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The Hotspot Cypher focuses on reshaping Lesotho music space


Pheello Mosesi

With the fifth episode of the highly anticipated Hotspot Cypher on the horizon, Newsday sat down with Tšeliso Lethaha Thamae, also known as Matsill, one of the co-founders of the project, to shed light on what fans can expect.

Since its inception in 2019, the Hotspot Cypher has consistently delivered top-notch hip-hop content, showcasing the best talent that Lesotho has to offer.

However, as time has passed, some skeptics have questioned whether the lyrical content has maintained the same level of quality as the visual production.

In response to these concerns, rapper and photographer Matsill, addressed the issue, stating: “Lyrical qualities are subjective, so yes, we are aware of this, but at the end of the day, we cannot please everyone.”

“As tastemakers, we have always dreamt of a certain standard of cyphers and to really pioneer some change, we had to go a different route,” he added.

Matsill emphasised that one of the primary goals of the Hotspot Cypher was to provide a platform for new, talented artists to shine.

“The bigger vision is to introduce new faces to the scene. This is way bigger than bars and punchlines. Not saying they are not the goal, but having a variety of different contributions is way better than lyrical qualities only,” he explained.

Beyond the annual main event of the Hotspot Cypher being the cypher, the team is also promoting sub-initiatives like Basotho Tsoaranang and Afternoon Session with Strictly Lesotho Music, along with hosting open mic events.

“Last year we had a collaboration event in Leribe with Iconics and there is an artist that performed there and still got a platform. This year’s rollout has a lot of content shot to fill in that void and also to create more anticipation for the drop by making sure that by the time the full cypher goes out. You get to fully know who these artists are and what they stand for,” Matsill said.

He also shared insights into an upcoming Jam Session with the Origin Music band scheduled for this April. Regarding the frequency of cypher releases, he explained the meticulous process involved in creating each installment.

He indicated that it was only fitting that fans receive one release of the cypher, given the extensive time required for its production.

He said this process encompasses various stages, including beat production, verse recording, location scouting, and video shooting planning, totaling close to 10 months.

Matsill highlighted that this timeframe excludes activities such as artist profiling and post-production tasks.

When questioned by Newsday about the team’s vision for the Hotspot, Matsill articulated a powerful message centered around unity within the hip-hop community.

“Unity is paramount above all else. While hip-hop has traditionally been seen as a competitive arena, for our industry to truly flourish and generate sustainable income, unity is essential,” he asserted.

He stressed the importance of collaboration and mutual support, stating: “If I come across an opportunity that may not be suitable for me, I should feel empowered to reach out to a fellow artist who is better suited for the task.”

He underscored the team’s commitment to celebrating talent and providing a platform for those who may otherwise go unheard. “We stand for amplifying the voices of individuals who lack visibility and ensuring they can express themselves freely without fear of judgment or criticism,” Matsill said.

As the release date remains undisclosed, anticipation mounts for the fifth episode of the Hotspot Cypher, which boasts three beats produced by Vibeboy Beats, Chopsta Beats, and Paul from the Origin Band.

The vocal talents of artists such as Adren, Mmatséliso Khaitseli ea Koete, Macc Warlet, Jforce Wrld, Kuenane, BiggerThings, The MBA, and Sannere Music will grace this installment.

Notably, the project is proudly sponsored by Sqo Syndicate and Chris Imageworld based at Borokhoaneng in Maseru.

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