Emile YX?

Emile YX? is often considered to be one of the pioneers or godfathers of South African hip hop and is a founder member of the legendary South African hip hop group Black Noise. He is best known for developmental work and community outreach projects like the Heal the Hood Project and hosting events like African Hip Hop Indaba, Battle of the Year, Shut Up Just Dance, African Battle Cry, Cape Flats Uprising, Surf Day, Up The Rock and Freestyle Session.

Emile YX? is also known for his work on eTV’s reality series “Step Up or Step Out”, and has helped to raise money for 203 young people to travel to and perform at international events globally. He has recorded and released 12 albums with Black Noise, 8 solo Emile YX? Albums, 1 Afrikaaps soundtrack, 9 compilation albums, 7 Heal the Hood compilation albums and helped 6 local artists release their solo albums as well. Emile started South Africa’s first hip hop magazine Da Juice and has authored 3 books. In addition, Emile helped graffiti artists Falko and Mak1 to release their own magazines and 2 compilations of Rhymes, Articles, Poetry, Short Stories and Sketches R.A.P.S.S. 

Emile has toured and taught Hip Hop and anti-racism workshops in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, England, Italy, USA, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Australia, India, Brazil and Korea.

Emile YX? is often considered to be one of the Pioneers or Godfathers of South African Hip Hop and is a founder member of the legendary South African Hip Hop Group, Black Noise. He is best known for developmental work and community outreach projects like the Heal the Hood Project 

(www.healthehood.org.za) and hosting events like African Hip Hop Indaba, Battle of the Year, Shut Up Just Dance, African Battle Cry, Cape Flats 
Uprising, Surf Day, Up The Rock and Freestyle Session. Emile YX? is also known for his work on eTVs reality TV series called “Step Up or Step Out”, but he has helped to raised money for and sent 203 young people to travel to and perform at international events globally. He has recorded and released 12 albums with Black Noise, 8 solo Emile YX? Albums, 1 Afrikaaps soundtrack, 9 compilation albums, 7 Heal the Hood compilation albums and helped 6 local artists release their solo albums. Emile started South Africa’s first Hip Hop magazine “Da Juice” and wrote 3 books. He also helped graffiti artists Falko and Mak1 to release their own magazines and 2 compilations of Rhymes, Articles, Poetry, Short Stories and Sketches R.A.P.S.S. He also created 4 plays. Emile has thus far helped to raise money and send 189 youth artists to international events, toured and taught Hip Hop and anti-racism in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, England, Italy, USA, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Australia, India, Brazil and Korea. Read Emile YX biography here
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Achievements

His achievements are too many to list, so we decided to list them by year below:

1982: 

  • Starts breakdancing with Pop Glide Crew

1988: 

  • Makes it to the regional finals of the Shell Road to Fame with The Chill Convention, who later that year become the legendary South African Hip Hop Group, Black Noise 
  • Qualifies as a school teacher and taught at Battswood Primary

1989: 

  • Black Noise win the Mayor’s Award for “Greening the City” rhyme

1990: 

  • Black Noise win “Most Promising New Artists” in super-curl contest and end up performing with Yvonne Chaka Chaka

1991: 

  • Emile and Black Noise self-fund a tour to JHB to explore their own record deal and perform with Brenda Fassie & Marc Alex, then tour to Johannesburg

1992: 

  • Emile and Black Noise sign a record deal with Tusk Records & release Black Noise’s 1st album, Pumpin’ Loose Da Juice

1993: 

  • Emile decides to leave formal teaching & teach through hip hop, launching South Africa’s first hip hop magazine, Da Juice
  • Black Noise release 2nd Album as on cassette called Rebirth, their first self-funded album 
  • Black Noise’s song “Dance in the Party” is selected for Monster Hits Compilation 2
  • Black Noise’s song “A Day After” reaches No.1 on Radio Metro Top 10 
  • Black Noise perform with 2Unlimited and Duran Duran

1994: 

  • Black Noise help with Voters’ Education before South Africa’s first democratic election campaign
  •   “Do For Self” concerts and concept is born
  • Emile performs at the Cape Town inauguration of Nelson Mandela
  • Emile attends Universal Zulu (Hip Hop) Nation Anniversary in New York City 
  • Emile & Black Noise perform with Shabba Ranks
  • Emile releases Black Noise 3rd Album, Black Facts in St Louis, Missouri 

1995: 

  • Emile & Black Noise were part of a movie about youth globally called Juvenis and performed in Sweden for the UN 50th Anniversary
  • Black Noise release 2nd album on CD entitled Rebirth

1996: 

  • Emile creates 30-day Holiday program, African Battle Cry that still runs in December every year 
  • Black Noise release 4th album Questions, on cassette 

1997: 

  • Emile and Black Noise Team win 3rd place at World Breakdance Championships in Germany
  • Emile tours South Africa with Senegalese rap group Positive Black Soul

as part of Robben Island artist in a residence program 

  • Emile, Black Noise and Mike-T-Frank create a song about the race issues between so-called coloreds & so-called Blacks called Nobody Knows
  • Emile launches African Battle Cry to teach hip hop in South Africa 
  • Black Noise tour Namibia and Belgium

1998: 

  • Emile creates an NPO called Heal the Hood Project and tours South Africa, teaching hip hop
  • Emile brings Brazilian martial arts ABADA Capoeira to South Africa, which is now run by Angolan Belesa who teaches in and around Cape Town
  • Black Noise release 5th Album, Hip Hop Won’t Stop
  • Black Noise Tour Sweden and Germany, performing with Manu Dibangu

1999: 

  •   Emile hosts South Africa’s first national breakdancing championships and tours nationally to promote hip hop

2000: 

  • Emile creates an annual hip hop event called African Hip Hop Indaba
  • Emile is part of the South African Team that wins 4th at the World Breakdance Championships
  • Black Noise release 6th album, Circles of Fire

2001:

  • Emile represents South Africa at NJPAC in the USA and is invited to be on a panel about international hip hop at Harvard
  • Emile wins the Blunt Skate Magazine’s Activist of the Year 
  • Black Noise become one of the first 8 groups to get funded by MMINO 
  • Emile helps other artist get recorded at the African Hip Hop Indaba and releases CDs for Plain Madnizz, Isaac Mutant, Lionz of Zion, Conquering Lions, Jamayka Poston and Ancient Men

2002: 

  • Emile helps Black Noise sign a deal in Sweden and release their 7th album, Rotational High with Integral Music AB
  • Black Noise tour Sweden and establish “Heal the Hood Sweden” with Jenny Berg
  • Black Noise perform at Black August with Black Thought, Talib Kweli, and Dead Prez

2003: 

  • Emile releases his first solo album, Who Am I? and publishes his second book, My Hip Hop is African and Proud 
  • Emile performs at Alsang Pa Skansen, on Swedish national live TV 

2004: 

  • Emile releases South Africa’s first hip hop DVD 
  • Black Noise release 8th album, Jam Sessions
  • Emile tours Sweden, Holland, Norway and releases a hip hop how-to DVD with Black Noise
  • Emile & Black Noise perform at the ANC election campaign

2005:

  • Emile creates and releases South Africa’s 2nd hip hop DVD and once again tours Norway and Sweden
  • Emile creates a book called R.A.P.S.S. which stands for Rhymes Articles, Poetry, Short Stories and Sketches that gives a voice to young people’s stories from the Cape Flats communities.

2006: 

  • Emile presents at the UCT International Confluences Dance Conference.

2007 

  • Emile again speaks about international hip hop at Harvard University and is asked to judge at the World Finals of Red Bull BC1
  • Emile tours schools as part of an anti-drug campaign in the Cape Flats
  •   Emile releases 2nd solo album, ROAR – Live it Loud and wins Community Builder Award
  • Emile tours in Norway, Italy and England

2008:

  •   Black Noise release their 10th album, Best of Black Noise, Vol.#1
  • Emile helps young break dancers travel be a part of “Afrika! Afrika!”, a travelling creative platform that toured Europe for 4 years

2009:

  • Emile writes a breakdance syllabus called B-Boy Grade 1 and teaches more than 100 youths for free

2010:

  • Emile helps create Afrikaaps, a musical play about the untold Black history of the Afrikaans language which went on to win numerous local and international awards 
  • A documentary, based on the play, wins Best Production, nomination for Best new Afrikaans Production at the Kanna KKNK Nominations
  • The documentary wins the Encounters Film Festival  Cape Town 2010 Audience Award and runner-up for Best South African Documentary
  • Emile is asked to represent South in World Cup song and tours the United States
  • Emile assists in the creation of a documentary about the work done by Heal the Hood called From B-boys to Being Men, which is screened in Austria, USA and Sweden
  • Emile is a part of a documentary about artist activists in South Africa called Creators and helps to release Black Noise’s 11th album, Stone Garden Soldiers
  • Emile releases his 3rd solo album called Conscious Rhymes for Unconscious Times and wins the Western Cape Arts & Culture Award for his contribution to literary arts 

2011: 

  • Emile is selected from a national audition as a judge for a reality TV show on eTV called Step up or Step Out
  •   Emile runs for Ward Councillor in Grassy Park
  • Heal the Hood is Awarded by Words Beats and Life with the award for Hip Hop Organisation of the Year
  •   Emile tours the play Afrikaaps for a month in Amsterdam
  • A student from Heal the Hood has a syllabus chosen to create a similar project for regional government and teachies in schools throughout Western Cape while creating jobs for other youth as well at various schools
  • Emile and Afrikaaps win at the Kyknet Fiesta Awards for Best Upcoming Artist & Professional Debut and Best Musically Driven Production
  • Afrikaaps director Dylan Valley is nominated as Best Director at 6th annual SAFTA (South African Film & Television) Awards as well as the Fleur du Cap Awards, getting nominated for Best New South African Script
  • Afrikaaps won an award from Keuze van de WijkJury Amsterdam and at the Babel Film Festival in Sardinia, Italy 2011 for Best Film. Afrikaaps also wins at the CWFF (Cape Winelands Film Festival) Awards for Best New South African Documentary
  • Emile releases an album with Afrikaaps as a soundtrack to the play

2012: 

  • Emile creates South Africa’s first hip hop dance production called Mixing it Up and showcases 16 dancers in Cape Town and Johannesburg
  • Emile is selected to judge for the 2nd season of eTVs Step Up or Step Out
  • Youth that Emile taught from Lavender Hill are now paid by Heal the Hood to teach workshops after school hours for free to marginalized youth
  • Emile creates a group with Lavender Hill youth called Mixed Mense and he releases his 4th solo album, Born & Bred on the Cape Flats

2013:

  • Emile releases his 5th album with artist Mixed Mense
  • Emile is again selected as a judge for the 3rd season of eTV’s Step Up or Step Out
  • Emile creates his second hip hop play called BREAK and showcases it at Artscape
  • Emile is nominated for Hip Hop Pioneer of the Year, and international award
  • Emile performs with Mixed Mense at Darling Voorkamerfest and they assist Natural Justice with creating a Theater of the Oppressed drama piece to perform to the Bushman community and get to perform at the grave-side of Oom Dawid Kruiper while in the Kalahari 
  • Emile’s track “The Rhythm” is selected for Battle of the Year 2013 soundtrack

2014:

  • Emile creates roundtable discussions to increase the network of NGO’s in the Western Cape working with youth and is also invited to create a song at !Khwattu for Infecting the City. 
  • Emile organizes for Black Noise to perform in the United States at The Kennedy Center as part of the One Mic Global Hip Hop Festival, where he both performs and speaks on a panel about community activism 
  • Emile also performs and speaks on panels at Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Connecticut. 
  • Emile travels to Stanford University to speak about Princess Vlei, as well as the effect Knowledge of Self has had on his life, work and interactions with Hip Hop and its community
  • Afrikaaps is hosted at Artscape and Emile records “Set Your Goals Up High” for Mxit and Marikana Massacre 
  • Emile initiates the 1st Annual Heal the Hood Hip Hop Lectures at UWC, as part of African Hip Hop Indaba and is awarded an Iconic Urban Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement and then an honorary award from the South African Hip Hop Awards in Johannesburg

2015:

  • Emile releases his 6th solo album, Take Our Power Back with the artist Bozza and  creates the Cape Flats Film Festival and South Africa Hip Hop Film Festival, as well as the Cape Flats Performing Arts Conference, and Cape Flats Photographic Exhibition and Cell Phone Picture Competition 
  • Emile tours schools to do a confidence building talk around Afrikaaps and Boesman Heritage and is made the face of the 2015 Moshito Music Industry Expo, where he is honored with an award for his contribution to Hip Hop in South Africa
  • Emile creates a guerilla-style music video production course where he initiates Tanne Trots and is employed by CLASI (Constitutional Literacy And Service Initiative)

2016:

  • Emile records and releases a song called “Heartbeat” while also creating his first music video
  • Emile creates garage play called Stompie and secures funding for Heal The Hood Project for 4 more years, while assisting Heal The Hood to expand Positive Poster Week, which was rolled out into 8 South African schools
  • Emile contributes to a documentary called Break Like You, screened at the first NYC Hip Hop Film Festival and hosts the Cape Flats Film Festival over 3 weeks
  • Emile wins the Mandela Monday Award in May and wins the LeadSA National Award in August, being selected for South African hero for eTV. Emile also wins an Award at The South African Hip Hop Awards for King Of Western Province
  •  Emile also releases his 7th and 8th Albums called Demockery and From B-boys To Being Men, and hosts 1000 activists tour of schools with artist YoungstaCpt.

2017:

  • Emile creates So-called Coloured/ Mixed Heritage Appreciation Group and events and  helps Heal The Hood to expand to the Limpopo Province. 
  • Emile releases his 9th Solo Albums called Songs & Stories for my Son, and follows up by releasing 4 books from the album; In the Beginning of Time, Fire the dancer, Story of the Wind, and Princess Vlei
  • Emile participates at the 5th Element Talk at Stanford University, as well as at With Different Eyes Conference at UCLA

2018:

  • Emile talks at Trinity International Festival while assisting Klein Fortuin with his Rock The Mic opportunity to represent at the festival and helps launch Mixed Mense’s 2nd album Kaapse Katte
  • Emile releases his 10th, 11th & 12th solo Albums called Afrocentric, Songs & Stories for my Daughter, and Kaapse Katte

2019:

  • Emile releases 6 more books: The Lioness, the Big Water Snake, The Girl that Made the Milky Way, Sally The Salmon, Saartjie Baartman and Why Do Turtles Cry. He then co-edits the book Neva Again with UCT, UWC & UCLA professors via HRSC Press
  • Emile performs at Back To The City, then again with Mixed Mense at Voorkamerfest before touring Sweden with Heal the Hood. 
  • Emile wins his third South African hip hop award called Ubuntu Activism Award and is inducted into the South African Hip Hop Museum Wall of Fame.

Emile YX performs with Robbie Jansen, Hilton Schilder, Prophets of Da City, Manu Dibungo, Salif Keita, Baba Maal, Brenda Fassie, Shabba Ranks, Dr Alban, Duran Duran, 2Unlimited, Snoop Doggy Dog, Pharrel, Joe, Shaggy, Mario, Arrested Development, HHP, Kurt Darren, Steve Hoffmeyer, Black Thought of the Roots, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Kyle Sheperd, Jitsvinger, Shane Cooper, Vicky Sampson, Jennifer Jones, Zane Adams, The Boyz, K’naan, Dr Victor, Freshly Ground, Sons of Selassie and many more

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