The West Midlands is a melting pot of cultures that co-exist rather than clash; enter into this mix South African-born rapper Phundo Art, and what you have is a rapper fully vibing with his surroundings to carve out his own space in the rap universe. He currently calls Walsall home, but his sights are set on a much more global presence. His musical movements are the product of a young, curious mind that absorbs sounds and visuals that speak to him.
Phundo’s lyrical style has roots in American street rap with slang-heavy stories rubbing shoulders with production from local legend Dan Oddysee and a small gang of over-seas beat wizards. Phundo Art keeps his circle exclusively close and small in number ensuring a coherent aesthetic of sound.
Phundo Art’s recent mixtape ‘BNG’ has had the ears of rap fans pricking up at the sound of his localised lingo, radio-ready choruses and bold tunes with slang that bangs. He has a playful power over his vocal tones, switching from guttural menace to a lighter, streetwise growl. There is no need for a hype-man when he takes to the stage either; his audiences shout back every word. Recent live shows have seen him level up from the open mic nights he cut his teeth at. It was Wolverhampton-based grime MC Vital that first encouraged him to spit bars at an open mic night. He’s never looked back since; except to throw cheeky winks back at the girls, undressing him with their eyes.
When it comes to fashion, Phundo Art’s style is a work of just that. Art. Much like his music, his fashion is an amalgamation of aesthetics. His Instagram page pops out of mobile screens like a brand look-book. A future in modelling looks likely to be on the cards and for a modern rapper in 2016; its a logical career progression. Not stopping at rapping and fashion; Phundo has been staring into computer screens as much as camera lenses recently, as he intends to learn how to produce.
Phundo Art epitomises everything that people have come to expect from their favourite modern rapper. No longer are we expecting them just to have a wordy flow that makes us laugh and think? Audiences expect rappers to also be producers, label-owners, models, designers and photographers. Phundo is well on his way to checking each and everyone off the list.