For rising SA hip hop artist KNO (real name Keano Fernandez) his journey from street rapper to recording artist has been nothing short of unique, pulling himself from the fringes of the SA music industry, right to centre stage.
Born into poverty in a crime-ridden ghetto in the Cape, KNO’s destiny seemed set in stone, and for a while it was. By his mid-teens he was already in a juvenile detention centre and became mixed up in gang rivalries, eventually looking to music as a way out.
Yet everything changed when KNO took part in The Vuzu Hustle Own The Block televised rap battle, which he won, going viral soon after. Now, having just signed a deal with a UK management label, KNO’s latest single “Cape Of Good Hope” comes as a politically charged cry of his personal experiences of gang violence.
With a surprisingly breezy guitar melody and a solemn beat, KNO reflects on the struggle of growing up where he did, and empathises with those still suffering there. He pays specific tribute to the women and children of the Cape Flats who have fallen victim to GBV, turning his music into a beacon of solidarity.
Amidst graphic scenes of drug abuse and robberies, the characters of KNO’s neighbourhood still emerge hopeful, ever smiling. Hip hop saved his life, and now he’s trying to give others a chance too, with his music.