DALUVUYO NKUMBULO MAPUZI
Tshepang Rihlampfu is a UP student who performs under the stage name Roman Figga. He delivers melodic and rhythmic flows on energetic instrumentals to give the listener a burst of vitality each time one of his songs play. As an editorial member of PDBY, we have direct insight into Roman Figga and his music writing process. You can also watch his live interview on PDBYlive.
Please introduce yourself. Who is Tshepang?
Tshepang is a young, God-fearing, and ambitious kid born and raised in Pretoria, who is currently studying towards completing his degree in BSc GeoInformatics at the University of Pretoria. He is also the Multimedia Editor at PDBY Media, the official University of Pretoria student newspaper, while also being the Deputy Head of Marketing and Communications for the JuniorTukkie Student Ambassadors Society (JTSAS).
“Tshepang Rihlampfu is a UP student who performs under the stage name Roman Figga.“
How is Tshepang different from Roman Figga?
The only difference between Tshepang and Roman Figga is that Roman gets 200 times more ecstatic on the stage, in the studio, and when around people. Both Tshepang and Roman are very vibrant and lively, with Roman Figga being the musical persona and Tshepang being the poetic persona.
Take us through the process of how you curate a song, from inception to release.
Well, my music making process is a bit unorthodox because I usually get into my element while I’m in the restroom, where I’ve written most of my songs. The making of a song usually starts with ctrlH, DayLow or Kxvin sending me a beat then, depending on whether I feel the beat or not, I mumble through the beat to catch its drift and get to structure the flow and the spacing of the verses and the hooks, and then after that we hit the studio. I have this formula that I call the FIGGACODE which I use when I make my songs, wherein I basically encrypt my songs with very deep messages in a very metaphorical way and still keep them catchy and vibey for the listeners to have fun and dance to. Once the songs are done and ready, I meet up with my creative team where we listen to the songs and then brainstorm ways we [are] going to market and promote the songs. Another thing that we keep in mind is the release date because we don’t want to release during the same week or month as other artists so that we get all the attention to our craft.
10 months ago, you released a full-length project titled I’m That Figga. How was your personal experience with that milestone?
I’m That Figga was a major milestone because it marked the beginning of the working relationship and friendship between Kxvin, DayLow, ctrlH, and Obie Swaden, and we’ve been working together till this day and have some major fire collaborations coming soon on my upcoming project. The name is still classified at the moment, but what I can say is that it’s a wonderful movie vibe type of a project.
“The only difference between Tshepang and Roman Figga is that Roman gets 200 times more ecstatic on the stage, in the studio, and when around people.“
Take us through the ideas and feelings you wanted to communicate in the project (I’m That Figga).
The whole concept and message behind the project was basically to mark the start of my journey in the industry and to introduce myself properly so that people know who Roman Figga is because I stand out from your typical rapper stereotypes by experimenting with different sounds and styles, constantly putting me out of my comfort zone.
Which three of your existing songs would you recommend to a new listener?
I don’t really have specific songs that I could recommend because I [make] music which people can relate to differently based on how they feel or their mindset. So I’d tell the listener to listen to the whole tape and catch their own vibe from it as the whole project is a story and each track resonates with each other so nicely – with “Grind” and “I Don’t Know” being the fan favourites till this day. “Grind” is literally a story about a very lit night that most of us have really been through. [It’s a] song you’d listen to in the early mornings as the sun rises thinking about how crazy last night was. That’s “Grind” for you. “I Don’t Know” is more like a phase change type of a song where one’s life and public perspective changes for the better with [the] sudden gain of publicity and a constant streak of winning begins.
Your Good Vibes Teaser music video includes visuals of you performing on a few stages. Take us behind the scenes of the footage.
Firstly I’d like to thank and make a shoutout to Clexyt Graphyx for the amazing visuals they’ve been capturing for me, and also all the fans and friends that have been capturing all those great moments when I get lit on the stage. The footage on the video is a compilation of visuals from three major events that took place last year, with shots from when I was honoured to be the main act at Tuks Ekhaya’s house dinner by their House State President. Some shots were from [the most] iconic stage and festival that I’ve ever performed at in my life, which was the Humanities Faculty’s Mokete wa Humanities Art Festival at the Aula, and lastly the other shots are from when I got an invite to perform at a private festival in KZN, which I was so honoured and excited to get invited as one of their five headline acts of the week late last year, around December, which was a massive blast.