Mabala Noise Touts US Artist Tory Lanez Over Their Own Stars

Can we just have an honest conversation for a moment? This is not a read or an attack of any sorts on Mabala Noise. However, I saw the latest announcement that the local record label is bringing international star Tory Lanez to Mzansi — exciting news but something just irked me a bit about the promotion of the event. 

Perception is reality. Not always but often enough for that statement to ring true. Unfortunately it is never to the benefit of our local talent. Here you have a local record label bringing in an American star and then giving him top billing over our local stars and even artists on their own roster. That in my book, does not help the cause to promote our own stars as being on par with their American counterparts. 

Granted, more people around the world know who Tory Lanez is but I am confident that in South Africa more people know who Nasty C, Cassper Nyovest and AKA are than Tory Lanez. With that, why did Mabala Noise not use this opportunity to give our local superstars the same reverence as this American artist? Better yet, why not use it to tout their own number 1 artist, Nasty C, as a top billing act alongside the US star. 

In this case Mabala Noise had a unique opportunity of not just being a promoter but as a company that has local superstars on their books and could easily have used this to abate the perception that local stars can only be supporting acts alongside international stars. 

We complain a lot about local stars not getting the same star treatment as the US stars who visit Mzansi. We hear and often read that local stars were complaining that they did not get the same perks or respect given to visiting US artists when they are billed to support them at such concerts. Why not use this opportunity to show that we value the international stars the same way we do our own?

I get the argument that Tory Lanez would likely encourage more ticket sales maybe that is why his name is put at the forefront of promoting this event. But, the same would have still happened if they billed Nasty C alongside him, and it would have had more benefits for our local industry, Nasty C and Mabala Noise. Win, win for all. 

Optics matter. 

Looking at the poster shared on social media to promote this event, not only does Tony Lanez get top billing, he is also the only one with his face on the poster. His name is in big bold letters whilst our local stars had to make do with being clustered together at the bottom in small font. 

This is not a complaint for the sake of complaining but rather an observation on a missed opportunity. Surely, Mabala Noise could have come up with a better marketing strategy. It would have been way more beneficial to their business and make for better optics if Mabala negotiated to have Nasty C be billed alongside Tony Lanez. 

Think of how great it would have been if this event was billed as Malaba Noise Presents; Tory Lanez and Nasty C featuring so and so. The conversation would not just be about Tory Lanez but would have included their own local star. This would have given Nasty C major publicity as a superstar in his own right — maybe not on the same level as Tory Lanez but just as valuable to our local industry. 

That Nasty C, Cassper Nyovest and AKA are billed as merely just supporting acts, though great for their pockets, it still does not do much to erode the perception that American talent is better than local talent regardless of how big a local artist is in his/her own home ground. 

SIDENOTE: Mabala Noise posted about the event on their social media last night under the hashtag #MalabaDurbanJuly17. Three posts were made via their account and not a single mention or tag of their own artists who will also perform at this event. 

SIDE-SIDE NOTE: Great to see Ricky Rick on the lineup. I guess he and Mabala have buried the hatchet after their divorce. That's nice! 

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