“It’s the only way, to be honest.” explains Joseph Philemon on using the internet as a platform for his music. The Cape Town born, Johannesburg-based rapper continues, “the traditional way, people book the same five artists the entire time. When you switch over to radio, MTV Base or whatever they’re playing the same ten artists so there is no other choice, there is no other way besides the internet.” This philosophy defines his New Wave sound. “New Wave is just the new sound, it’s artists that are coming from the internet.”
Growing up in a home filled with gospel, it was his elder cousins that introduced him to hip hop with artists such as T.I., Little Wayne and Young Jeezy. While he began writing in Grade 8 it was in Grade 10 that he decided to take it seriously, however it wasn’t until completing matric that he could move to Johannesburg to focus on music. “[Music] was the only thing that I loved and cared about. In matric I wrote my last paper for finals and in the same week I moved to Johannesburg.”
In the past year, he has released three projects including his debut EP “Progression” , which saw him work with Ginger Trill and Priddy Ugly on the single “John Lennon”. His most recent release is “The Break of Dawn” EP which sees Joseph exploring and telling the stories of his life. “I’m exploring the life and times of Joseph Philemon. I try to put what I’m currently going through or my mindset and stories about myself into 7 songs.”
While the EP is primarily Joseph’s narratives it does feature Joshua the I Am on “Bad to the Bone”. Featuring the productions of Zoocci Coke Dope, LAE , YoungHeartThrobber , Marco Benz and Treih Earl Beatz the EP has a cohesive, emotional sound that is punctuated by slow and punchy trap rhythms. “Everything was organic with all of the producers. All of them are homies of mine.”
On the EP’s first single “Mom Tattoo” he explains the story behind the tattoo on his neck. “Everybody always asks why I got the mom tattoo on my neck so I just wanted to explain it on a track as an outro and with the music video I just wanted a simple video where you can really just listen to the lyrics.” “Escaped from Hell” and “Bad to the Bone” are due for videos next with the order still to be decided.
With the EP being focused on himself, Joseph is working with a number of other artists too. “I got some exciting features but I can’t tell you them. I just wanna stay consistent with it.” Work on the next project might start in December. “I just want [people] to get to know me better.” Joseph says of what he’s trying to do with his music. “If they do feel me on what I’m saying that’s dope and they’ll love the music even more.” he finishes.