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A chat with South African ‘Hip Hop Pop’ star Jack Parow in Dubai

South African rapper, Zander Tyler, better known for his stage name Jack Parow, performed in Dubai last week

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South African rapper, Zander Tyler, better known for his stage name Jack Parow, performed in Dubai last week as part of the HOUSEofAFRIKA ‘Live Sessions’ series. The Afrikaans rapper has made waves in South Africa with songs such as “Cooler as Ekke” and “Dans Dans Dans” and has been the opening act for A-listers such as Eminem and Snoop Dog. Al Arabiya English recently caught up with the Afrikaans musician and chatted about his rising career, performance in Dubai, and future plans.

Tell us a bit more about yourself, who is Jack Parow?

I am an Afrikaans rapper from the northern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. I make music that is made for good times and good vibes. The world is such a serious place most of the time so I try and change that as much as I can. I’ve been all over the world and I’ve flown through Dubai so many times, but last year I entered it for the first time for a show and it blew my mind. What a cool place and what a fun time. The show was huge and everyone involved was so cool. I have been anxious to come back.

What was your childhood like?

Filled with music and friends, and it’s still like that. Cape Town is a special place and I feel privileged to live there. It has an energy and a way that you find nowhere else.

How did you get into music?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I recorded some of my pieces when I was older and the people that heard it liked it. So I made a video with my friends who all had to work for free because I was broke [laughs]. But luckily they did and the video blew up on YouTube and then I pretty much just continued having fun and making music, and that’s what I’m still doing.

What is the story behind your name?

The town I was born in is called Parow so one night when I got home after a party I turned the television on and pirates of the Caribbean was on and I said: "Who is Jack Sparrow the pirate of the Caribbean? I’m Jack Parow the pirate of the caravan park" And then it became a bit of a running joke for a while and ended up becoming my stage name.

What is the message you are trying to get across with your music and videos?

My music is very much about having fun and enjoying yourself and life. As I said earlier, the world is such a heavy place and we get bombarded by that fact every day in the media. So when I go out at night and watch a show, I want to be taken away from that and for that time forget about what might be going on in my life or in the world, so that’s what I try to give people - a form of escape.

What were your thoughts when you were invited to Dubai to perform?

As I said, I have traveled through Dubai many times but I had never entered, so when I heard I was going to play a show here I was ecstatic. And it didn’t disappoint. It is an amazing city, filled with cool people and good vibes.

What are the future plans for Jack Parow?

I’m starting on my new album and I’m also filming a TV show which is airing on Kyknet a South African TV channel. It involves my friend and I riding around South Africa on a Harley and having fun. I am also heading back to Europe for some shows after Dubai. Other than that I’m just touring and having fun while I can.