Visually impaired rapper, Dragg, on his vision to succeed

Published: 30 July 2014 | by Janine Dube
Visually impaired rapper, Dragg, on his vision to succeed
Hip hop/rap artist Lawrence Sean Sibanda, also known as Dragg, has been doing music since the age of 12 and has built an international following.

Dragg was born in 1993 in Zimbabwe but has been based in Kingston Upon Hull UK since February 2006.

In a candid interview with OneVybe, Dragg revealed that he was massively into sport until he battled meningitis, which was initially mistaken for Malaria.

The wrong medication was prescribed to him for 2 months and when the doctors discovered he had meningitis, it was too late and this resulted in visual impairment and some hearing loss in his left ear.

This life-changing experience has not held Dragg back in his musical career and he has since made appearances on BBC and has performed with JLS.

Dragg with former boy-band JLS

OneVybe's interview with Dragg:

Hi Dragg, it's great to catch up with you, how are you?

Hey, I'm well thank you hope you are too! Honoured to be doing this interview with you guys!

Can you tell us about yourself?

As an artist, I  would say I'm very versatile. When I started, I was influenced by a lot of hard-core/lyrical MC's so I was more raw, complex and poetic with my rhymes.

However since times have changed and the new younger audience don't always relate to the lyrically deep style, you have to find the balance to still be a righteous MC but tame it down to something they can comprehend and relate to (although I still throw out there deep punchline/word play oriented freestyles as heard on my "Control- Kendrick Lamar Response Freestyle").

On the flip side, I can be smooth and connect to my female audience through love records.

Also I can make club bangers  that can shake up dance floors. I can switch my flow to suit many types of tracks, fast or slow, 90's style you name it.  

So yeah that's how I can describe my style really for those who have not heard my music!

You've got some great music, including, "Holla at you," how did you get into music?

I really just got into music as a hobby. I was always a sportsman as an infant, track and field and football being my strongest points.

After I had meningitis at around age 12ish it resulted in eyesight loss and partial hearing loss on my left ear.

So this really threw me off my sports and as a result I had to find a new hobby.

During my time in hospital and after when I was still in the recovering process, I listened to a lot of music, not just hip hop/rap but music as a whole.

I started memorising my favourite rap songs by some artists who have influenced my career/style  like The game, Zola, Cassidy, Xzibit, Fobolous, Canibus, Pro Kid and the list goes on!

From that point onwards, I thought to myself well I can try writing my own song, then I did write my first song when I was around 13 the rest is history!

Dragg performing Holla At You ft Amandi Music

What challenges have you faced trying to achieve your dream as a rapper?

Challenges I've faced and still facing today are things like just getting people to believe in your music as much as you believe in it.

Almost every musician goes through this. The consumption of music has been made so easy nowadays thanks to the digital world, social media and sites like World Star Hip Hop and Youtube.

New artists come in every day therefore, it's easy for people to forget about you and move onto the next hot thing especially when new music is so easily accessible now.

Trying to keep up with that, and keep your audience's attention is one of the biggest challenges I feel because, without a strong fan base you can't go far, and the big labels and gate keepers don't want to know about you.

If you have a strong fan base and a good buzz, then opportunities for greater things knock on your door.

Dragg with singer Labrinth

What sort of reception has your music had so far?

So far, people have generally received my music well across the globe.

My fan base has always been stronger more in South Africa, U.S.A, Canada, Holland and Germany more than it has ever been in the UK.

However, I still get some love in the UK with industry giants like Tim Westwood, DJ Target, JLS, Tinchi Stryda, Labrinth just to name a few giving me props and being impressed with what I have done so far.

Dragg with DJ Tim Westwood

Your music sounds very American, who are your greatest influences?

Yeah I get people saying my music sounds American lol, I just think it sounds urban and really depends on how I'm feeling.

Probably most of my musical influences are American or South African so that might have something to do with it too.

West Coast rapper The Game was my main influence coming up, then the likes of Cassidy, Fobolous, Canibus, Wu-tang Clan, Xzibit, Jadakiss, Jay Z,  all have influenced me in some way.

US rapper The Game

Which artist is high on your wish list of collaborations?

I would love to collaborate with Sam Smith, John Legend and Wretch 32 right now. The list is long but yeah I respect these guys' styles and think I would make some magic with them.

So far what has been the highlight in your career?

Erm, the highlight of my career is hard to pick out because there's a few lol. But I'll say sharing a stage with the JLS guys, chilling with them and seeing how they were so determined before shows and so humble was a blessing for me.

Them actually giving me props even on social media till this day was a great feeling.

It is always a great thing to know artists of their calibre and fame can look at me and respect my craft, they didn't have to do it after all it was just from deep within!

Any new projects in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I'm working on my first EP which should drop anytime soon. Still working stuff out with the label to ensure that it has a good impact in the scene when it is released.  

Also I will release a free mixtape, I don't have confirmed dates but just keep in touch through my social media pages and my website which shall be updated soon.

Dragg's latest - Give It To You ft Tania

For those who want to get hold of Dragg's music, most of his music has been released for free download apart from "Holla At You," which is his first official single.

"Holla At You" is available to buy on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other online stores.

Keep an eye out for Dragg's new offerings in the near future and OneVybe and Dragg will keep you posted.

For more information:
To follow Dragg on instagram and twitter: @draggakaseans

Sun Kissed Misfits Presents - "Clear Vision" Mini Documentary ft. Dragg A.K.A. Sean S

- OneVybe/Dragg
Tags: Dragg, rapper,

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