Most rappers stumble upon their penchant for words as early teens rhyming along to their favourite MC. But for Hakeem “Flexboogie” Lesolang it was something he inherited. With drummer for a father and an uncle who told stories that kept the whole family awake till early morning hours, he
almost had no choice.
Growing up in Madidi, a remote village in the north West province of South Africa, he keenly
listened to the fascinating stories his uncle orated in his home language of Setswana. The same
uncle introduced him to his hip-hop cassettes at age 9 and Flex hasn’t dropped his pen and pad
since. Entertaining, distinctive and unstoppable: Hakeem went from performing in the lounge
for family members to free styling in cyphers on street corners of Sunnyside Pretoria until finally
recording with his group BA4ZA whom he met while attending afternoon prayers at an inner city mosque in Pretoria.
With the release of their Album Bruthahood the group became known as “the godfathers of Cap
City rap” . Their definitive Pretoria signature sound left the rest of the South African scene wide
eyed with wonder for most of the last decade. Although they haven’t disbanded, the pressures of
growing up, becoming fathers, working 9 to 5 jobs and the disillusioning state of SA Hip-Hop at the
time forced them to slow down.
Flex Boogie defied the convention opting instead to stay in the scene. He went on to TV presenting,
anchoring a weekly hip-hop show called ShizNiz and then opening a concept store with fellow
BA4ZA group mate Maliq Mahlangu. They cemented their reputation as entrepreneurs, creatives
and leaders in the game with the creation of the House of Hip Hop (Triple H) brand. They set up a website, concept store and organised hip-hop events at venues such as the National State Theatre.
In 2010 Boogie released his debut solo album Pens and Swords . An amalgamation of SeTswana
folklore and hip-hop storytelling the album provided a new twist the to the Motswako sound
popularised by other BaTswana artists such as HHP and Tuks.
Most know him for his flamboyant dress sense and his energetic antics on stage but Flex Boogie says
the two most important things that keep him grounded are his 4 year old daughter Bonolo and his
He is currently working on a project titled When we were Kings with his business partner Maliq
Mahlangu. The project will feature the likes of Tumi Molekane from Tumi and The Volume and
production from Thir13teen amongst others.
He hopes one day BA4ZA can reunite to make more classic music.
Check out the video below as Flex reflects on being African, Performing and why rap chose him.