Cashtime Life, one of the hottest indie labels at the height of their popularity, boasting at the time, the most exciting line-up of talent across any label rooster. Running on the back of K.O’s massively popular smash hit Caracara, the song would go on to not only feed the label, but provide a blueprint for the sound of the entity, what they would call Skhanda Rap. Skhanda Rap, a blend of hip hop elements rooted in nostalgic Kwaito flavour, was not necessarily inventive nor unique to the label but resonated with the masses of black youth in the country, propelling the label to superstar status throughout 2014.
The success of K.O’s single Caracara, coincided with the introduction of the newly formed Cashtime Life collective which initially featured Teargas alumni K.O and Ma-E, Kid X, DJ Vigilante, and later on No Moozlie, Maggz and Masandi. The collective toured the country on K.O’s back, spawning numerous singles including Pasop, Se7en, Sgelegeqe, Cooler Bag and Sorry Makhe amongst others.
Beyond singles, the envisioned full album projects either didn’t quite meet the high expections set for the rest of the rooster or didn’t take off at all. This led to destructive conflict within the collective, this would eventually collapse of the label.
No Moozlie was first to exit, citing a difference of opinion on the strategy behind her career. This was followed by Kid X, who had released a mixtape but never realised the promised debut album. Ma E managed to release Township Councillor to very poor response, which further alienated him from what was left of the label.
The impression created by most of the label mates was that the label didn’t prioritize other individual projects as compared to the investment in K.O, and the narrative mostly centred around K.O being the source of the conflict.
As the collapse reached finality last July, K.O went on a charm offensive, with a sense of betrayal at having had to share his peak with his label mates who would later turn against him and the success achieved mostly due to his doing.
Almost a year later, lets look at their moves since the official collapse;
Moozlie has since started her own label, featured on a number of singles, dropped a tape titled Versus and dropped Recipe, Getting Cash and Bum Bum as singles while working on her debut album. The album is to feature YungstaCPT, Patti Monroe, potentially Rouge and Shekinah, a promising bunch of features. Its difficult to make a fair judgement on her pre-debut, the work is mostly in the formative phase, a position she was in at the time of her exit. She has taken her time with the music, that could only be a good thing.
Similarly, Kid X, who was in album mode during his Cashtime days, has still not dropped his long-anticipated debut. Having formed RapLyf with longtime friend Kwesta, he seems to be refining his sound with the recent release of Aunty and the mbaqanga inspired love song Mtano Muntu. Widely considered one of the best lyricists in the game, there are high expectations for Kid X, much of which hasn’t translated to breakout success as yet. Soon after leaving the label, he dropped Laundry Day Fresh and Mfazi We Phepha, which created an impression of a forthcoming debut, yet months later, X is still to drop.
Ma E, a legend for his part in hip hop group Teargas, dropped his sophomore album 212 at the end of 2017 under his newly formed label, Ganda Ghanda. The album was a follow up to his Castime debut release Township Counsellor; the catalyst for his unhappiness and subsequent exit at the label. Blaming his debut’s poor performance squarely on Cashtime Life dynamics at the time, the follow up which featured Kid X, Gemini Major, Maggz, Yanga and Da Les, has seemingly failed to blow.
Maggz dropped his album For The Love and Glory and thats about it.
DJ Vigilante, a career mix DJ and music compiler, dropped Mary Jane featuring Yung Swiss, Maggz and A-Reece. He has always been more of a behind-the-scenes industry personality with a knack for taste making.
K.O went from indie label head honcho to signing under major label Sony Music Entertainment. He announced the deal with the release of his debut single No Feelings, an ode to his feelings towards what had happened at the time. K.O went on to release his sophomore Skhanda Republic 2, although not nearly as impactful as his debut, the album generally received positive reviews. K.O is still regarded as one of the top tier rappers in the game, and has managed to stay in the game with singles Call Me featuring Run Town, the lukewarm MS2 and his latest record Swagganova. Owed to his appeal and position in the game, K.O remains the most successful since the Cashtime Life collapse.
We’ve said it before here, Cashtime Life’s impact at the height of its popularity, disrupted the game much like Kalawa Jazmee did in its early years, a pity it had to end before it truly began.