Rising stars | Meet The Billionaires, queer DJs looking to take the game by storm | Drum

Rising stars | Meet The Billionaires, queer DJs looking to take the game by storm | Drum

It’s not just a job, it’s a way of life. 

DJs these days do so much more than simply spin bangers from behind the decks.

They thrill with their moves in front of their stations, release well composed albums and compilations which have spurned the rise of amapiano and more recently three step.

Of late we have seen DJs taking to delivering sets as pairs as is the case with the much talked about duo 2Faced.

Developments in DJ culture happen rapidly.

To add to this ever-evolving soundscape are a pair of gentlemen who call themselves The Billionaires.

Meet The Billionaires

The Billionaires

The Billionaires say being homosexual in the music industry comes with some challenges but they push past these for the love of what they do.


Ngcebo Mdima and Karabo Motlogelwa make up The Billionaires, a duo of queer DJs who have recently revealed their magnum opus, an EP entitled Sons of the Soil.

“Since I was in primary school, I had this calling of being in the entertainment industry, I took interest in the local TV drama,” the 38-year-old Ngcebo says.

After matric he left Durban for Johannesburg to pursue his dreams. Ngcebo enrolled at Unisa and studies PR and Communications at that time. “I also applied to intern on the most popular soapie at that time, Isidingo, after a month or so, I received a response stating I will be commencing immediately. After four years of working with on the soapie, I resigned and wanted to pursue my career in music.”

He took his time studying the moves of the A-list DJs of the time and eventually built up the courage to approach veteran house DJ Ganyani, who asked for his references and Ngcebo was hired on the spot by this architect of the local house movement.

“After DJ Ganyani, I worked for Universal Music which provided me with vast knowledge regarding a music label. Currently my partner and I own an independent label which is Charlie Communications that’s taking care of The Billionaires catalogue,” he boasts.   

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Karabo Motlogelwa grew up with both his parents and spent most of his weekends listening to the music they would play.

“This made me fall in love with music at a very tender age and it exposed me to various genres of music. Even when I had to choose extra-curricular activities in school, I chose music. That’s where I learnt how to play musical instruments such as marimba, violin and flute. I was also part of the school’s band.

“Fast forward to 2022 when my partner Ngcebo and I decided to take DJing lessons to further pursue our love for music and since we both enjoyed entertaining, it was easier to DJ as a duo rather than individually. We spent four months learning how to DJ and produce from Volume Academy and after we completed our course, we bought CDJ’s so that we could familiarise how to curate and sync songs accurately,” the 29-year-old recounts.

A study of the game

From this their careers were born and now they are looking to thrill audiences with their efforts. It has only been a little over one year since they have been actively making music with the intention of releasing it.

“My partner and I are fans of Afro House music so, after having to assist so many A list artists under our agency such as Sithelo Shozi, TNS, Prince Kaybee, Nokwazi to name a few, we thought it would be great to tell our beautiful story through The Sons Of The Soil EP which features powerful vocalists such as Bukeka, Lizwi SA, Indlovukazi, Viwo Kulati to name a few.  I am honoured to announce that this EP is for us by us,” Ngcebo says.

Their seven-track EP, titled Sons of The Soil, is said to be a beautiful exploration of love, unity, diversity, and spirituality. The story behind it is deeply rooted in the human experience and seeks to convey a message of connection and understanding. The inspiration behind creating this EP came from a desire to celebrate the richness of shared human experience. They wanted to create a musical journey that would resonate with people from all walks of life, regardless of their background or beliefs. By highlighting themes like love, unity, diversity, and spirituality, the pair aimed to create a space where listeners could find solace, inspiration, and a sense of belonging. The songs on Sons of The Soil are carefully crafted to reflect these themes.

“Each track tells a unique story, drawing from different musical styles and cultural influences. Through heartfelt lyrics, captivating melodies, and soul-stirring rhythms, we aimed to create an emotional connection with our audience and ignite a sense of collective consciousness.”

Rooted in the parameters of Afro tech and Afro house with nuances of tribal music they have found a melodious balance, “that transports listeners to a different realm. Our Afro tech and Afro house elements are infused with a vibrant and soulful energy, making it impossible for people to resist the urge to dance. Our ability to curate a diverse selection of tracks that embody the essence of love, unity and spirituality as reflected in our EP sets us apart as artists with a purpose. 

“The incorporation of these themes into our music not only creates a unique sonic experience but also resonates deeply with our audience on a spiritual and emotional level. Overall, what makes us stand out is our ability to blend sounds in a way that is both innovative and captivating. Our sound is a celebration of culture, diversity and the power of music to unite people across boundaries,” Karabo says.

Unapologetically authentic

Now of course they will be looking to engage with the club and event circuit, and they swear a live performance by The Billionaires is an electrifying experience.

 “We set the stage on fire, we break all boundaries, the crowd interacts with the brand, we even get the opportunity to be tipped while we on the decks, crowd appreciating our set and we are forever grateful. Our live shows are always on fire, we don’t just dance and focus on the decks, my darling we dance, we jump, we clap, we sing along leaving no stone unturned,” says Ngcebo.

Being that the pair are romantically involved and homosexual in a country with a wavering sense of tolerance, this has presented a few unnecessary challenges for the DJs.

Most heterosexual promoters are hesitant to book us thinking we might not be able to cope on stage, others would think we are playing with a mix tape, not to mention promoters asking the brand to come for a trial meaning, we won’t get paid. Others would advise our manager Tumelo Goosen not to shake our bums when we DJ,” Karabo chuckles.

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“Like really? With the experience we got from DJ Ganyani, we would overcome these challenges by being extremely professional with the schedule if other fellow DJs and promoters are giving you a hard time at an event as they would want to play before your time. Standing your ground is very crucial in this dog-eat-dog industry,” Karabo emphasises. 

Pushing societal constraints to the side they continue to look to emulate the work of such acts as Caiiro, DJ Supta, Black Coffee, DJ Merlon, Enoo Napa and Shimza.   “Their signature Afro house sound has inspired us to embrace the culture and the movement. Their ability to seamlessly blend different genres has added a fresh and dynamic element to the local music scene, attracting a diverse fan base.

Their sound has not only garnered international recognition but has also paved the way for other local artists like us to be exposed to international sounds. This has provided a fresh perspective and pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved within the realm of afro-house in our music scene,” Karabo explains.

Wise words to note

The Billionaires

The Billionaires say that 2024 will be a memorable year for them.


The charismatic duo have a few insights to impart to anyone looking to venture into the world of local DJ culture.

“Master your craft: Dedicate time to honing your skills and becoming proficient in your chosen style of music. Practice consistently, experiment with different techniques, and stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies in the industry.

“Build a strong network: Networking is key in the music industry. Attend events, connect with fellow artists, promoters, and industry professionals. Collaborate with other musicians, join online communities, and seek mentorship from experienced individuals who can offer guidance and support.”

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The pair also urge aspiring talents to be fearless in their creativity and to promote their own brands.

“Develop a unique identity and brand that represents your style and personality. Establish an online presence through social media platforms, a website, and a professional portfolio. Regularly share your music, engage with your audience, and build a loyal fan base.”

They also believe it is crucial to learn and adapt to the constantly changing soundscape and to take criticisms on board and build on that.

Safeguarding talent is also paramount to The Billionaires, “protect your work. Copyright your original music and ensure you understand the legal aspects of the industry. It’s important to protect your intellectual property and make informed decisions regarding licensing, royalties, and contracts.”

Ngcebo says their plans are plentiful and that they will look to have a momentous 2024.

“We are currently pushing the Sons of The Soil EP and we have shot two music videos and we will be shooting the third in January 2024. We will also be shooting our reality TV show and soon it will be on your screens. We are also creating awards of which I think South Africa will be grateful for.”

Source: https://www.snl24.com/drum/celebs/news/rising-stars-meet-the-billionaires-queer-djs-looking-to-take-the-game-by-storm-20231116