Internet content creation is still in its infancy in South Africa, although there are some breakout creators growing the online content scene through podcasts, vlogs and blogs, in terms of mass appeal, the audience is yet to catch on. The Sobering podcast is one of a few podcasts consistently putting out compelling content, especially on hip-hop.
In a scene where honest opinion and analysis is reserved for off the record chats with mates and acquaintances, The Sobering is a refreshingly direct, honest and informed hip hop forum. Hosted by Lil Frat, Kitso and Mokgethwa, the podcast started over 3 years ago. To date, the crew has published 39 episodes; an impressive feat by any standards.
Although the hosts are clearly informed and passionate about hip-hop in general, for the most part, the opinions shared are highly subjective. The vibe sounds like a group of industry insider friends hanging out, both a gift and a curse. Their informal interview style allows their guests to be more open and relaxed than they would typically be for interviews; a delight for any hip-hop fan.
With that said, the easy-going approach also has its flaws. While for many this might just be a podcast; structure and technical steadiness is still an important aspect. The casual manner in which the first feature, ‘news and events’ is presented, often sounds unprepared and done for the sake of it. During interviews, the hosts interrupt each other ever so often, from questions to statements, the unruly interaction between the hosts and constant talking over each other makes for painful listening at times.
Knowing when to pull a guest back during an interview is another skill that the crew misses. A listener could easily get lost in unnecessarily lengthy responses and chats that go well beyond the initial question, with no one seemingly moderating and pulling the conversation back in the right direction. Like radio, podcasting is a passive medium and it requires certain basics to keep the listener engaged.
Again, although the fabric of The Sobering could be a group of friends just hanging out and discussing a subject they’re passionate about, by virtue of putting this content out for public consumption, means basic radio etiquette should form part of the production.
Considering how poor the content on commercial radio hip-hop shows is, The Sobering is an important and necessary forum to not only document, but to speak on and for hip-hop. For that reason, it’s important to polish this product for the benefit of hip hop and those who love this culture.
Listen to The Sobering HERE