Brutal honesty, cutting-edge confrontation and downright dramatic! Irrefutably, these are some of the phrases that have been used to denote Zimbabwe’s imposing Hip hop podcast, Keeping It Real Fridays.
Steeped in urban music history and its contemporary essence, KIRF, as it is cultlike renowned by its legion of fans, is hosted by Seletine and Brian Willis who tediously, reminds their listeners that he’s no relations with Bruce Willis. The two make an improbable combination as one would say. The strongly-opinionated personalities complement each other in ways seldom deciphered. It could be the Bad Cop-Good Cop methodology they employ during their interviews with various artists, with Brian often being either a volcano or an iceberg while Selentine is often the not-so-difficult one.
Whereas their diversified ways of finding and telling the Zim hip-hop truth is crystal pellucid to see through, the two insist that they are not here to create drama and ruffle feathers. In a fresh interview with #enthuse, the KIRF duo who recently shelved the 100th episode milestone said it was only the listeners’ misconstruction that they thrive on drama.
Here is an up-and-close conversation we had with Seletine and Brian.
#enthuse: Tell us, how has it been being part of Keeping It Real Fridays?
Brian Willis: Being part of KIRF is a rewarding journey filled with ups and downs, but mostly ups because in both instances something is learnt. It’s such a pleasure working with a selfless bunch of skilled people in their own rights, from the founders Onai and Nkosana (I still have no clue what Nkosana’s role is but weirdly his presence is felt) to the sound engineers Dj Krimz and Dj Drew to the producer Young Sheikh (Max Carter) and my pain in the arse cohost Seletine.
Seletine: Being a part of KIRF has been an eye-opening experience as a content creator. I have met a lot of interesting individuals in the creative and media space. It has had its ups and downs but we make it work.
#enthuse: What have been some of the highlights since KIRF’s inception?
Seletine: As a social Architect, I get high off I’m meeting amazing game-changers that push the envelope when they create music or come up with dope events. Some of the highlights definitely the VERYUS interview where we had a collective of seven amazing artistes – where so many jewels were dropped, hosting at Shoko festival and also winning best online media at ZHH awards in 2017.
Brian Willis: Well, the highlights come in so many shapes and sizes. From gurus like Misred, SoProfound, Slikour (from South Africa) being fans of the show, to hearing artists that usually felt neglected by radio calling us to come to their rescue, to winning best online media in 2017 in Bulawayo, to having Slikour on the show to having a BET award winner on the show Sha Sha.
#enthuse: You recently celebrated the 100th episode. What does that milestone signify?
The best for me is the fact that KIRF is fighting the good fight for the rise of the most looked down upon genre in Zimbabwe, Hip-hop.
Seletine: It actually feeds my fight against complacency. I feel we have hit the reset button and have to elevate and go harder than before.
#enthuse: Any memorable episodes this far?
Brian Willis: Shasha (particularly when she said she’d like to meet me at some point😇). Slikour during the Shoko Festival Hip hop Summit. The Stunner and MisRed Episodes.
Seletine: Not to be petty but when Brian felt bullied and walked out of the Few Kings interview. Much love to my brother, we’ve had some dope moments, too many to mention.
#enthuse: Having been able to represent a culture that is often undermined and understated, how significantly would you say KIRF has contributed to the development of ZHH?
Brian Willis: Hip-hop is really in between a rock and a hard place. I mean historically nothing was documented properly and no proper grooming was done by our pioneers. So you find a lot of these kids making the same mistakes our pioneers made i.e signing dumb contracts, not really knowing how to handle the business side of the music. Then on the other side we have the economy in Zimbabwe rendering the industry barely functional. We already have peeps perceiving hip-hop as a genre filled with depictions of non-realistic lifestyles which to me is absurd because we have plenty of artists hitting the mark on socio-economic issues. I will always fight for hip-hop because it’s a fighter of a genre. I mean, which other genre drops better videos? Which other genre has spoken about the current Zimbabwean lives matter mantra?
It’s Zim hip-hop… and KIRF will continue to build a path for our brothers and sisters in the game to find that break they are working hard to get, and so far based on the up and coming artists and well known we’ve had from gimmie 5 to actual interviews ie Holy Ten, Asaph, Calvin, Few Kings, to mention a few KIRF is definitely contributing towards the growth of the genre in our beloved country.
Seletine: We have tried our level best to document the culture from chopping it up with cats who did their thing in the ’90s to present day. I strongly believe one day the podcast will be used as a reference point for use in Universities and future documentaries when artists share some careers highlights.
#enthuse: What are some of the misconceptions that people have on KIRF?
Seletine: Biggest misconception is that we only live to create drama, which is something I refute. We are a peace-loving pod and evangelists for good artistry in the Hip Hop community!