Deezer Next brings you closer to Robin Thirdfloor

Deezer Next brings us closer to Robin Thirdfloor’s thoughts on Durban hip hop, his Somdanger philosophy and his forthcoming EP

Every day, new music emerges from new artists. For all you know, it could be your new favourite artist. But do you have the hours to troll through all of that music just to find out? Deezer Next is Deezer’s answer to this. A curated incubator for emerging artists who would otherwise fall short of the top billing the MTV artists of the day enjoy.

In the first of our four part Deezer Next series, we introduce you to Robin Thirdfloor.

You’ve gone from Back to the City to SXSW. Why do you think your appeal has been so universal?

Authenticity. I feel like when a musician is different it is easy to stand out. There are a lot of musicians out there and unless you have your distinct sound [or] image you can never stand out. So for me it’s always been about making my mark and trying not to follow a wave but make one.

How did you wind up linking up with Tshepang Ramoba?

I met with Tshepang in 2014 via the internet. He had heard my stuff online and liked it. We remained in contact. I’d hit him up for advice on stuff and he would send me an opportunity to take advantage of here and there. But it was only in 2015 when I went to Joburg to meet him and later on signed to his label Post Post Music.

Unpack the Somdanger ideology for us and how it’s shaped your music.

Somdanger is fearless, Somdanger is free to be and that concept for me came at the right time when I felt I was becoming more comfortable in my own skin and my own opinions. It became more than a song but a lifestyle and became significant for a newly found perspective for me musically and also in my personal life.

It’s widely acknowledged that you have been responsible for putting Durban hip hop on the map. In a city now for its gqom, how do you think the hip hop scene is doing in Durban?

I wouldn’t say I’m the only one putting the city on the map but I’m one of the guys introducing the people to our city. Hip hop is doing well in Durban. A lot of guys are coming out and doing amazing things mainstream. However, for me, it’s not even about the genres anymore. I’m currently in studio mixing up elements from kwaito, gqom and hip hop and I feel like I can do this because I’m from a city that’s rich with culture. So why would I box myself up when I could just have fun incorporating it all in the music?

You’ve said that the sales of your debut EP exceeded your expectations. What were your expectations?

Honestly, I don’t know. When I dropped Sounds Empty Pockets Make, it was a big risk. I mean it had been a while since I heard something that honest from my city, not to mention South Africa. So I thought maybe it would be one of those projects which are not even considered as a release and just put to the side. But to my surprise, it got a lot of good reviews for just that: honesty. I can strongly say SEPM laid quite a good foundation for me, along with the other music that dropped after. I’ve learned quite a lot and it’s all going to be heard on the new EP I’m working on titled, Bhotela, which drops this year.

(This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.)

Stream Robin Thirdfloor’s ‘Somdanger’ on Deezer below.

Well, what do you think?

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