HIP-HOP DJ duo Katz and Smooth would rather tackle all their challenges in the entertainment industry together as opposed to being solo acts.
The dynamic team broke onto the Bloemfontein scene in 2016 when they performed at Topaz Lounge and have not looked back since then.
Born Litlatse Phooko (Katz) and Hlomphang Leduka (Smooth), the 30-year-olds grew up at odds with each other due to petty boyhood grudges.
However, after bumping into one another at parties and realising they had a common love for music, the two forged a brotherhood of sorts and Smooth eventually played his first club gig at Katz’s 21st birthday party (2011) at Good Times Cafe (now Cuban Linx) in Maseru.
The duo started spinning casually on their own around 2009. At the time Smooth was under the tutelage of the late DJ Thabbie while Katz dabbled in the craft simply watching acts that he admired.
Smooth moved to Bloemfontein in 2014 and took a bridging course at the University of the Free State South Campus. He took the year to focus on his studies and make some money from promotional jobs before moving to the main campus in 2015 to pursue a Corporate and Marketing Communication degree.
Through his promo work, Smooth met several club promoters who gave him his first shot to play at Topaz. He built a buzz for himself after gaining bookings at other establishments including Coobah and Cappello with the help of DJ and businessman, Shaxe Khumalo.
It was in 2016 when Katz arrived in Bloemfontein to pursue the same programmes with Smooth and the two used Smooth’s momentum to push their brand.
“What made us stay with the duo is the fact that we would get bored when the other wasn’t around and one had to handle a booking,” Katz said.
“I actually have no idea how solo acts do it, it’s so boring being alone on the stage. At least this way, I’m with my best friend doing what we love most.”
He added that despite being collaborators, he says they have healthy competition between them as they take turns to select and mix songs while performing.
For his part, Smooth said their main focus at the moment is to grow their brand while extending their reach beyond Lesotho and Bloemfontein.
“I’ve been building rapport with all the relevant people in the South African entertainment industry and there were moves we were meant to make before the Coronavirus outbreak,” Smooth said.
Being students hindered the duo’s ability to expand further but since graduating in December and June 2019 respectively, Katz and Smooth look to make a name for themselves on a national scale in South Africa.
In Bloemfontein, Katz and Smooth currently have residencies at Shaxe Khumalo’s The Ivy Lounge and Picnic in the North, a monthly event hosted by Shaxe at the Botanical Garden. Katz and Smooth have also performed at Macufe events including Pimped Out Shesanyama, Pop Bottles and TSHEPE. Last year they shared the stage with African American rapper Wale at We Back Home in Thaba Nchu.
The duo has played at Maseru’s prime venues and events including Malutsenyane Braai Fest and Summer Shakedown.
Apart from being DJ’s, the two are also co-founders of Lesotho’s prominent bi-annual event, Black Affluence, which they use to afford promising acts a platform to showcase their talent.
While expanding the Katz and Smooth brand, they also hope to release music eventually and promise fans a project that will feature South African and Lesotho artistes.