During A Journey To The South Tour of South Africa from December 4th-28th I had a chance to be in the home of 2J Harmonix aka Jonathan Juliun Groenewald of Pretoria, South Africa and he shook my mind. We stayed in contact for years on Faceook but being face to face in his studio with the tour crew, Simon Manda on the video camera and audio and Mpilo Makanya on the camera taking pictures was amazining.
The tour crew drove up and I was excited to finally meet 2J Harmonix face to face. His sister answered the door and lead us in the living room where 2J Harmonix was there in his wheechair. We hugged and quickly was lead to his studio for the interview. We had five interviews to do on that day so we were moving fast but 2J Harmonix vast knowledge not only in Hip-Hop but on poetry, disability acctivism and youth issues in his country of South Africa, made us slow down and really comprehend the knowledge 2J Harmonix was giving us.
2J Harmonix among the rest of the artists we had the blessing to sit down with and interview will be in our upcoming film documentary and book but in the mean while check out this Krip-Hop Nation special interview with 2J Harmonix!
Krip-Hop Nation (KHN) – It was such an honnor to meet you at your house on December 28th. I want to start off with your creative beginnings, poetry, the place where you are planning to go back to. Tell us the beginning of your artistic career.
2J Harmonix: When I started to do poetry I used to slam kinda like Dead Prez on a very dark political view then evolved into rapping but I’m returning because my music is talking a more mainstream sound so I won’t be able to go as deep as I’ll like too which is why I’m beginning to write my anthology LYRIX meaning “let your rhymes inspire experience”
KHN: You dropped some knowledeg about your new creative paths in 2017. Can you share what is on your plate in 2017 and why is it so different from last year.
2J Harmonix: I’ve given myself a mandate of 1 song a week making 52 songs a year, quite a daunting task and may not be reachable but if I do then no one has an excuse to not make music because I’m building a portable studio with my producer so that I can work during lunch while I’m at work, if I’m on the road or anywhere I’m at. This personal mandate was inspired after my producer/friend KimrO_BeatZ made his own personal mandate of 20 beats a month. Secondly I’m releasing 4 solo EP namely Throne On Wheels, Chairman Mentality, Poort To The World and Ability Redefined each having 4-6 songs which I’ll release every 3 months but to kick things off I’ll be launching my crew Made Different in January with our first self titled project Made Different dropping this January. I’m currently in negotiations with the Tshwane School Of Music (TSOM) which is a music school for primary school kids to get music lessons after school, I also taught a workshop of how to rap at their school and now working on doing my solo concert 2J Harmonix Showcase which will have an unplugged feel to it because I would have their bands playing my music while I perform. This is to aid in raising funds for my motorized wheelchair. I’m returning to poetry and I’m a bit rusty but I’d like to try to do 3 pieces a month so that I have enough for my Anthology Lyrix which will be my rap lyrics and poetry. Also I’ll be continuing my disability activism as Casual Day Ambassador for the 4th year and work on starting my project of seeking persons with disabilities that would like to be in the arts or media.
KHN: I had a chance to see Africa MTV Hip-Hop Awards on TV while I was in South Africa and I have my thoughts but you have a plan for the award show. Please tell us what is up your seleeve.
2J Harmonix: Well I’m planning to atleast get a nomination this year. I won’t advise to go into the music industry with goals to win awards but I personally want to set a standard for all artists to show what hard work can bring you.
KHN: Thanks for giving me your new solo CD! It sounds like your solo CD is more personal especially the songs, I’m Unstoppble, & Motivators, please explain and give us some lyrics from these two songs.
2J Harmonix: Yes very personal this is an album where I moved away from entertaining hip hop heads instead I chose to dig deep and share my story like in I’m Unstoppable when I say “85 a diagnosis brought grayish skies/ doctors said he’ll live till 4? That was a shady lie/” which is what happened but I’ve defied the odds and I’m currently 33
KHN: You have collaborated with other disabled musicians in South Africa like the award winning Tha Cutt. Tell us about these experiences and do you have future plans to work with more disabled musicians?
2J Harmonix: I’ve worked with blind rapper Mr Tap and singer with Non progressive scoliosis Grace Storm. I keep seeking for more creatives with disabilities that are planning to reach greater heights so I’ll keep looking.
KHN: Being from America I try to understand racial mix in South Africa. You have a song entitled, I’m A Kullid, please explain why this song is so important to you and other South Africans
2J Harmonix: Quite controversial but there’s a group that started the movement Kullid making the word a noun instead of a verb and having ownership of it. There are Kullids that’s against this but I’m for it.
KHN: How can people get your music, poetry and other artistic goodies?
2J Harmonix: at the moment they may get Motivation for free at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rh8sn6unm5srvzn/AACNiStsZHSHJZ40XN1ZH4rHa?dl=0 also I’m on the latest single Robdeep G5 ft King Dray and 2J Harmonix prod. KimrO_BeatZ at http://www.audiomack.com/song/2j-harmonix/g5-prodby-kimro-beatz and they should follow me for more details because all my music will be on iTunes soon
KHN: Any last words or something that I left out?
2J Harmonix: follow me on the following links
Pic: Simon with the hat on standing up, Leroy bending over with his cane with 2J Harmonix in his home studio in Pretoria, South Africa