Queer hip-hop artist Dope Saint Jude is breaking boundaries one kick-ass rap at a time – and we love it!
She enters a room and you can immediately tell that Catherine Saint Jude Pretorius has a magnetic energy that draws people in. Her ‘too cool for school’ aura makes you believe that maybe if you hung around her more, you would be a whole lot cooler too. When you plug in your earphones and listen to any one of her songs, you will quickly pick up that Dope Saint Jude is fiercely unapologetic about who she is, and we just can’t get enough of it.
Originally from Cape Town but now based in London, the rapper notes the Mother City will always be her home, as it has influenced who she is, her music and even her rap alter ego. ‘I was always interested in poetry and music as a teenager. I was also quite involved in the queer scene in Cape Town and watched a lot of drag queens perform,’ she says. However, it was only when she decided to pursue drag and perform as a drag king that her love for rap music emerged, as well as the creation of her on-stage persona, Dope Saint Jude. Saint Jude, her namesake, is the Catholic patron saint of lost causes, which resonated. She then decided to add ‘dope’ to make it a bit different from her given name and because, well, it sounds dope. Having grown up in South Africa meant that Dope Saint Jude was exposed to many different cultures and perspectives, which is clearly reflected in the music she produces. She also uses her music to addresses important issues in the most honest way, which is genuinely refreshing. We’re here for it!
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The most important thing for us at ClubX is to feature people who have the ability to inspire the youth, and we believe that Dope Saint Jude can do just that! She is not afraid to shed light on the harsh realities that some of us face living in South Africa, and is unfiltered when it comes to her sexuality, as well as the importance of diverse representation in the rap industry. ‘When we see different kinds of people, we are exposed to different kinds of stories and experiences. This helps us to understand and empathise with other people’s struggles, even if it’s something far removed from our own lives,’ she explains. And this is exactly the type of message she hopes people will take away from listening to her music: that it’s okay to be different and that we need to appreciate and celebrate authenticity.
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It’s this very same authenticity that has seen her music gain popularity among international crowds. She recently embarked on a year-long tour across Europe that has already enabled her to perform in many French cities as well as in Belgium, Portugal and even Croatia. She hasn’t forgotten about us back home, though, and managed to visit Durban to perform at the Zakifo Music Festival in May. When asked whether she has noticed difference between the international and local crowds, she let on that performing at home feels like performing for her family, so there is a lot more pressure. However, with every performance, she aims to bring the same amount of respect and love. It’s this passion and desire to forge her own lane that makes her such a stand-out star for
Words: Kayla Van Kerpel | Images: Samantha Pinto