Often we are told that first impressions are the foundation of most interactions. This notion goes hand in hand with music, assuming that you hear something and love it. You easily also have a disliking to something and never have any interest in it at all. Thus reiterating the importance of first impressions. One could see something and want to be a part of it, without the slightest bit of knowledge about it based on how it appeals to you. As you are impressed by what it is, what it stands for. An ideal that I personally had with a collective by the name of Dapper Gang. A group of musicians, photographers, designers and creatives. All from the Neighbourhood Kempton park in the East Rand of Johannesburg. Who not only form a great cohesive unit but show this in their efforts by pushing of each others with their respective fields.
There is a level of brotherhood displayed through appreciation and commitment to the cause that was started when Parley and Frank started making music. In a music industry that has gradually picked up in a great interest in the hip hop culture. We see different kinds of sounds being introduced, especially a great devotion to one’s respective hood(s). The musicians of Dapper gang are no exception to the pushing and representation of where they are from, giving us a glimpse of who they are representing through the music. It’s always easy to claim support from those you call your friends/around you, as there is a sense of “obligation” which is given by those you call “friends”. Problem with this obligation is that there would be no point if there is no sense of belief in what you are putting out into the world.
What Dapper Gang does so well is break the ceiling in the purely organic support by those affiliated with the musicians. Yes it is about the music but from the comradely shown, one sees that there it is more than just music. It is about believing in the vision, thriving for impact in having an influence on the culture through the music. Basically music for the culture. A sense of determination for not settling on being an impact to a certain target audience, thriving on wanting to shift as many people as possible. See what I have gathered from being around Dapper Gang is there is no sense of restriction, be it those around them (meaning there are countless of personalities in the group).
Sonically as well, yes the musicians do make hip hop. Yet it doesn’t sound the same there is diversity in how Frank wants the whole thing. Then we are put in an emotional mood by Parley showing an affectionate side with Cocaine love. Any group of friends can easily come together, give themselves a name and make music it’s very easy to be a carbon copy of Odd Future or Boyz‘n Bucks. Something that only seeks to be about themselves, push their own visions. It is another thing entirely when you come together and see the music as an avenue of bringing change that you would want to see. Wanting to shift a culture by being bigger than the name, the printed shirts. It’s a lot harder to be dapper gang because of the pressure they put on themselves, to have the impact they feel should be reflected in the society we are in.
- So when dapper gang and why did it start?
Is was started to be a movement, which was started when we made music. The record label only officially started in 2015 that was to make it formal. Before that it was beyond the music.
- Who is in the record label?
Parley, Ben Rasco and Frank casino.
- With the name do you feel you any pressure attached in presenting yourself as Dapper?
“Pressure we deal with is what we put into ourselves. Comes from the vision, not what we are. What we want to be. Yes we are very well dressed, elegant, and opulent. Not about what we were, more how we saw ourselves. Thus making the vision absolute.”
- What is the purpose of the music with the music?
As Dapper Gang: Offer a home to the listeners of that nature. Feel as if they belong to what we created. Those who are feeling oppressed by the status quo come to us. To feel free is to be Dapper Gang. An escape from variety.
Parley : Music to console music, save myself from how I feel. “If anyone can get saved from what I do, then I’m content. That is fulfillment, what frees me follows through with the music. A Divine word if you want.
Rasco : Simple, reach out to the people. People need to listen, from there it’s up to them.
Frank : The purpose of the music is to grow, musically and as a person. Inspire, teach, learn, get in touch with your different inner emotions and gain wisdom through the sounds and content.
- Where do you see Dapper in 5 years? Will you stop if you make it or not?
Parley : Many people behind the movement going forward, a way of lifestyle. With no point of acting as if you are Parley/Frank. More about being whom you are, not limiting to but for the South African youth.
Forrest : Together, the brotherhood intact and in full bloom as we’re going to be better versions of ourselves thus translating to a better opinion to everything pertaining to the culture. Also reaching out more and being out there to be reached easily as well with regards to working with other like-minded individuals and groups. Vehemently pushing boundaries for the culture locally and internationally.
Frank : I see Dapper Gang Records being influential in many ways beyond the music itself. I see it playing a key role on the creative dynamics and business spectrum that will help improve the lives of others and views of arts and entertainment. I see it inspiring many others from all walks of life and different parts of the world that chasing dreams, consistency and hard work can’t take you anywhere you’d like to go. I see it as the backbone and pillar of the culture in South Africa, Africa and everywhere else in the world in 5 years’ time.
- What do you influence to the non-musicians bring
Havoc : I help people bring their ideas to life and help them to keep creating product/content. Through curation, availing resources, advice and even personal experience I help people self-actualize. We are often held back not by the lack of skill or talent but because we don’t believe in ourselves and to make matters worse, we get doors slammed in our faces. I help people get past that so they can be able to keep going.
Forrest : Sourcing and sharing of international trends as well be it with regards to clothing, visuals (video and stills) and new up and coming artists, local like-minded individuals as well. So quite a bit of research and ultimately our combined plight as the dapper gang provides subject matter for the raps be it our accomplishments, errors and everything in between
Nobody is saying wake up tomorrow and announce yourself as dapper gang, yet nobody is saying don’t. If anything it is “Great option to follow”. I myself personally am a member of Dapper Gang, started today.
By: Thube Nkutha