Foundation; Ghetto Ruff forms crunk group Jozi and signs the group to a 3-album deal. The debut album Muthaland Funk, spawning singles Muthaland, What’s With The Attitude and Rock With You, goes on to sell over 30 000 units, catapulting the group members into superstardom. Shortly after the debut release, Crazy Lu and Bongani Fassie split from the group.
In 2009, Da L.E.S drops his debut solo album Fresh 2 Def, produced by Bongz, the album delivers commercially successful singles Tippy Toes and We On Fire.
Da L.E.S and Ishmael would go on to drop two more albums under the Jozi moniker, the more successful Wildlife with singles Gotta Keep It Going and Eyes On Me, and the final Jozi album, Moving The City, both albums reportedly selling over 10 000 copies.
Imprint; A year later in 2013, Da L.E.S would drop hit singles Heaven featuring AKA and Maggz, and Fire, both singles would later appear on his sophomore album Mandela Money under his own label Fresh 2 Def Productions. The third single Dice, would drop late 2014.
In mid 2015, P.A.I.D, the first single off of third studio album North God drops, the single features long-time collaborator AKA and Burna Boy. Three months later, Summertime, featuring Riky Rick drops, followed by Bank Roll, 6AM, and the more notable Real Stuff, another collabo with AKA and Maggz.
Entrench; In a space of nine months, between December 2016 through to September the next year, Da L.E.S dropped 3 albums in quick succession; Diamond In Africa spawning singles Up To Something and Lifestyle, then F2D Presents: Hall of Fame, a collaborative effort from a short-lived partnership with Yanga and Gemini Major showcasing talent signed under their respective labels, and finally, his fifth studio album High Level, dropped a little over a month ago.
Business; After winning a R1 million from the Tropika Island Treasure reality show in 2013, Da L.E.S used some of his winnings to set up his own record label and publishing unit Fresh 2 Def Productions, going into a partnership with Sony Music Entertainment for Mandela Money, North God and Diamond In Africa.
In 2015, together with Bonang, David Tlale and DJ Dimplez, he was chosen as one of the ambassadors for global alcohol brand Ciroc. Since 2010, North God has also hosted celebs and industry personalities at his invite-only annual All White Party for 7 years running before it was cancelled indefinitely earlier this year.
A decade in the game; three albums under Jozi, one collaborative album, five solo albums and counting, countless singles and music videos, the “North God” undeniably deserves a spot as one of the young OGs of the game.
What he may lack in bars, he makes up for with an effortlessly cool aesthetic, smart business sense and a tireless work ethic; you’d better put some respect on Leslie Mampe’s name.
*Another feather in Da Les’ cap, Hall Of Fame, his collaborative effort with Yanga and Gemini Major, has been certified gold by RISA. The project has officially sold over 15 000 copies as of December 2017.