X Caliber defies and breaks genre limits

Tefo Nombolo
Monday, 18 January 2016
X Caliber X Caliber

Their wish is to touch Africa with music that is not only fun and joyful but also inspirational, motivational and uplifting. They are a hip hop group called X Caliber but as their leader Patrick Kabamba explains, the group is not your usual run off the mill hip hop group.

It is made up of six members, Kabo Katse aka Mokeresete who is a motswakolista, Thato Jessica Mataboge and Ato Gharley-Tagoe aka Stretch as the lead singers; Boikanyo Malcom Mataboge aka Mr Malcom does the production with Gharley-Tagoe,  Obuile Bodiego aka Obuile and Patrick Kabamba aka Genirol.

In 2011, Kabamba had an idea of mixing his faith and music to bring about music that would uplift the coming generation so he asked people he knew had talent to work with him. However, it was in 2012 during American gospel hip hop artist Lecrae’s concert in Botswana that the individuals performed together as X Caliber. When the opportunity arose to be his curtain raisers, the group jumped at the chance and as they say, the rest is history.

One of the songs the group has released was called ‘testing testing’ in which they were literally testing the market for the type of music they were making. They wanted to see if there were people who would understand it and appreciate their efforts. Afterwards, they released an album entitled ‘the radio service’ which contained a song called Ja monate. It was this song which helped them see that they needed to go back to the drawing boards and define the kind of music they were making.

When they approached local television music show, Flava Dome to perform it there, they were denied the opportunity as they were told that the song was ‘too gospel’ and yet when they approached local gospel television show, Melodi ya kgalaleletso, they were denied the opportunity to be on the show as well.These are some of the challenges they have had to face in their journey in music but they have not deterred them, but instead bolstered their efforts.

Currently they are enjoying the fruits of their labour. Some of their achievements have been an invitation to perform in Cape Town to represent Botswana in an urban music festival. They have submitted their video to South African gospel Channel One gospel and they recently shared the stage with Benjamin Dube.

Locally, they have performed in Francistown, Otse, Thamaga and Moshupa. According to Kabamba, being in the group has birthed a solid friendship among the members, as they are like-minded and have a deep connection because of their similar creative energy.

This year they plan to develop the talents of the members of the group individually, get a lot of their songs on radio and to make their presence on social media felt. They want to use their talents to encourage people and use their own experiences to help the next generation of artists find footing in the music industry.

They will do these through conferences and workshops where they will share some of their own lessons in the music business.

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