#YMZCOVERS: UNCLE PARTYTIME
MADE POSSIBLE BY MILLER GENUINE DRAFT
Interviewed By Thabo & Thabiso Modiselle
Photography By Art Villain
Styled By Wes Thesis & Simba
Make-up By Lindiwe Chabalala
Becoming an influential jock & trailblazer in the Hip-Hop + Street culture.
Born Lindokuhle Mabuda and known to the streets and music scene as Uncle Partytime, he is no stranger when you have to talk about today's Hip-Hop and street culture all due to his evolving and rising influence in the industry.
He stepped on the streets of Johannesburg in 2011 and only a year after that, he had started throwing parties and that resulted in the birth of Onyx rage parties and his way of breaking into the industry and establishing his own fan base.
Today, Uncle Partytime has built a solid name and brand for himself through many deejaying gigs, either it's a Saturday night party at Great Dane or a 30-minute set at House Vans Johannesburg. He is known for his crowd-pleasing sets from playing Qqom jams at KONG (Rosebank) to now pushing the new wave sound with trap jams in most of his sets at parties and music festivals.
MUSIC + STREET CULTURE
As someone who has been there since the early days when Braamfontein was growing to become the most influential spot in town, he has seen it all and had a full view of the now and then street culture.
Uncle Partytime has bagged a number of solid brands and partnerships to add to his name. His appeal and street cred to the entire culture cannot be repudiated because of his unique craft and authenticity. While a lot of young talent is fishing for viral success these days, Uncle Partytime's bubbling journey still remains a well-orchestrated life story and an inspiration to many kids who would like to step in his shoes one day.
The influential jock and trailblazer in the Hip-Hop and Street culture chops it down to share his journey on where it began, his ups and downs, the artists he is influenced by and of course his love for fashion and working with brands.
"I’M STILL STRUGGLING BECAUSE OF CERTAIN GUYS AT THE TOP THAT JUST FEEL THEY NEED TO HOLD PEOPLE BACK".
Tell us about your career, how it began?
UNCLE PARTY TIME: Basically, when I moved back to Johannesburg in 2011 – I met a couple of guys from my area, we used to throw parties in 2012/2013 in the south called ProjectX. I met this guy Gondo, that’s when we founded Onyx Rage Fest, with all of that, music just came naturally. I used to DJ for fun on my dad’s laptop, I had virtual DJ and I was a Deeper Shades of House kind of guy. It got to a point where my homies were like “you’re good at this thing, why don’t you try it out. I tried it out and I played at Onyx” which was our event and from there everything just fell into place.
How did the name ‘Uncle Partytime’ come about?
UNCLE PARTY TIME: While we were doing the Onyx stuff, there was this movement that Hakeem TrashGod started for recycling stuff with William and my name was Uncle Trash. The Uncle part comes from the type of pants I used to wear were oversized and people were like “ahh this guy is an Uncle”, but when I started doing music and started growing musically, I felt that the “trash “part wouldn’t work as a brand. So, the ‘Partytime’ name was inspired by Smiso Zwane – aka Okmalumkoolkat.
Do you remember your first cheque?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: Yes, *laughs* 500 bucks (R500)
Tell us about your big break, when you thought this is it for me, this is one of my best moments?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: I haven’t really had that kind of moment yet, but the biggest highlight for me was the Onyx Rage Fest at Constitutional Hill in 2015. I had never played for so many people in my life and there were about 2000 people wilding out to my set, so yeah, that has to be my best highlight so far.
A lot of DJ’s struggle starting out, what are yours?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: It was so tough because people think this stuff comes easy, that someone can just put you on, but the truth is that you must work hard, you have to go get what you want and that is what I was and am still doing. I used to ask for gigs at Kitchener’s and beg cats to book me at Great Dane. It was so bad because I stayed in North Riding, there was no Uber at that time but when it came I had no money for Uber. I would get paid 400 bucks (R400) or 500 bucks (R500) for a gig and then with that cash, I needed to get home in the AM’s and transport would be too expensive, so I would chill by Father Coffee until the sun came out so I can catch a Taxi home and still have some cheese (money). There was a time when Cedric [Nzaka] found me there and he took me to one of his boys who stayed there in Braam, Kenyan guys, so from there I would gig and go back to their place, which made things slightly easier. There was a point where I thought I’d like to take things further, so I approached clubs the top clubs in Joburg, so I went to KONG and begged Alessio [Bettochi] to book me but he wasn’t having it, but eventually he booked me for thing called ‘Gqom Thursdays’ , I impressed him and from there I started getting more bookings in the club.
Tell us about Braam and how it helped shape your career?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: We used to hang there with my friends and when I played people didn’t really come see me play specifically, but I would do my job and do it very well and that is when people started noticing that this guy is always here and always plays good music. That’s how it popped off, I did what I had to do.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON WHAT MUSIC GENRE YOU WANTED TO PLAY?With Gqom, I still listen to it and I love it, but I felt it was becoming too easy for me and I wanted to challenge myself. So, because I was struggling with Hip-Hop, I decided that perhaps I should do that and try master it, ever since I’ve been doing well with Hip-Hop, I would still do Gqom but I’m loving Hip-Hop for now.
"I’M GOOD WITH EVERYONE, BUT THE ONE GUY WHO THAT’S BEEN GENUINE AND THAT’S HELPED ME IGNITE MY CAREER IS PH"
"I ONLY STARTED BEING PROUD OF MYSELF RECENTLY, THOSE THINGS NEVER PHASED ME BECAUSE I STILL NEED TO WORK HARDER"
The Deejay Culture back then and now, how has it changed for you, do you feel it’s growing and evolving?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: It has grown so much - but that gatekeeper thing is still a big problem, there’s guys that are super talented even more talented than me, but they’re not getting that big break, it doesn’t even make sense. For a guy like me, I’m still struggling because of certain guys at the top that just feel they need to hold people back because they control most of the stuff in the industry.
Do you feel you need to contribute something to the industry and upcoming talent?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: I would really like to, the Backyard thing we are doing with SOLO is one of the ways to help upcoming artists. Backyard is to create a safe space for people like us, where no one will judge you and you listen to what you like and perform or play music that you like. So, we don’t book top DJ’s to come play there… we approach people and they do the same. For example, there are nights where I don’t mind not playing and letting other people play. We are trying to create a space where people can be recognized.
You have managed to play at big events like Ultra, Boiler Room, House of Vans, how does that make you feel?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: I only started being proud of myself recently, those things never phased me because I still need to work harder, for me, I just looked at that thing as it is just a gig, what’s next, what am I going to do next, and that is my attitude currently.
DJ’s and artists share a good relationship - Tell us about those that you share a good relationship with?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: I’m good with everyone, but the one guy who that’s been genuine and that’s helped me ignite my career is PH, he’s the most genuine guy I have met in the industry. And of course, Riky [Rick] has always been there to guide me and the other boys.
There are pressures one comes across in each industry, what are the pressures you’ve gone through?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: It happened so many times and that’s because I started losing track of the main goal coz of everything happening in the music industry.
There’s like guys who are assholes, there was a time where I was booked for GENESIS (All Black) and this one DJ that was a part of that, so I sent them an invoice and I had an agreement with the guys from Until Until, and this guy came to me saying ‘’how dare you charge so much”. I didn’t even charge that much and he told me I was like worth 500 bucks. Its things like that affect me because I have always been so genuine but getting such treatment started affecting me. But right now, I’m just at a point where I don’t’ care.
As someone who is also at the forefront of the street culture, how is fashion important to you?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: Fashion has always played a role in my life; I remember my mom and I would go downtown by the taxi rank at “magashagasha” (thrift) that’s what they used to call it. I have always had a love for clothes and I have been fortunate enough to be in the same space with designers, and I learn more about fashion. The sneaker thing, uSanele [Boyz n Bucks] put me on, I never had a lot of pairs of shoes. I think the first pair I bought myself ever was from a voucher, I bought a pair of EQT’s [adidas] and yho the feeling I got was amazing.
Your thoughts on the Street culture THEN and NOW? What do you feel has changed?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: A lot has changed, back then homies were pushing for Nike gear and like now we see all these brands doing cool stuff, but also, these brands are exploiting people. I was having a conversation with a friend and we were like ‘’at the end of the day as long as we keep working these guys, they must keep throwing sneakers so we cut costs”
I just hope that younger people educate themselves more, so they don’t get used and played.
They [brands] win because they know it is something most younger kids haven’t had before.
Your relationship with sportswear brands like adidas and PUMA – tell us about those?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: adidas was family and then some s***t happened, but fortunately, Hayden [Manuel] was there to support me. But it was not like I was tied to the brand. Right now coz I’m learning about brands, I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to hop from brand to brand, so I’m trying to figure which brand makes more sense for Uncle Partytime.
If you were to put together a project, who are your top 5 artists you would record with?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: PatrickxxLee - Una Rams – Willy Cardiac – The Big Hash – Zoocci Coke Dope
Share some light on your relationship with Una?
UNCLE PARTYTIME: He’s super talented and it hurts that Una is not where he’s supposed to be, I feel he deserves way more. I met him in 2016, uSanele used to have these parties at Kitchener’s and Una got to perform and when he got there, he didn’t have a DJ. So USanele asked me to DJ for him and it was like we’ve known each other for years and from there we became friends.
UNCLE PARTYTIME: There’s a debut single coming up with Una Rams, and in terms with projects, we’ll see.