The Selebi Phikwe born rapper has just signed a lifetime contract with Gallo Music Records. Gallo has under its wing the likes of Black Mambazo, Stimela, Bongo Muffin and Hugh Masekela.
Bishop has already worked on an EP “Remember me”, a remix of the late Lucky Dube’s famous song.
The move is likely to open doors for more local artists.
The talented Hip Hop artist kicked off his career as a member of Off Army music group but made waves with his solo album ‘Like Father Like Son.’
The Voice Reporter Daniel Chida met with the man who also doubles as a graphic designer and Brand Ambassador for Alcohol Killer in one of his rare visits to the tourism town of Maun.
Q. I didn’t expect to see you here. How are you?
I’m good thank you. I love this place man and I wish I could visit more often.
Q. Would you kindly introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Letlotlo Bishop Marumo, a very humble and friendly guy who was born and raised in Selebi-Phikwe.
I am a professional Graphic Designer, rap artist and businessman.
I am the last born from a loving Christian family of seven siblings.
Q. What was it like growing up in Distance?
Distance is a township, we call it D-Block, growing up there and making it in life is not easy because the place is known for all the social ills, from crime to drugs.
Many young people from Distance have seen the inside of a jail cell and believe they were born to achieve less, they don’t push for anything greater.
Alcohol consumption is high and it is not a surprise to find someone drunk on a Monday morning.
I hate what goes on at D-Block but I love the place and I am proud of it because I believe it gave me everything I needed.
I am the King of D-Block.
Q. Tell us how you became a Hip Hop artist?
Towards finishing my Primary School a friend called 2short played me tapes from the likes of Kriss Kross, Snoop Dogg and other rappers I liked.
After listening to Tupac I then decided to write my own songs and luckily Hip Hop was already known on the streets of Phikwe.
Actually to me, Phikwe is a Hip Hop town.
I looked up to great Hip Hop guys who came before me, the likes of DJ O’Neal, the late Kaizer, and Scape.
Q. Who are your biggest influences?
Firstly 2Pac, then my father who supported me when he found out about my Hip Hop interests.
Q. You were a member of Off Army, tell us about it?
I started the group with the help of my sister and we were the first group from Phikwe to record in a professional studio, with the legendary Skizo and Favi.
Our songs enjoyed a lot of airplay on local radio and when that fame came some members thought they were bigger than the group and decided to go solo.
That was the end of a promising group. Skizo helped us a lot and I remember one day when he told us that one of us wanted to take our tracks for a solo project and it was embarrassing.
Q. You have been solo for some time, how many albums do you have?
Two, The ‘Gotta Have It’ mix tape, and ‘Like father Like Son’ which is a double album with 34 songs.
I was waiting for Gallo or Aftermath to discover me before releasing the double album, luckily Gallo did.
Q. What inspired you to come up with the ‘Like Father like Son’ album?
I was inspired by my father; I also wanted it to be a tribute to him because he played a major role in my music career.
Q. You have made a major breakthrough by signing with Gallo Records, can you tell us about it?
It looks really great; we are going to rock the world.
We communicate on a daily basis and have huge plans for our fans.
We are releasing an EP very soon and details will follow on my Facebook pages.
Well a friend of mine (Dj Bino) produced a beat sampling the Legendary Lucky Dube’s ‘Remember Me’ song, which is owned by Gallo Record Company.
He had me in mind when he made the beat and when I heard it I was blown away.
I wrote and recorded it in three hours.
Gallo heard the final song, and they loved it very much and offered me this deal.
A couple of people came here and the deal was signed.
Richard Siluma (Lucky Dube’s cousin) who is the producer of the song also played a big part in me signing.
I am about to go to Johannesburg to meet the whole team in the coming weeks.
Q. How do you feel about that?
Hehehe, to tell you the truth, I still don’t believe it, even after signing the contract, I couldn’t believe it.
Q. What are you going to benefit from the deal?
A lot bro, to me it is not about the money but the opportunities that come with it.
I am concerned about building the Bishop brand and making sure it is a sustainable business for a lifetime.
It is also good for Botswana and some artists will benefit from it as it will open doors for them too.
Q. How long is the contract?
We did two contracts, the first contract has a lifetime duration (they will be paying me for the rest of my life and when I die, they will continue to pay me for another 50 years, so my daughter is covered).
The other contract runs for five years and can be extended if we are both happy about the relationship we have.
Q. We haven’t seen any of our Hip Hop heads penetrating the market and making a living out of it like in South Africa and Nigeria, what could be the stumbling block?
Fame and chasing girls.
A lot of Batswana artists are super talented with zero business minds. You also have to work extra hard, most rappers think they do, but to me and according to my standards, they don’t do anything at all.
Q. What projects are you involved in apart from music?
I am a professional graphic designer, looking at opening a big company and employing designers as dope as I am.
I also own GUeRRiLLa PUFF Clothing label and have big partners who shares the same dream.
Q. How is the clothing label doing?
We planned two stages, the first of which went very well. We wanted to just create awareness and make sure people love it, and also to have a clue on how they love it, so far we have spent close to P150 000 without the help of any bank or government.
We are so serious that we were not looking for profits at that stage.
We are approaching the second stage, which is to flood the streets with GUeRRiLLa PUFF merchandise.
It’s going to be a success too and we are almost there.
Q. Why Guerrilla Puff?
GUeRRiLLa PUFF represents Dominance, Strength and Pride.
Q. Music, Graphic Design and clothing label which one pays more?
The clothing label makes more money looking at that a T-Shirt is more expensive than a CD, and then followed by Music and graphic design.
Q. Apart from Alcohol Killer adverts, what else do you do?
I am the official face ambassador for Alcohol Killer Botswana. You are about to see my face whenever you see alcohol killer.
I branded last year’s Airport Junction Motor Show, everything from business cards to billboards for the event.
I also work for a certain advertising agency that does a lot of graphics for various companies, through them I did a lot of Choppies stuff, from newspaper adverts to packaging, I did the new Choppies Olive Oil, some of Choppies Fried Chicken (CFC) branding, some of Gaborone 2014 Games Choppies branding, upcoming Choppies magazine, I actually love Choppies so much that I want to talk to them and rebrand all their products so that we beat shops such as Spar, Pick n Pay, Shoppers etc., I have the power and skills to do that.
I also did billboards for Mont Catering & Refrigeration. Liquoarama is releasing its own wine very soon, I designed the package.
Q. I cannot let you go without talking about Hip Hop and drugs, the two are inseparable, why?
I don’t really know but I think it comes with the pressure of being busy all the time, big Hip Hop artists don’t sleep; they use drugs to keep going.
Q. What is your advice to young people looking up to you on the issue of drugs?
Please stay away from drugs, if you have not started, don’t start, they will destroy you.
Q. Thank God its Friday. What’s up for the weekend?
I think I will just relax and have fun.
Name (s): Letlotlo Bishop Marumo
D. O. B: 19.02.1984
P.O.B: Selibi- Phikwe
Marital Status: In a relationship
F/Drink: Alcohol Killer
F/food: Anything with beef