MASERU – Lehlohonolo Nkole, better known to hordes of fans as Magnum Maestro, says he sees himself as one of the biggest names on the African continent as far as Hip Hop/Rap is concerned. The 28-year-old Hip Hop recording artist from Maputsoe, Leribe, began crafting his art in the latter half of 2008 under the Rap name, J-sick. A year later, upon graduating to Rap’s hard-core sub-genre, he changed his stage name to Magnum Maestro.
In 2010 he co-founded and led the Black Panthers, a crew of rappers from Maputsoe which was named after the famous African American liberation movement by the same name. The crew consisted of 10 members at one point. During its existence the crew released two mixtapes independently, ‘The 24 Thorns’ in 2009 and ‘Jaws & Claws’ in 2011 – both released under Black Panthers Music & Co. The Black Panthers ultimately broke up during the during recording of their third mixtape which would have been titled ‘Behind the Blue Eyes’ in 2012. Upon the crew’s disintegration, Magnum Maestro began pursuing a solo music career.
He is currently signed to his own record label known as RL Muzik Co which was established months before the 2012 collapse of the Black Panthers crew. His sound is for all types of listeners, he said, whether they prefer the heavier lyrically based songs or the catchy chorus and moving rhythms. Under his independent label, Magnum Maestro released one EP in 2016, titled RTWM – Reigniting That Winning Mentality/Rise of The Titanium War Machine.
This was an introduction to his fans. Since its release he has performed on many stages all across the country. The project itself had a good balance of the new school sound fused with the 90s sound which served a dual crowd hence encompassing any and every person regardless of their taste. Magnum Maestro also released a project titled ‘The King EP’ through a series of free singles from July 2017.
In October 2019, Magnum Maestro became brand ambassador and artist with Maputsoe-based film and fashion label TYCOONSeries after being a long time affiliate of the brand. This partnership has seen him partake in a wide range of TYCOONSeries platforms including events, movies and advertisements.
This year in June he also released an EP in June titled ‘Digital Rain’. The EP ascended to No 1 on the LesMusic Chart with all six songs from that project being at the top for numerous weeks; secondly, he released music videos ‘@3am & freestyle’, ‘Lick Shot & Drip’. All are on the TYCOONSeries YouTube channel. Recently he released ‘Digital Rain Deluxe’, which is also on the LesMusic Charts with the leading single ‘Bikinyana’ produced by DJ Bull currently on the No 2 spot on the chart.
“In years to come I see myself as one of the biggest names on the African continent as far as Hip Hop/Rap is concerned. “Inspiration has always come from everywhere really. It can be from everyday life, certain topics from movies, other artists, things I pick up from reading or researching a lot which is something I do often but for the most of it stem from living in Maputsoe where I come from. A lot goes on and I always try to document it through my music,” he told Life&Style.
“I look up to quite a number of artists for various reasons. Some for their storytelling abilities such as Nas, 2Pac, J.Cole and so on. Those to whose business acumen I look up to include Jay Z, 50 Cent, Rick Ross, AKA, Khuli Chana.
“Locally I can pinpoint Kommanda Obbs and Papa Zee. These are guys from our part of the world that showed us that one can make it to the world stage hailing from such a troubled town,” he said.