“I like to think of myself as a million in one, rather than one in a million” -says Riyadh Roberts.
Better known by his stage name Youngsta, a twenty-one year old artist who represents skill and a work ethic beyond his years. Although dubbed as Cape Town’s hottest new hip-hop force, being recognized was just the beginning for him. As an aspiring artist, he started the songwriting process at the mere age of twelve and recorded his first track that same year. Youngsta spent his teenage years absorbing every aspect of the hip hop industry, which allowed him to formulate his own unique style and incorporate life as he knew it into his lyrics. Drawing inspiration from not just individual artists, but the industry as a whole, his lyrics are fueled with energy, emotion and the elements of life both on and off the Cape Town streets. Youngsta has successfully managed to transform these lyrics into a captivating live performance and a repertoire that commands attention.
2010 and fresh out of high school, the decision to delve into the hip hop industry on a full time basis was inevitable. He hit the ground running and recorded over 150 songs that year. It was only a matter of time before the nation caught on to this backyard phenomenon.
2011 was an excellent year! His ability to churn out quality material and captivate audiences propelled him into hip-hop limelight where he freestyled his way to the top. He was crowned ‘South Africa’s King of Street Rap’ at the final showdown of a nationwide search for the best rapper. In addition, he shared the stage with international acts such as US artist Lil Wayne at the Bellville Veledrome as well as Kev Brown and J-Live on their South African tour with Masta Ace.
Come 2012 and armed with over twenty-four mixtapes, the momentum continues. He was invited to collaborate and record with hip hop statesmen Tumi Molekane and Reason at Red Bull Studios in Cape Town. Weeks later, he met up with DJ Hamma at the studio and in a matter of weeks they came out with a limited original 9 track EP tilted “Dollar$ and White Pipes“. Thereafter, his resilience was put to the test when he was to record a seven track EP, 21 Y?rs Ahead of Time, in just five days. Weeks later he started working towards a third EP titled Young in the City in conjunction with Gamecity Productions. Fr3eze Time is the last Mixtape compilation Youngsta will be giving the pubic. The Young lad has some serious moves planned before he releases his much anticipated studio album titled 3T l Things Take Time. Youngsta’s ability to experiment between a variety of genres, while remaining true to his hip hop roots, makes him one of the most dynamic up-and-coming artists in the industry and SA.
Youngsta has graced the walls of many a Cape Town venue. He regularly takes to the stage at Zula Sound Bar and from the CTICC to his mixtape Launch at Purple Turtle – this ‘youngster’ has been making waves across the City. As a performing artist with unique versatility, he is no stranger to The Assembly where he wowed crowds at the Vodacom and Good Hope FM Hip-Hop Party, the Converse Block Party, Discotheque and supported the likes of Jack Parow. His much talked about live performance saw him open the stage for Talib Kweli at Trinity Night Club earlier this year where he was well received as well as opening the stage for Jay Z’s engineer and DJ Young Guru in Cape Town. Thereafter he made his debut at Mercury Live headlining the Rolling Stone Weekend Celebration. In 2011 he performed at the Outdoor Hip-Hop Festival and made his Rocking The Daisies debut in October last year. Not long thereafter, he opened the stages for Hudson Mohawke and DJ A-Trak in Johannesburg and Cape Town on the 5 Gum SA Experience. Already in 2013 he amazed a crowd at the second annual Cape Town Electronic Music Festival (CTEMF) alongside the legendary DJ Ready D in an unforgettable performance.
With the gigantic buzz already circulating around Youngsta, poised to create even bigger waves, there is no doubt that he will dominate the hip-hop scene in years to come. He chose this path, he doesn’t know where it will take him, but no matter where Youngsta treads, the music is sure to follow.