community that created it. Ons Bou, Mixing It Up, Break & Stompie

Teaching & Speaking

I have also been invited to teach & speak at University of California, Stanford, Harvard, University of San Francisco, Duke, NYC, Washington University, Sacramento State University, Teachers College, Trinity University, Gothenberg University, University of Cape Town University of the Western Cape & Stellenbosch University.  


I was recently inducted into the South African Hip Hop Museums Hall Of Fame. I also received an Honorary Award & Ubuntu Activism Award from the South African Hip Hop Awards. Other awards were The Mayor’s Award for Black Noise song about Greening The City. I also won a Lifetime Achievement Award from Iconic Urban Dance Awards for my solo contributions to Hip Hop Dance & Culture, as well as Black Noise winning a Lifetime Achievement Award. Other awards include the LeadSA Award, ETV South African Heroes Award, Mandela Monday Award, Arts & Culture Award for contributions to Literature, and the Moshito Music Conference Award for my contributions to Hip Hop Culture in South Africa. With dance I have been blessed to tour & perform in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, England, Italy, USA, Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe.


Sharing Stages with Notable Artists & People

I have also been able to share stages with President Nelson Mandela, Dr Alan Boesak, President Jacob Zuma, The Queen Of Sweden, Robbie Jansen, Tony Schilder, Hilton Schilder, Prophets of Da City, Manu Dibungo, Salif Keita, Baba Maal, Lemmy Special, Brenda Fassie, Shabba Ranks, Dr Alban, Duran Duran, 2Unlimited, Snoop Doggy Dog, Pharrell, Joe, Shaggy, Mario, Arrested Development, HHP, Kurt Darren, Steve Hoffmeyer, Black Thought of the Roots, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Kyle Shepherd, Jitsvinger, Blaq Pearl, Bliksemstraal, Moenier Monox Adams, Lukmaan & Emo Adams, Shane Cooper, Vicky Sampson, Jennifer Jones, Zane Adams, The Boyz, K’naan, YoungstaCPT, Dr Victor, Freshly Ground, The Rasta Rebels, Sons of Selassie, Marc Alex, Walk This Way, Smoking Brass, The Usual, Syndicate Sisters, AK 47, Sisters In Command, Jam B and many more.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"In Your Arms, Where All my Journeys End" - Living Between Cape Town & San Francisco

Living Between Cape Town, South Africa and San Francisco, USA

This is the 3rd time that I am in San Francisco and its becoming easier to wrap my head around living across continents. Now that my wife and kids are settled here in the Bay, I see the idea of a global village more clearly and how complicated it is versus the ease of knowing where one is based. 
It took my Cancerian self a while to be at ease that the whole world is my home and not only the Cape Flats, Cape Town, South Africa. I have travelled before and been to many places, but it has always been to perform and I knew that I was heading home. The irony of that is that often South Africans don't even see being so-called coloured as being South African, but what do they know at times ne. 
Anyway, I must say that being here in the USA during what seems like trying times politically has made me think about the global illusion of democracy and how "we the people" seem to be at the mercy of capitalisms deciding money that paid for election campaigns. In South Africa we had Jacob Zuma and his connection to the Gupta family and here in the USA we have Donald Trumps connection to the NRA and every other business interest versus that of the peoples will. It's kinda sad for the global family to be sold an illusion of division and borders as a way to secure economics, when in truth money has no borders and the same people keeping us apart, are really making sure that they keep us away from realising that we have collective power and if we do see our similarity, we will become more of a threat to their economic strange-hold over humanity.
So as I travel between my family in South Africa and my family in the USA, I am constantly seeing the movement of people between worlds and the global family seems to become so much smaller. The enforced stereotypes that I have been forced to have of various communities are broken by speaking to them at airports and gatherings in far away places and in the comfort of a seat on a plane for a very very long time. They open up more than they would if they were to be in their designated box back home. Here on this plane or waiting to board, we are just travelling souls heading for the fulfilment of our hearts across time and space. So we speak easier and we see the humanity of each other much easier ... until we get to the border control and are suddenly not as welcomed as we were on the journey between. The passport control and check if you are allowed in and standing in that long ass lines, often make me sad about what we have become for the benefit of economics. The illusion of difference and the divide of the global human family. But, it is what it is for now and we do what we have to do to see our loved ones. 
The joy awaiting on the other side of that passport control is impossible to calculate and what we would not do to ensure that those loving arms and smiles enfold us and plant long deep kisses of joy and completion onto us ... We have come home ... And HOME IS IN THE ARMS OF OUR LOVED ONES. 
When I heard and fell in LOVE with the song "THE PROMISE" by Tracy Chapman, I had no idea that it would mean so much more to me as time went on and that the line ...
"Together again It would feel so good to be In your arms Where all my journeys end ..." 
would have such profound meaning in my life.
Thank You Tracey Chapman ...

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Internalisation of Knowledge Of Self

The Internalisation Knowledge Of Self & Self Worth/ Love ... We Are NOT POOR ...  

"Ek hettie geld ie ... Os is ma arme mense ... Os skarrel elke dag. " These are words that I hear around me all the time and I wonder about the power that these words may have.

I see our people with the latest clothing and cellphones and always buying airtime, yet I hear them say how little to nothing they have. I hear parents tell children that they are poor and I wonder what poor they are talking about. Its like when I was growing u on the Cape Flats and people never referred to where I live as a ghetto, but a neighbourhood and we treated it as such by looking after each other in the community. Playing together and making things work for us. You seldom heard kids say that they are bored or had nothing to do. All we had stick, that we broke from a tree and we made a hole in the sand and put the stick across the hole. Then with another stick, we flung the smaller stick away from the opens housing guard and this was a game called "kennetjie". We played for hours. We would sometimes use stones if we could find it laying around as well. Then we played "Drie Blikkies", if we found 3 tins somewhere and so on.

We were never poor ... we were innovative and creative. Our minds were not pushed in that direction, but now the children of that generation seem to have been given Playstation etc and constantly say how bored they are. They also say how little they have and how they see themselves as poor. I listen to parents speak to their children about how things were when they were young, yet they do not instil that same drive in their children to see themselves as PRICELESS. We seem to be creating our own poverty by the way we have been taught to speak about ourselves and our ability. I remember hours of playing "Kerim" / Carrom" with with my brasse and being completely content about it.

Maybe with all the load-shedding we should disconnect our laaities from the grid and move them away from the virtual world and back to the physical / REAL world ne. I know I am saying this from an internet platform, but BALANCE IS NEEDED.

Finally, I would like to say that WORDS HAVE POWER and if you do not believe me, just see what happened to Biggie and Tupac after speaking about dying and being shot. We manifest what we speak and one of the greatest such manifestations is ... "In the beginning was the word and the word was made man." I wrote a rhyme about this called "Babblers from Babylon"

Heres the lyrics of that song:-

Babblers from Babylon-Talk is Cheap
Lyrics by Emile Jansen
These babblers from babylon, I hear them babbling on and on/ The battle it be over even before its begun X 2
Now you can't chant down babylon/ If all you have is an empty song/ Now you cant chant down babylon,
when you dont know whats going on
Verse 1
Ohmmmm !!!!!
In the beginning was the word and the word was made man
See even God took actions on the words in his plan
Can you understand when our words were our bond
Now rappers speew words like their mouths are magic wonds
Conned from wordsworth, tell me whats your wordsworth
When your words never ever into action even give birth
Words be like Oh No, now Im meaningless
Before these empty MCs, you see I had meaning yes
The meaninglessness of words has now escalated
Self-hatred paraded on poster poles are under-rated
Sacred was the word when we thought before we spoke
Its a joke when freestyle MCs freely on their words choke
Poke it with a stick, words meanings sticking to the page
At this stage we've forgotten how to use our words to rage
Uncage the words meaning, let your words manifest
Lest saying isn't doing, so on your words do your best
Verse 2
Talk is cheap, now everyone is an MC,
But cant see the industries still run by mental Slavery
Artists are an apostrophe, owned they're their property
Promptly, promoting commodities a priority
See these slaves endorse products aplenty
Where MCs get 10% while industry gets 90
Empty MCs on Empty TV's
Words are empty thanks to the corporate squeeze
Please - I never thought that I'd see the day
Where your flow is more important than acting on what you say
Hey ! big word spitters, who do you actually rhyme for
So hardcore that the masses of listeners you ignore
Im sure MCs an acronym for mental captivity
No sustainability cause everyone gets in for free
Put them on your guest list, you guest yes pockets empty
Empty like the beers they consume after entry
Drums come and call on the son
To return the meaning to where word came from
Some spit venom verbally inflicting pain
When all fades away only the word will remain
Ohmmmmmmm !!!!!

Verse 3
These babblers babble on and with forked tongue spit at the sun
They've come to cruxify the revolutionary one
Beware of these ones who speak with forked tongue
On a cross in Calvary, they the word hung
Spun Democracies falacies and free-trade policies
These global capitalist media monopolies
Empty promises from politicians to economists
The conning list, they insist silences pessimist
Make passivists from activists, opportunists capitalists
Capital YES SIS, Tokyos the apprentice to their riches
B.E.E greedy , legitimize privitization
Our nation sold to foreign economic occupation
Gone are our revolutionary youth who fought for freedom
See them in the malls acting like dumb ass Hilton ...
Their battles won if the words meanings gone
On your words be impeccable and  true change will come

Masses minds won when medias brainwashing gets done
These sons of capitalism control the sales of the gun