The Book Café served as the backdrop for this insightful interview, which I call #TheQuestionableTenWithTehn, which is a ten minute...
The Book Café served as the backdrop for this insightful interview, which I call #TheQuestionableTenWithTehn, which is a ten minute interview I had with Tehn Diamond, hence the title (in case you were wondering). Without further ado, let’s get right into it…
SpekkTrumn: First and foremost, I think everyone knows who you are by now, but can you give me your definition of who Tehn Diamond is?
Tehn Diamond: My name is Tehn, Diamond. Tehn Diamond is basically an idea grounded in the belief that anything we can see in our minds we can be in our lives, and that’s the philosophy that I approach everything that I do.
S: You’ve been quiet as of late, as in releases, the last release you did was Simudza Gumbo, right?
T: Nah it was last month, with Reverb7 and Simba Tagz, NaNaNa, but as far as my own releases going to radio and stuff, last one was January last year, Simudza Gumbo. I took a year off from radio.
S: So that means we should expect the album anytime soon?
T: Early second quarter, The Perfect Tehn is dropping…
S: Early second quarter? Is that a promise?
T: Uhhh I’ve promised it for too many years, but let me just say early second quarter.
S: Any people we should expect on the album, or it’s just a surprise?
T: Take Fizzo, Begotten Sun are executive producing it. Co-executive producing it, with myself I guess. There’s going to be a lotta features.
S: So Jnr Brown, can we expect him too?
T: Maybe, we just did a whole project, you know? So he’s in South (Africa) working on The Morning Glory, which is also coming out this year. We have yet to hear each other’s projects so we’re probably just going to sit down and play each other stuff and pick what we wanna do if we wanna do. It’s easy with Breezy man, that’s my brother so we’ll see what’s up
S: That means we may also expect you on his album?
T: Yeah, yeah. You know, anything can happen. I mean if the right song’s there, if the right song is in mind we’ll definitely work it.
S: There’s this rumour going around that Few Kings split up…
T: No way, how does family split up? If you can answer that question, how does family split up? It’s still very much alive.
S: I don’t know man, people talk..
T: Yeah, people like to talk, it’s still very much alive and well. Like I said, Breezy is working on The Morning Glory, I’m working on The Perfect Tehn. I’m up and down the country with (Take) Fizzo at the moment, but Few Kings will never die. It’s something that started, that grew naturally, that grew from a friendship that became, I mean we’re brothers. It became a brotherhood so Few Kings will never die. So if there’s anyone out there expecting “the feeling to become fair” anytime soon, the feeling is STILL very much not fair!
S: Coz I remember y’all from back in the day, (circa 2011) during the Zwagga Nights…
T: Yeah, shout out to the rumours they can do what they they want, we’re just out here working.
S: Can we expect any more singles from The Perfect Tehn before it drops?
T: Yeah, lots of singles, lots of videos. I mean I guess I was quiet all of last year but I wasn’t quiet for nothing. I was planning, plotting so expect a definite explosion of content from myself.
S: I’ve also noticed a lot of Happy tees around town…
T: Yeah, we released the Happy tees, we released a lotta merchandise coz the Tisu Ngoda cap, snapback is coming out soon #TisuNgodaDzacho (this interview happened prior to the launch). Something special coming with the Happy tees as well, maybe next month, a fresh release
S: Maybe a new design as well?
T: Maybe (laughs)
Tehn doing what he does best on-stage
S: I’ve also noticed you’re doing a countrywide tour, what exactly is that?
T: I’ve been doing a show a week since September, since Shoko Festival. Just whatever whatever and end of last month we got to go to Mutare and Bulawayo. Tryna go out of town every month.
S: How has the response been though?
T: The response in Mutare was crazy, the AU students, TURNED UP! Bulawayo was mad, we linked up with Vault Cosmetics for their after-party for their launch there and 3D events, so that was crazy. Before Mutare, my birthday bash was like the craziest gig that was successful then Mutare killed it and then Skies killed Mutare the very next day so yeah the love is there. Zim Hip-Hop is definitely spreading.
S: Let me take you back to the Birthday Gig, I liked the idea of streaming it live, we need more of events like that
T: Yeah, tryna get my #SOTG family in the diaspora a peek into what we are doing out here until such a time as we can get out there.
S: Your thoughts on Zim Hip-Hop, do you think it will be a big genre?
T: Definitely, we’re the fastest-growing genre. I’ve said this for the past five years. There’s no genre growing faster than Zim Hip-Hop. Others may be bigger or more successful at the moment but we’re growing fast. I think our biggest advantage at the moment is that we have a command of social media. There’s more Hip-Hop artists than any other genre using Facebook, using Twitter, innovating with Whatsapp so yeah it’s coming. We’re reaching a very good space in Zim Hip-Hop.
S: Besides yourself, who else do you think is killing it Zim Hip-Hopwise?
T: Besides myself, the only artists that I’m really focused on is the crop of artists that I’m now working with, that I’m now mentoring. Obviously there’s the usual suspects, my peers ana Jnr Brown, Simba Tagz, those are the guys. I’m a big Marcques fan but in-house there’s the SOTG Academy Institute, it’s not so much a label as yet but more artist development.
I’m working with Sharky, he’s crazy, T.shoC, a young cat named Fluid from Tafara/Mabvuku, a young dude named Tari X from ‘Fio (Highfields). Jackson de Zimboy, he’s a dope artist but for me I really think he accepts and allows it he could be Zim’s own Dame Dash. He’s got an incredible work ethic and an understanding of what it takes to make this (music) thing really work. AKihDWithNoTahg, I’m also working with him, he’s also part of the family.
S: So we should expect a full (music) project with you and these young upcoming guys?
T: Uh huh. I’m won’t really give any details yet but there’s definitely something that’s going to happen. This year we’re putting together a project and then yeah expect to see some videos and singles from each of them, at least this year.
S: I noticed you’ve also been involved with charity projects like #TwimbosGivingHope…
T: I just liked the initiative. I’m not like officially a part of it but wherever I can help they know that I’m fully ready to help, wherever I can, however I can. I think it’s a great initiative. On Twitter Twimbos, I guess maybe, are known for twaring (engaging in Twitter wars) and what not. It was nice to see something positive happening on the timeline, for a change. I love what the guys are doing.
S: …which is a good look for Zim Hip-Hop, and shows it’s not just about the music but giving back to the people
T: At the end of the day, what we do is not even about ourselves, it IS about the people. Our music makes people happy (no pun intended), inspired, motivated. We all go through life in different ways but there are certain experiences that, even though they are different, they are universal. We have our ups, we have our downs, so it’s always about the people.
S: Any words of motivation for an upcoming rapper somewhere who wants to be at the level where you are?
T: Two things, if you’re looking up to me and thinking yeah, I wanna be like Tehn, STOP! DON’T DO THAT! I always try to tell kids coming up, look beyond me because whatever you’re looking up to, what you see, it’s already the past. My mind is already on the next move, so look beyond me. There’s nothing I’ve done that’s impossible.
The second thing is about perseverance, it’s a quote that’s very dear to my heart.
It’s “Ever tried, ever failed, no matter. Try again, fail again, fail better”
That’s really what it’s about, that’s what it takes. You get knocked down, you get up, you get knocked down, you get up. Just keep getting up, you never know, the 100th time you get up a pot of gold might be waiting for you.
View his official website: http://www.iamtehn.com/
Like on Facebook: TehNDiamond
Follow on Twitter: @TehnDiamond