Photography by Elsa Bleda
Storm clouds crackle and crease, a punctuated thunder. Lightning strikes my eye; lightning strikes my eye. The emerging myth of man and beast. A falcon-headed figure. Ruler of the heavens, the sun and moon both captured in his gaze. Son of Isis and Osiris, conceptually connected to the multi-faceted threads of reality. An ancient deity. ‘The distant one’ flies high above. Horus takes to the sky with his all-seeing eye.
Sipping on a cool Windhoek draft on a summers eve, Luthando Sithole recounts a personal mythology. His latest artistic incarnation emerged on the streets of LA – a culmination of what had gone before. Horus Tha God has been preceded by the musical duo, Spazashop Boyz and more recently, Jonny Joburg.
Palm trees, performers and soft sand litter the coast of Venice Beach. The site Horus Tha God first appeared. Accompanied by a cohort of other Egyptian deities – including protector of the dead and exotic dancer, Isis. A chance encounter with the spiritual leader of Snapchat solidified the bond between the four god-like allies. It was in this moment that Horus understood his purpose: making music. “I’ve been looking for myself”. This pivotal juncture was a rebirth into the international and global scene.
In August 2014, his project as Jonny Joburg, Mazishe exploded on national radio. It was shot by Grimetown and foreshadowed the trend of 90’s revival. After its release, things, “got too heated in Joburg…that was when I needed to leave”. After hustling enough money for a ticket and without informing his family, he packed up and got the next flight out to Miami for the Revolt Music Conference. His first stop was the notoriously dangerous neighbourhood of Liberty City. The events that transpired thereafter changed his life.
The conference was teaming with both budding new and established artists, peppered with industry heavyweights. After having what most would describe as a panic attack, an instinctive move lead Horus to reach for the mike. Fortunately, music exec Daniel Glass was obliging. After jumping up on stage, he began to perform. “That’s the thing about America, is that before talent, they respect balls”.
With a mere $80 in his pocket a five-day trip stretched beyond several months – only returning to the city of gold earlier this year. In the States, hanging out on Hollywood boulevard with homeless kids and drug dealers underpinned much of his experience. “It was hard, because I didn’t have any money”. While living in Long Beach fifteen-year-old Mexican kids slinging guns in the middle of the day was not an unusual sight. During this time, “I learned a lot about the Bloods and the Crips”.
Navigating drug territory was a daily feat. While living across the road from a meth house even his kicks – Nike Cortez – were constantly read as a gang-related signifier. “There’s no friendship in LA…you’ve gotta show no weakness if you want to survive”. His experience on the streets is the overlaying narrative of his latest SkyGod Mixtape. What he expresses is rooted in real events, “I did that stuff”.
When Horus arrived home in February this year he, “came back as the guy who’d been chilling with P. Diddy.” After somewhat of a creative hiatus and normalizing back into South African society he got back to work at a home studio set-up in the East Rand to record SkyGod. He describes the youth as craving innovation and is ready to push those industry boundaries and address an underlying national tension. “The pie is actually big enough…but we are caged in our minds to believe that it isn’t.”
There are some people he dubs as the “enemies of progression, I’ve been doing battle with them since I touched the mike”. With Horus as the god of war, this seems only fitting that the battle continues. He recognizes the importance of representing not only the country, but also the continent at large on the global stage. He’s committed to the project and will “always bring it back home”. Horus will be releasing the deluxe version of the SkyGod Mixtape, including nine new songs and two remixes of Wavve on itunes at the end of November. The first of which, titled Robbery is streaming exclusively for the very first time below.