A few days after releasing his new album, SR2, South African music veteran K.O spoke to The Juice about his latest work, misconceptions that he wants to clear up, reactions from fans and a lot more.
The hardworking artist also spoke about why some industry insiders call him arrogant and why some people blamed him for musicians like Kid X and Moozlie leaving his label, Cashtime Life.
Here’s the Juice’s interview KO:
On what inspired the title and the tone of SR2:
The album title itself is really building on the first album I put out called Skanda Republic and I figured I wanted to build on that because it really resonated with the people on such a deep level in terms of the culture and who we are. But it resonated on a frivolous level and it was all about lifestyle.
I wanted to continue this theme, where SR2 is the literal continuation of Skanda Republic. But on this album I want to delve deep into not only, who we are but where we are as a nation and where we are going; from a social and economic standpoint and a mental health standpoint and just all about things that matter to us as a nation is what the focal point of this album is.
The reaction from fans and critics:
The reaction was surprisingly very positive, not surprising in the way that I thought the music wouldn’t go down well with them but surprising because since last year I have had trouble connecting with the audience. Not because I wasn’t putting out music or because the music wasn’t great enough. The disconnect was coming from a place where there was this resistance against everything I was involved in. Because of certain misconceptions about me; regarding some of the shenanigans that transpired last year around my brand, with people that I’ve been doing business with and stuff like that.
So, unfortunately it ended up tarnishing the appetite from many industry people for my music. I am someone who is very honest with myself and I’m not afraid to admit my shortcomings but a lot of it comes from being misunderstood. From the standpoint where people don’t know the real me on a human level. And that is based on the fact that people assume I am a certain kind of person with no reference point.
On painting a different picture of himself with this new album:
Coming into this album, another sublime intention that I was hoping to achieve was to paint the human side of things about me, about my own self. To show my vulnerability and to show people that I am also a human being, so when the album came out I thought I was going to get the same resistant reaction because people maybe feel a certain way about me, but it was the total opposite. Meaning that the quality of the work itself – I also spoke prematurely last month and said that this album is so much better than my first (laughs) and some people were like “Bra, let us hear the album first” so there was already this cynical expectation that I can’t outdo the first album – but when it came out on the first day, people were already championing it saying that it was better than the first one. So it’s going done the way I saw it in my head and even going beyond what I could have expected.
One that has actually haunted me my entire life and not just in a music space is that people always talk about my demeanour. They say I’m introverted and downright socially awkward, one would easily say that I’m arrogant. You know, because I am not too out there in my personality is not too inviting for someone that is trying to hang with me on a light-hearted level. Until they meet me and get to know me on a person level and then they’re like “whoa, you’re good people.” So, unfortunately I don’t get a lot of time to interact with people who know my brand so that misconception still seeps through the crack.
“K.O is the reason is why those people are leaving the company…”
Also, last year –this is about my own imprint Cashtime Life – some of the artists started to peel off and some other people turned that into “KO is the reason is why those people are leaving the company because they felt like they were getting the same attention that KO was getting; because they are inferior to his brand because they are beneath him or whatever and he wants to keep them that way.”
As luck would have it, it has been over a year since they left and people were expecting new music from them or this trajectory from them especially after leaving “KO”, but that hasn’t happened. Meaning that the entire time that they were still with us, with my label, it was always the same frustrations like “Guys, let’s work a little harder, people need new music from you, people need to see you doing. So that it doesn’t look like KO is the only one that is moving.”
“The problem was not K.O…”
The main concern we had, when we were still together under one umbrella, is the same thing that they are probably doing now where they are not putting in enough for them to make the moves that are supposed to made. So, in essence, the problem was not KO. So the misconception that emanated from that is that they left because of me but now time seems to be healing everything. People are starting to see that that wasn’t the case so that’s just something that I wanted to reiterate.
On new videos:
It’s been so crazy, but ever since the album came out we’ve trying to find the best way to gage; checking the number of likes and the ratings on iTunes. So it looks like there are four or five which most likely get videos.