MaSuper Star aren't the future of music: they're the present. These superstars are a duo from rural Botswana, composed of Kenny and Soops, who find their music being released in Canada thanks to the internet-driven forces of World Music 2.0. Soops plays a homemade guitar fashioned from a can, while Kenny sings. The roughly sculpted consonance of guitar and vocals is at the heart of each of the four original tracks on this EP. They're enveloped by producer Moemedi's Baltimore-style beats, in which booming drum machines roll heavy with synthetic claps. These are street songs, simply executed and instantly hypnotic. MaSuper Star's themes are universal, though far from the boilerplate topics of peace, love and world unity. Rather, title track "Airtime" is a plea from a long-distance love to send phone credits. Its hook is intoned by a plummy, British-accented voice: "You have no available minutes, please recharge and try again." Everyday problems. Each song may wear a little thin before the end, but a special kuduro remix by DJ Mpula adds some sonic variety while deepening the dance floor experience. Kudos must go to the Masalacism label for making this available; they are changing Canada's relationship with world music.
How did MaSuperStar find you?
Moemedi (of Ruff Riddims Studios): I found MaSuper Star by word of mouth. MaSuper Star met my brother, Basimane Ramogapi, at the BP filling station in Palapye, Botswana; they were singing some of their songs, trying to raise money to catch a bus in the morning to Serowe. My brother listened and was interested in what they where singing about. He then told them about me and the Ruff Riddims Studio and that they should make urgent efforts to contact me. They came to me one day a few weeks later after having met my younger brother. They brought with them a CD that they had recorded as a demo and they also brought their guitar and immediately after having a listen, we decided to start recording.
How do you usually find your artists?
Currently, we identify artists by listening to demo tapes and also those that want to record one or two songs. Some artists are brought [in] as backing artists or as members of a group, but [sometimes] those coming to do the main vocals for the song don't have the right style and talent. [That] is the way we found Skeat and Danny Sir Bass. Skeat was a featured artist with one artist that wanted to use our studio, but Skeat shone more than the other artist. Danny Sir Bass was part of a choir and when he started to sing, we started to realize that there was potential.
Can you describe the instruments and styles MaSuperStar play and who their audience is?
MaSuper Star are a duo; Kenny is backed by Super; and they play the acoustic guitar with three strings. They started with just the acoustic guitar. During recording, we decided to add other elements that would make the music more youthful and played by the younger target audience. Generally, this style of music is for an older audience, but with the mixture of different musical elements, we are trying to reach out to a younger audience.
What kind of sound were you going for with these tracks?
We were looking for an experimental sound with these tracks, but still trying to maintain the authentic MaSuper Star sound. This was achieved by having the acoustic guitar in all the tracks. We were looking for a happy sound that would have the people enjoying themselves.
How do you get your tracks to where people can hear them?
We currently blast music out to all those that are on our mailing list. For instance, to local DJs, radio stations and whoever is interested. This year, we shall be embarking upon getting our artists on MTV Base and Channel O, which will greatly help our artists and label exposure. We are currently trying to raise money for HD video cameras that can produce quality music videos. Some of our releases are available on the internet through stores like iTunes and others.
How did you connect with Masalacism Records?
Masalacism Records and Ruff Riddims met through the blog that belongs to Wayne Marshall [www.wayneandwax.com]; they contacted before there was the MaSuper Star Project. We had just released Skeat and they wanted to get more tracks from Skeat and Tebza, both now available on iTunes. We have been in contact with Masalacism Records for a while and when they got to see the impact that Airtime was doing in their parties and clubs, they approached me for the MaSuper Star release. They are brothers and I hope they will one day come over to Botswana to enjoy the sun and music with us. I hope this is a relationship that will blossom into a lot more. (Masalacism)