I first came across Smiso Zwane otherwise known as OKMALUMKOOLKAT at G-Star Raw nights last year, where he was performing. I had heard of him before but had not heard his music or seen him live. He opened his set by performing a rendition of Amantombazane, (a Ricky Rick track that he featured on). I was moved by his energy and his ability to mix Zulu and English in his rap songs “ I don’t buy sneakers, ngiyawalobola”
Before he was Future Mfana, Smiso Zwane was a young boy living in Umlazi, Durban. He says, “Growing up I had always loved music, but I never thought I could make it in the industry.” After graduating from college with a degree in graphic design , he moved to the City of Gold ,Johannesburg in 2006. There he met Dr SpiZee , together they became Dirty Parrafin in 2009. “ When I met Dr SpiZee, I met someone who was on the same wave length and we both wanted to change the industry, introduce a new sound.”
He and Dr SpiZee lived together, making music every chance they got. It was a critical time during which he learned more about the industry and started to build what would become OKMALUMKOOLKAT. The house he shared with Dr SpiZee was robbed and both were forced to find jobs. KOOLKAT used his graphic design skills to create layouts for Brands and Companies.
OKMALUMKOOLKAT became commercially known when he featured on Cassper Nyovest’s 2013 track Gusheshe which became a hit. “ I never knew that song would be as huge as it was, people started using my lyrics in their lingo.”
That same year he featured on another hit track, Amantobazane, with his Boyz ‘n Bucks mate Ricky Rick. With people hungry for his energy and music, he featured on more tracks and started to perform on bigger stages around the country. This led to him being signed by Austrian label Affine Records where his released his first EP Holy Oxygen
Through his music, Koolkat mixes Kwaito, Electronic and his Zulu culture. “Most people don’t want to cross-pollinate different cultures and I wanted to show them that they can and that they can do it well.”
Koolkat is also known for his electetic style, mixing Zulu culture and progressive Euopean style. Some of his favourite brands are Nike, G-Star and Supreme. Through his music and style, OKMALUMKOOLKAT has been able to influence a new generation of creatives and South African street culture. Koolkat has broken many rules in the hip hop and electronic zone, taking his roots and showcasing them on a global stage. From the streets of Braamfontein to the streets of Berlin, fans are screaming for Future Mfana.
Shot by : Alessio La Ruffa
Producer : Hakim Malema
Style Director : Thina Fonya
Creative Director : Siya Beyile