LIFE hasn’t been easy for promising rapper, KONG. However, that has not stopped him from living up to his stage name which means “keeping on going”.
Born Retšelisitsoe Nthaha, KONG hails from Mafeteng but grew up in Maseru. He resides in Khubetsoana.
While narrating his story to the Weekender on Monday, the 27-year-old said his parents divorced while he was still young. This resulted in him, his mother and younger brother moving frequently in an attempt “to stay off my father’s radar”.
“It was an unstable childhood for my little brother and I, and most of the time all we had was each other,” KONG said.
“Between the ages 10 and 11 our father finally caught up with us and almost killed my mother. This really had me struggling with my social skills for a long time.”
KONG turned to his notepad at 13 jotting his thoughts and feelings. This eventually led to him discovering his passion for poetry and writing.
He moved to Harrismith in 2007 while in the ninth grade at New Horizon College. He still struggled with socialising but took solace in sketches and rhymes.
Revered wordsmiths such as Black Thought, Method Man, Nas, Joell Ortiz, Drake and Sean Price are among some of the artistes who inspired KONG’s writing style.
In 2014, KONG enrolled in a Graphic Design programme at the Vaal University of Technology.
Towards the end of 2014 he released his debut single, Drop it Down, and would then pursue a music career under the moniker R.J which he later changed to R.Jay.
This led to him joining a campus clique named Pantros which released several tracks and mixtape titled LIFE IN THE TIMES (L.I.T.T) in 2016. The project racked up 2500 hits on streaming service, Audiomack.
He also went on to establish his own visuals company, CoolFirm Media, in 2016 which offers graphic design, video editing and info-graphic animation services.
“In 2017 I dropped out of varsity to fully chase the musical dream and released a mixtape titled Before the Drop Out.
“During this period, I had shared the stage with the likes of Kid X, MaE, Reason and Da LES and I got to perform on platforms such as the PTA Social Market.
“It was a really good run until all things fell apart and I had to move back to Lesotho in 2018. That’s when I felt like giving up,” KONG said.
KONG wouldn’t allow this feeling derail him from his path for long and soon regained faith.
He took up his current stage name and began working on THE KONG EP which was released on 4 July 2019 composed of stand-out songs such as Focus featuring L-Tore, Telepathy featuring MJ Elphy, HBK and Sounds and Endurance featuring Lu Srenk.
An ode for his little brother’s birthday, KONG went on to release a second extended play (EP) on 4 July this year dubbed Laws of the Jungle, themed along the lines of loyalty, power, respect, love and faith.
“In order to KEEP ON GOING, you must have faith in your ability to achieve your goals and dreams,” the rapper said. Show your troop’s love, respect and loyalty so they give the same energy back and that is how you obtain the power to be the King of the jungle (life).”
With a new perception on life and the drive to gain a larger audience along with his mother’s support, KONG is focussed on achieving his dreams.
“I remain as human as possible while talking about and addressing my insecurities and shortcomings so that other people know that it’s okay to fall and get back up,” KONG said.