abyssThis Durban-based emcee is not at all new to the game. Those who are familiar with the Durban underground Hip Hop scene might remember him from the days of Caprice, a duo to which he belonged circa 2011, along with Sihle ‘Flowmatik’ Mlungwane. Calmin Arnold, also known as Calliez when on stage, is one of the best in terms of painting a vivid picture using words. We got ahold of this Durban native to find out more about his single, why he went quiet in the game and what listeners can expect from him this time around.

Who is Calliez and what do you do?

Calliez – a sideline outtie who sits on the bench for a living.

How would you describe your sound?

Blacksheep, lonely, rejected and sideline sound/music.

You’re not new in the game — please tell the people why you went quiet.

Well, it takes time to get the mind right, another pair of eyes to get the sight right and isolation to keep the heart in check… and I quote myself from the single I just did “I was pressured and had to leave on a journey of faith and belief, that opportunity created the thief, my place was taken (stolen) now I start from beneath, I dug the trenches with my teeth, the foundation was for a chief.”

What is your take on SA Hip Hop right now?

My response for this one is “THE SUPER MEGA”!!! [laughs] By the way Hip Hop is now S.A’s biggest culture.

Where would you say you draw inspiration from?

Sihle Mlungwane (my bench mate), poverty…and from my other black sheep.

What defines artistry, for you?

808s and Heartbreaks — an album by Kanye West.

Can we expect a project from Calliez anytime soon?

[laughs] Jay electronica and Dre make me not want to use the word soon…but as “soon” as I meet the right connections…we’ll drop a genius.

Where can people hear your music?

We can Facebook (Calliez Aswad), and who knows maybe you (reading this) are the connection I’m seeking.

What are the SIX bars that define you? [They could be your bars or anyone’s]

Ok, these are my own and at the moment these define me:

“Guess who’s the ass today (me), safe to say I learnt well from master Ye (Kanye), the only thing short is a Kardashian hey, but she can only come my way if my cash is straight, and things are looking like I never dashed the straight (Smirnoff), or crashed or ate, crooked like I stole and drank the crate (case of beers)”.

You guys can listen to Voices by Calliez here.