The Holstar Is A Pioneer On The Zambian Hip-Hop Scene.
He has been at the forefront of creating the music industry in Zambia and a vanguard in promoting and providing opportunities for fellow Zambian artists with initiatives such as the Hip Hop Foundation.
His interest in the art form was sparked in 1993 when he heard Snoop Doggy Dog’s first album Doggystyle and was further influenced by 90s rap and hip-hop produced by the Wu Tang Clan and Nas.
He is musically inspired by hip-hop, 90s RnB, Jazz and infuses his love of Poetry and the laidback Zambian attitude that comes from growing up in Lusaka, to create a smooth, fresh, lyrical and universal sound inherently imbued with Zambian and African culture and experiences.
After dabbling in talent shows in high-school, he took his music to the next level after meeting and being inspired by local rapper Arkitect’s underground album Espial that was released in the late nineties.
Seeing someone like him trying to break into the business gave him the courage to try his luck. After college, he made his first studio recording in 2004 which lead to an EP as well as his friendship and producing relationship with Patrick Kawanu also known as Pope. He then went on to establish his own studio in conjunction with Pope called “The Zone”.
The Holstar then created his own imprint “Slam Dunk Records” in 2007 and has released his three albums since then: Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Part 2 and H3 – Love Me or Hate on this label. He is also one of the original members of Zone Fam formed in 2007, releasing mixtapes such as The Full Script produced by Nigerian producer Teck-Zilla.
In 2009, he decided to change his role in the group and become the manager; he continued to produce music as a solo artist. He has since Executive produced and provided the intro for Zone Fam’s acclaimed first album The Business (Foreign Exchange) and released The Extraordinaires a collaborative album with Teck-Zilla, in January 2012.
He is currently working on an EP with Argentina’s Poison Hertz while concurrently creating his fourth album with a variety of producers from the African continent and beyond.
The Holstar has always been interested in the arts and drama; he participated in such school activities as a child. Growing up in the 90s, he was inevitably influenced by US hip hop and made his first foray into this creative world at secondary school, when he formed a group called Zed-Crew (Zambian Crew) with friends and performed alongside a schoolmate widely known as Nazizi, the Queen of Kenyan urban music.
In 2004, he officially adopted “The Holstar” persona: a name that embodies his lyricism and style. He then decided to take his music more seriously. He recorded his first studio single, “Versatile” at the “Noise Lab” ran by Ryan Tembo.
This lead to him laying down two more tracks: “Despise” and “The Saga” that ended up being packaged as a 3 track EP titled “Versatile.” In 2005 they decided to form their own studio “The Zone” in order to have full control over their collaborative creativity and to hone their sound.
The Holstar also decided to form his own label, Slam Dunk Records, in 2007. With an imprint to release on and a studio to work from, The Holstar was able to perfect his sound and over the next 4 years created 3 albums: Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Part 2 and H3 – Love Me or Hate, with most of the songs produced by Pope.
Concurrently, Zone Fam was founded after Pope introduced The Holstar to his friend Al Kan-I aka Mutale Kani and the group’s name was then derived from a song lyric he fashioned during a jam session.
These three men formed the original make-up of Zone Fam. Al-Kan-I then introduced Dope G aka Sam Sakala and Jay Rox aka Jackson Ngambi Banda to the camp, whom were working with different studios at the time. In 2009, Yung Verbal aka Reginald Tshepo Mogane and Thugga aka Timbwana Chisenga Kaputula joined the fray from different camps and Zone Fam released its first Mixtape as a collective, with Nigerian Producer Teck-Zilla of the Str8 Buttah Crew, entitled The Full Script. Due to work constraints, Pope and Al Kan-I decided to step down their involvement. It was also clear at this point that a Manager was needed and The Holstar moved into this role, while concurrently juggling a formal job, continuing to nurture his solo career and running Slam Dunk Records. Today Zone Fam is made up by Dope G, Jay Rox, Yung Verbal and Thugga.
The Holstar and Al Kan-I joined the rest of Zone Fam when they performed on the Big Brother Stage in South Africa in July 2011.
The Holstar has made an invaluable contribution to Zambia’s nascent hip-hop scene, lifting it to new heights by actively championing the right to use music as expression through the creation of opportunities and platforms for artists to create, perform, showcase and sell their work beyond the creation of “The Zone”, his record label Slam Dunk Records and founding Zone Fam.
He has been a member of the Zambia Music Copyright Society since 2005 and was a founding member of the Hip Hop Foundation of Zambia that was formed in 2007 to promote Zambian artists through actions such as providing them with platforms to share their talent and advocating for airplay on local radio stations.
He is also a great collaborator, producing and featuring on his own camp’s projects as well as partnering with producers and artists from Africa, Europe and South America. In 2006 he collaborated on Pope’s mixtape.
The Holstar also produced Dope G of Zone Fam’s first album Underground Operation and Al Kan-I first LP Critical Acclamation. The Holstar featured on the africanhiphop.com The Sequel Mixtape, africasgateway.com’s RE-Invention (Vol.2) The Emcee’s LP, and Zone Fam’s Mixtape The Full Script produced by Teck-Zilla, which where all released in 2009 and in 2010 he featured on UK rapper Existence’s Zero Tolerance album and released Six Sixteens.