What ever happened to the super group Optical Illusion?
Here’s an interview of them before the release of their album The Offering back in 2006.
Formed in 1998, Battlekat, Logik, Genocide and Goldernshovel are the four members of Mzansi hip-hop outfit, Optical Illusion. This group has won the hearts of many hip-hop followers and they’ve even gained a lot of respect from other MCs. Known for their hard hitting beats, there is no doubt that Optical Illusion’s unique approach to hip-hop has ranked the group amongst the best local mrepas.
For Optical Illusion, hip-hop is about expressing one’s consciousness, telling people their experiences and voicing opinions on how they see things. How do they fuse their lyrics with the beats? “Look, our music is different because we are able to combine hard sound and make it mellow and listenable. In our music, we have pooled jazz, soul and kwaito and all the sound elements we use define our sound”, they said.
To ensure that their music is in line with the latest trends, the four members keep their ears to the streets and listen to radio to keep up with the latest evolution in hip-hop. According to Optical Illusion, what keeps them going is honesty and working as a team. “When we do a song, any of us can just come with an idea, we will discuss it and see if it works”. In light of that, they said not all ideas that are suggested become a song. “If one of us cannot relate to the concept that we have, we trash the whole idea because we believe that each one of us should voice their opinion in every song we do”.
Talking about their writing capacity, Battlekat, the group producer and mrepa said each member writes their own verses but those verses should reflect back to the main topic agreed upon. When verses are complete, Battlekat will then put together some beats that he thinks best suit the lyrics they’ve got. “It is not easy to produce beats that everyone will like but what I like about the boys is that if they are not happy with what I’ve done, they tell right away. It is sad to be told that what you’ve produced is not good enough, but that also works as an inspiration to go back to the studio and work harder”.
Battlekat said when an artist writes lyrics, there should always be a rhyme playing in their minds. “I don’t think an artist can write something without a rhyme. And for us to be successful in what we do, we don’t compromise the sound we want, if I cannot be able to put down what makes the group happy, we then go out and get beats from other producers”.
Battlekat reckons producing a good sound for Optical Illusion comes from being under pressure. “Beats should be able to compliment the lyrics you’ve got, it is easy to tell when the beats and lyrics are working well together. And if this is not happening, why do you have to compromise and force the song?” he asked. According to BattleKat, an album will not be released until each group member is happy with the overall product.
Optical Illusion’s influence comes from the songs they listen to and hip-hop songs that portray real life experiences. According to these boys, they are not interested in songs that deal with mythical topics that do not apply to them. To support this, they said they don’t get inspired by songs that are about diamonds and personal wealth. “Those kinds of songs don’t reflect who we are, we like telling stories that people can easily understand”.
Red Everything Movement