The South African rapper and producer speaks to a new generation with his latest album release.
A self-proclaimed rapping nerd, 27-year-old Nthato Mokgata (aka Spoek Mathambo, meaning 'ghost of bones' in township slang) is not afraid to go against the grain.
With the release of his second album, Father Creeper, earlier this year, he throws together dark electro beats, dubstep, flashes of reggae and highlife guitar riffs reminiscent of 1970s Ghana, making it difficult to pin him down to one genre.
"With Father Creeper, I got to express and write some great South African stories about my generation," he recalls. "I wrote something for us, and I'm very proud of that."
Spoek was born in Soweto during apartheid. Looking back at how far the country has come since then, he is full of pride in his hometown.
"People that I went to school with are now on the board of JSE [Johannesburg Stock Exchange] companies. Our parents couldn't have done that, so despite all the political fuckery, it's still a beautiful thing. This is our city, and we're running it."
Spoek's dedication to rap music started at an early age.
My cousin's suicide
Spoek Mathambo recalls when he was six years old and he and his older brother would hunch over his cassette player transcribing songs by the Wu-Tang Clan and Redman as though they were "an obscure thing that we found on the internet."
He began writing, taking lines from his favourite songs and modifying them to make them his own.
At school, he was a "super slacker", until the suicide of his cousin made the 14-year-old Mokgata (Spoek) decide that he wanted to become a doctor. Two years into medical school, he dropped out, leading to tensions with his family.
It was during this time that Spoek began focussing his energy on trying to make it as a rapper.
The next few years were spent working as part of a number of groups including Playdoe and Moleke Mbembe. He also worked closely with DJ Richard the Third and toured internationally with the likes of Die Antwoord.
With the release of his 2010 debut album Mshini Wam ('My Machine') he chose the term Township Tech to describe the heavy house beats of South Africa and coupled it with electro sounds that feature throughout the album.
I'll be on your TV!
Though it didn't make much of a stir in South African mainstream media, Mshini Wam grabbed the attention of an international audience - eventually securing him a record deal with Sub Pop Records in 2011. Father Creeper has since been licensed by Sony Music Africa for its release on the continent.
Despite having spent time in Sweden, where he is now based, being an immigrant has not changed the way Spoek sees his home country.
He is enthusiastic about homegrown talent and recently produced an extended play for the Kenyan group Sauti Sol, though he is not quite ready to make the transition from musician to producer and hopes to continue doing both.
"My ideal thing is to be an international artist. Not the guy who left, but the guy who's killing it everywhere. I'll be on your TV, and I'll be on your radio, and I'll be on your wall and in your pots with my chicken sauce!" He says it jokingly, but for some reason you might be wrong to doubt him●