Thomas Hazey (whose real name is Dean), is a South African Hip Hop artist from the East Side of Johannesburg – Boksburg to be exact.
He is a member of the music collective, Frequency Manipulation [FM] – Hazey has been actively making and releasing music online, with fellow FM member and frequent collaborator Daev Martian, from as early on as 2009.
After gaining a little recognition worldwide as a consequence of being featured on Daev Martian’s debut album on the song “88’ alongside ASAP Shembe, the music video for which was premiered locally by Zikhipani Magazine and internationally via Complex Magazine [UK] in late 2017 – Hazey has since been cultivating an audience of his own, to whom he frequently releases singles and short EPs.
Having performed at the first ‘We Are One Music’ Festival [with ASAP Shembe], performed at Mane Attraction’s first event in Africa [Cape Town], being featured on YFM for the SA Hip Hop Live Thursday night cyphers, as well as competing in Back To The City’s PowerPlay 10K challenge 2019 – the name ‘Thomas Hazey’ has been gaining it’s fair share of traction and exposure.
Thomas Hazey prides himself in being an urban artist with something to say – whether it’s on the state of the culture, life, relationships or all things that make up the human experience, there’s always a little something sprinkled in Hazey’s music.
Thomas Hazey has a vast catalogue of music releases, namely:
- Planet Marz LP (with Daev Martain) 
- Rough Sketch EP (with Daev Martian) 
- A Prelude To Something? EP 
- BornFree-ish EP (with SEEZ) 
- PREVIEWS EP (with Daddy Longstem) 
- 4Play EP (with Ty-Dilla) 
- LOST EP 
And a number of singles and featured songs out there.
Currently working on a new project with collaborator and fellow Frequency Manipulation member, Ndugu.Ndugu titled ‘So Help Me GOD’ – the limits to where Hazey can go sonically, have yet to be defined.
Who or what got you into Hip hop?
uMalum wam’ - My youngest uncle that is. He was the only person in my family who was really into hip hop and the culture like that. I remember a time where we, the kids of the family, were forbidden from even going into his room – but curiosity always got the better of us. My first recollection of Hip Hop in my life, was hearing him play “Pacific Heights” by Pep Love, a song that till this day still echoes in my memory as if I first heard it yesterday
How would you describe or explain hip hop in a different way from other common perspectives?
To me – Hip Hop is the language of our generation. It has become the culture that unifies us, people, from different walks of life & the world round, because at its core Hip Hop has always been about self-expression, self-improvement, Community and owning your truth. Hip Hop, especially the music, has always been so raw and founded itself upon unfiltered storytelling. And it is through these stories that we as a people began to identify with one another, banding together around the life experiences & struggles we all shared. Hip Hop exposed to us both the bad and the good of our society like no genre before it – Hip Hop was the first time we saw Black people from the bottom become successful in the mainstream and made it was actually cool. It represented and still represents that anything is possible – rags to riches was the fulfilment of every rap story and for many, Hip Hop became a source of hope & the art-form that truly expressed the nature of our realities and the possibilities of more. I love Hip Hop man!
What advancements have you experienced through hip hop so far?
Hip Hop has allowed for me to share with the world my part of the story. It’s taken me to places I had yet to be, particularly when I had the opportunity to perform in Cape Town in October 2018. Hip Hop has introduced me to a lot of the people that I now consider friends.
I have had the pleasure of performing at platforms such as We Are One Music Festival [2018, with ASAP Shembe] and doing interviews on platforms that I would have never had the opportunity to, had I not rapped – such as YFM, Cliff Central, CAPS Radio, Wits Vuvuzela, Unorthodox Reviews, MxRadio and even this platform right here just to name a few.
It was through Hip Hop that I was able to perform at this year’s Back to The City PowerPlay 10K challenge. Hip Hop has, and continues to do a lot for me – I’m actually excited to see what more it has in store for me if I stay the course.
How would you imagine life without hip hop?
It is hard to even imagine that. Hip Hop has been a part of my life for the longest time and it basically dominates popular culture right now.
But I do imagine that a life without Hip Hop would be very dull, uninspiring and far less daring. For many of us, Hip Hop was the cape that helped propel us towards fearlessly chasing all that which we ever dreamed possible – and more.
If you were not into Hip hop, what or where would you be?
I am a nerd at heart truthfully. I love reading, and I believe that had I not been into Hip Hop, I would still be getting my truth out there in the form of writing books or publishing blogposts [depending on whatever seemed most relevant at the time].
I love solving problems too and applying my mind, so I could definitely see myself working within an organisation (more than likely my own – I’m stubborn like that) helping service the needs of my community or business in whatever capacity most necessary.
What is the Motive behind your Writings... especially your latest work?
Most of my music when carefully analysed, has a lot to do with self-improvement and my relationship with myself, the world around me – and GOD.
I want my music to capture the essence of the human experience and to be the gateway to larger conversations about the things that most desperately tug at our hearts as people.
I hope my music helps people, in whatever way that is relevant to them at whatever place they may find themselves in life at that particular moment when they hear it.
I make my music out of service (for the most part), for both myself and the world at large – I hope I truly get heard.
Thomas Hazey, what's the story behind this stage name?
Nothing too deep honestly. At the time, when I came up with the name – I was listening to rappers with names like ‘’Earl Sweatshirt’’, ‘’Mick Jenkins’’, ‘’Mac Miller’’, ‘’Khuli Chana’’ etc – so I decided that I wouldn’t call myself something cliché like ‘’Young …’’ or ‘’Lil …” so I came up with Thomas Hazardous, which eventually just became Thomas Hazey soon after.
You have been a part of many activities... How did you manage to get there?
For the most part, the music has been able to speak on my behalf and open certain doors for me. Actively putting myself out there, through the use of social media and just sharing my music with the right people who happened to possibly know someone who could lend a helping hand has also helped a lot. The greatest decision I ever made for myself, was to unashamedly be my biggest promoter – and fortunately for me, so far, it’s been working in my favour.
Find your truth and live in it, honestly.
What is that one thing that upcoming rappers do that stops their music from breaking through?
I am still trying to breakthrough myself, if I am being honest. I do, however, believe that owning your truth is the key to that. A lot of upcoming artists try to make the music that they believe people expect & want from them and as a consequence of that, they make music that is strikingly similar to what’s out there already [Whether sonically or content wise] and their story goes unheard of as a result.
Packaging and positioning is also an essential part of this industry. Talent alone is not enough, work on how you want to be seen by those you want to be seen by.
What can the Fans Expect from Thomas Hazey from now?
Definitely a lot more music, and a deeper dive into what it is exactly that I came to do and achieve with this music thing. I have some shows in my bag too, so people should definitely make the effort to come out and show me some love when I do go out and perform.
I am also working on a performance art piece with a dear friend, Oratile Papi Konopi – titled ‘’Bua Le Ene’’ , it’s a project that seeks to interrogate the relationship between men & women and the potentially violent nature of those connections, in an artistically creative way. People should definitely keep an eye out for that, that’s happening real soon.
But more than anything, those who support me should be in anticipation of my next project – ‘’So Help Me GOD’’ an album I am working on in collaboration with my brother Ndugu.Ndugu. I cannot wait till I can share that with the world.
Who do you want to send your Shout Outs to?
Firstly, Frequency Manipulation – my team.
Secondly, The homies and my friends who inspire me – ASAP Shembe, Seez, Eezy & the Ezy Entertainment team, Danger Power Ranger, Ty-Dilla, Swish 8-8, Sir Abster, Fireman R5, xSipping, Naxxion, Basso Relievo, The Us, We Are One Music, Under Pressure Sundays, Mane Attraction, Arcade Music and many more
Thirdly and definitely not least – My momma, everybody reading this article right now and anyone who has ever downloaded, streamed and shared my music. I love you all, truly.
Last but definitely not least – my favourite face, the one who’s cuter in person & doesn’t dare to touch her phone during the weekend, cutey (she knows herself, lol)
Link to my music : www.fanlink.to/ThomasHazey
TWITTER : @ThomasHazey
INSTAGRAM : @ThomasHazey
FACEBOOK : Thomas Hazey