He is so much more than a ‘Ben 10’ – How Early B went from making music in his bedroom to millions of views on YouTube

2019-11-29 06:30

Graye Morkel

Early B

Early B (Photo: Gallo)

Cape Town – Since the release of his debut album Aangename Kennis, Port Elizabeth-born rapper Early B, is fast becoming one of the most well-known faces in the Afrikaans music scene. 

With bangers such as Ben 10 and Potte, Early B is topping the charts and breaking streaming records with his clever lyrics and light-hearted flow.

Although the 30-year-old first burst onto the scene with his catchy tune, Leka Djy, the rapper, whose real name is Earl Swartz, says he started making music in grade 12.

For Early B, it was always a dream to make music, since he was a child. “I was always fascinated by artists like Michael Jackson, Eminem, Dr Dre and Notorious BIG.”

He was enthralled watching them perform on TV and seeing the excited reaction from fans. 

After school, he went on to study mechanical engineering, as well as film and television production but continued to record music in his spare time. 

He recalls the moment he first heard his music on-air after a friend submitted it to a local radio station.

He says: “The community radio station had a slot for local artists, and my friend submitted my song. The DJ played it on air and listeners had to vote if it was ‘hot or not.’ I remember my friends calling me, excitedly saying they heard the track on the radio. I was shocked and proud at the same time. It was a great feeling.”

Now, Early B’s music videos garner over 5 million views on YouTube!   

After recording music in his bedroom for more than ten years, Early B, rose to fame when he secured a record deal with Universal Music – and calls the deal the “highlight of his career.”

He adds: “Being able to look after my family while doing what I love.”

Much of his musical success can be attributed to his humorous and relatable lyrics. 

In one of his earliest singles titled Ben 10, Early B tells the twisted story of when his girlfriend moved to Johannesburg without letting him know. When he visits her at home, her mother tries to make moves on him.

On a more serious note, other tracks touch on drug and domestic abuse. 

About his album’s subject matter, he says: “I stay true to who I am in my music, my topics are community-based, and I write about what I have seen and experienced in my community. It’s what makes my music relatable because all of us share the same experiences in our different walks of life.”

Early B, who has bagged two Ghoema Awards, says he wouldn’t call his recent achievements a “wave”, instead he sees his successes as a “blessing from God.” 

“My talents came from above, and I am blessed,” he adds. 

Early B, who will be performing at Cape Town’s Festive Lights Switch-On on 1 December says his favourite Christmas memory is when the whole family would come together at his Grandmother’s house and spend the day together. 

He laughingly adds: “Did I mention that I love food? So Christmas lunch is definitely up there as well!”

This festive season Early B will be performing around the country, sharing good and happy vibes with the masses, as well as spend time back home with his family. 

The Festive Lights Switch-On 2019 is FREE for all. No ticket required.

DATE: Sunday 1 December 2019

VENUE: Grand Parade, Cape Town

TIME: From 16:00