Behind the LOLs: The Kiffness talks about the meaning behind his viral song about DA leader Mmusi Maimane

No stranger to social media-rooted controversy, The Kiffness (David Scott) came under fire yesterday after he used a gorilla (Harambee) on a R100 note used in his new DA parody video.

Scott was keen to clear up a few misconceptions around the note and the video in general and because I’ve always had a soft spot for his tongue-in-cheek humour, was more than keen to hear what he had to say.

What inspired you to make this song ahead of the elections on Wednesday?

The DA referenced Childish Gambino “This is America” in their one campaign videos, so this is satirical play off that and how they reference American youth culture to pander to young voters. I think they had the right intentions but I wasn’t so sure about the execution. My song was meant to be a joke based on that and it accidentally came out fire. 

Who produced it?

I’m unashamed to say that I found the beat on YouTube. I thought about producing the song myself but I don’t know much about trap and didn’t want to spend too long messing around on the beat while the idea was still fresh in my head. It took me a few minutes to find a free beat on YouTube & an even shorter amount of time to sing the song. I whacked a bunch of auto-tune on my voice and that was that. Amazing how I can spend hours, days and weeks working on a track and the one that was the least effort is the one that blows up. Creativity is a cruel mistress, but she seems to have a sense of humour. 

Tell me a bit more about the music video?

My wife filmed me on my iPhone. We had 3 locations: the road outside our block of flats, Pick ‘n’ Pay down the road, and our kitchen. The video was also relatively painless and straight forward. My wife wasn’t so keen to help, but luckily she’s a good sport. She also has a pretty good eye. I think if she wasn’t studying to become a chef she could be a pretty good DoP. 

Now why does the money you used have a gorilla on it?

It’s not just any gorilla. It’s Harambe, and it’s a prototype for a R100 which I’ve named “One Harambred Rand”. 

Anyone who knows me knows how much I loved Harambe when he was still alive. He was like a brother to me. When I was sad, he would whisper words of encouragement to me. When I was lonely, he’d offer his warmth. So when the sweet prince was slain in 2016 by no fault of his own, it took a great toll on me. I spent a lot of time trying to honour him and remember him in as many ways as possible and I thought what better way to remember the sweet prince than to put him on our national currency. Unfortunately it never moved passed prototype phase, but at least I had some prints left for the music video.  

Anyway, the main point of using the Harambred Rand didn’t really have anything to do with Harambe himself. I wanted to poke fun at the shallow / fake side of rap culture and I thought that using fake money would be a good way to do that.

I drew great inspiration from Cassper Nyovest’s “Tito Mboweni” music video. Unfortunately not everyone got the satire though. 

What’s your response to the backlash the video has received?

When anything gets a lot of attention, I have come to expect some backlash, no matter what the subject is. There’s a saying… “You can be the tastiest peach in the world and there’ll still be people that hate peaches”.

That being said, I am very sorry if you are a person that is hurt by this video. I really am. It was an oversight on my part to not make it clearer from the onset that I was using Harambred Rands in my video, something that only came to my attention in hindsight. I can understand how some people may have thought that I was trying to depict Mandela as a gorilla but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I do believe that I acted swiftly on the matter by my making the information available and that I by no means was intended to spark unnecessary racial outrage. 

That being said, I think the positive response far outweighs the negative. It’s been great to see people from all walks of life engaging in the video and having a good laugh at it. The fact that Mmusi watched the video and responded with only positive words on Facebook I found truly amazing and a good testament to his character. 

So can we expect an official release of “MMU$I MAIMANE”?

The response has been a little overwhelming, but I’m trying my best to get the song out across platforms before election day. Keep an eye out for it on my social media handles.

For now though, you can definitely look forward to our official cover of Rodriguez’s “Sugarman” coming out this Friday.