Photography by Mpho Patane

Keabruh&Jay.B want to normalise queer culture

Both hailing from Vosloorus in the East Rand, it was their mutual love of poetry that brought Keabruh and Jay.B together. Now residing in Johannesburg, the two have been making music together since 2016. “The only way we could get to be heard was to put a beat to it. People resonate more with music than with poetry” explains Jay. B.

Their childhood was filled with the sounds of original kwaito and local hip hop, which is evident in their tracks. Lyrically, they draw influences from the likes of Gigi Lamayne and Kwesta, as well as their hometown Vosloorus and their experiences growing up there.

Proudly labeling themselves as a queer rap duo, Keabruh explains that they want to inspire the next generation of queer artists as they themselves didn’t have many queers icons to look up to growing up. “What we’re trying to do is to normalise queer culture. There weren’t a lot of queers artists for us to look up to growing up in the music industry. So we want to be the voice for the young, queer kids coming after us.”

With their first two releases, “SUKA” and “Mnandi”, Keabruh&Jay.B have given a taste of their kwaito and hip hop driven sound, however, they’re next release will be a visual accompanying an unreleased track in which they tackle queer normalisation more directly, something they feel has been missing up until now. The duo is also planning on releasing an EP in 2019 with six tracks all focusing on the queer agenda.

Having performed at the likes of Republic 94 in Braamfontein as well as the AFROPUNK Battle of the Bands, 2018 has been a busy year for the group and they plan on taking the remainder of it to work on their new material.

Ultimately, Keabruh&Jay.B want you to learn about their experiences growing up queer in the township and how they managed to rise above both these struggles. “Growing up we were told the way we were was wrong. I want people to see that being different is 100% correct, you will not go wrong with being different. So take pride in who you are, whatever you are,” says Keabruh.

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