Edward Ramolula could have been a pilot but his height didn’t play in his favour; blood and guts weren’t his cup of tea either so becoming a paramedic went out of the window as well. After qualifying as an Agricultural Scientist, it wasn’t the farm he heard calling his name but strangely enough the music studio. The Bloem City based producer has gone on to produce hits for Cashtime Life, L-Tido, Yanga, Psyfo, Anatii and IFani to name but a few and you can bet he’s not missing the farm. I caught up with Edward “Airdee” Ramolula to find out what makes him tick.
From aspiring to be a pilot to a paramedic to an Agricultural Scientist and finally music production, how did that happen? I've always loved music because I grew up in a very musical house. I take after my grandmother who was a music fanatic. I guess I always knew I’d end up in the industry I just didn’t know when or how.
Tweezy has “Ayobuuur”, Asid has “Asid on the beat h*e”, how do we identify an Airdee production?
A: Besides the beat tag, my style of beats has always been different because the majority use Fruity Loops while I use Reason so our songs differ. My first tag, which I’ve been using since 2010, is "Mna ndiyayi ithandi imali" (Xhosa for “I love money”) which is the voice of a 3 year old. My other tag is "AirDee's metronome".
You’ve produced a number of bangers for Cashtime, how did that relationship come about?
A: I used to randomly send beats to any musicians in the industry a few years ago. Psyfo of Sid Records liked one of my beats, got in touch and requested more. Through him I managed to work with the likes of Nadia Nakai, DotCom , DJ Capital and Kid X.
In 2014 he got L-tido , Kid X and Yanga to record verses on it. Somehow DJ Vigi heard it, loved it, bought it from Psyfo and so “Sorry Makhe” was born. It was a total smash and that's actually how I got my publishing deal with CashTime.
Is there anyone you’ve previously worked with, you hope you never work with again?
A: Not going say much on this but yes there are. They got greedy with the royalty splits. Other than that person everyone has different ideas and energies which bring out the best in me.
You’re based in Bloem. Describe the Bloem hip hop scene?
A: I feel like Bloem Hip Hop is now at a level where they can nationally compete with other hip hop acts. The quality of joints coming out of Bloem are way better than what they used to be. It shows that cats out there are really beginning to invest in their craft. All they need now is our support.
You’re from Bloem, you’ve seen a number of hip hop acts come out who do you think has the potential to break out nationally? Like how Prince Kaybee came out of nowhere and took over the house scene.
A: I can't really bet on anyone because all I've been hearing lately is quality. Cats are really working hard out there and I respect that. This is music; anything can happen and any one of them can blow up any day. I pray that day comes.
Your opinion on the females in the game…
A: Female rappers have more chances of blowing up than male rappers and here are my reasons for that:
• The competition is not as hectic as in the male stream.
• It's sexy for female rappers to take on male rappers. They get more respect.
• Female rappers are easy to work with in studio. They mostly have less egos.
What should playing 90% local music mean to musicians?
It should mean more quality music on our radio stations and more exposure for to the young talent out there.
Right now you’re known as one of Cashtime’s producers but you don’t just produce for them, which other hits have the AirDee touched?
Ifani – “Milli”
• Notshi – “We Don’t Care” and “Dronka”
• Anatii – “Everything on me”
• DJ Capital ft Psyfo and Kid X – “Imma Tell Her”
AirDee ft The Fraternity, K2 and DJ Junior De Rocka – “Akuna Mathata”
• 2Nyce aka MoneyNyce – “Wildin’ Out”
• Sasa Klass - “Mma Mongwato” (Botswana)
• Exe x Chad Da Don x AB Crazy – “All On Me”
• K2 – “Das True”
• Dru ft Kwesta – “Madibas”
• Naycha – “Izinja”
You’ve tried your hand at releasing your own music with the release of “Akuna Mathata”, what was the response and will you be dropping anything soon?
A: Lol that wasn't trying. I dropped Akuna Mathata strictly for my fans as a token of appreciation for their support. I hadn't dropped anything for months in 2015 and dropping my own single was my way of letting my fans that I'm still alive.
The love has been insane, the song topped the charts for a few weeks at a few radio stations in South Africa. It also surpassed the 10K mark in five days as far as downloads are concerned. Shout out to everyone that I worked with on the single, The Fraternity , DJ Junior De Rocka and K2.
What are you currently working on and when can we expect to hear it?
A: I currently have my hands on a lot of stuff but to mention a few:
I have just recently worked on MaE's album Township Counsellor, along side K.O with a record titled “Blame Nobody”.
I'm currently working with Maggz, Vigi, Capital , Sasa Klass , The Fraternity, Exe(DCM), Exe(global), Audio Piff, Deexclusive (You'll hear about him soon) and hopefully more will hit me up. I have also collaborated with other S.A producers such as Zoocci Coke Dope, Taylor beats, Kamdelacram, Psyko , LAE, Finesse on projects which will be dropping soon.
The track you’ve produced that you just know you murdered?
A: My own single “Akuna Mathata” and K2's “Das True”.
The one track that makes you cringe when you hear it?
A: Lmao! I wouldn't say cringe but to answer your question, they say you're only as good as your last beat. So I'm always aiming higher than what I've dropped in the past and therefore I'll never be satisfied with whatever I drop.
Top 3 producers
Either than myself…
• J Cole
Top 3 hip hop artists
• J Cole
Top 3 songs on your playlist
• Nipsey Hussle – “Stay Loyal”\
• Kid X- “Imadlana Yok'gcina”
• Rich the kid – “Buy You Diamonds”
3 acts you’d die to work with
• Audio Push
• Raz Simone
3 tips for aspirant producers
• Be yourself and have your own sound.
• Don't take people's opinions regarding your work personal.
• Always smile. Positive vibes attract positive people.