Deon T Daniels aka DJ Ready D, was born in District Six, Cape Town on 11 December 1968, before the residents there were forcibly removed. Ready D and his family would be moved to Lentegeur, Mitchell’s Plain towards the end of the forced removals period. His father, however,  passed away a year and a half before their forced removal.

He would hear hip hop for the first time on a portable record player, owned by friends of his older sister. These friends worked on the boats and travelled around the world, bringing home music on vinyl. Ready D cites Rapper’s Delight as the first hip-hop song he heard, when he was 11. He says that “When [he] heard Rapper’s Delight it completely blew [his] mind because [he] recognised the sample from Good Times from a group called Chic.” [1] Ready D’s father used to listen to this music during the disco era. For Ready D, this was a mind-blowing experience as the artists, the Sugarhill Gang, were rapping about experiences that he could relate to, to music that he was familiar with through his father.  As he was the youngest in group, he used to be the one who played the music for everyone. He credits this, in an interview for Goodhope Radio, as being a reason he became a DJ. [2]

He was very influenced by music from overseas, as well as the hip hop culture. In the early 1980s, Michael Jackson was huge in Mitchells Plain. Yet, Ready D was still “stuck on the sound he had heard” before. [3] His first exposure to the wider hip hop culture was through an avant-garde music producer named Malcolm McLaren. McLaren was making music by fusing together South African music, punk rock and hip hop. [4] This was Ready D’s first exposure to scratching records, as well as the B-Boy dance culture. Despite the state of emergency in the 1980s, Ready D and his friends would find space on street corners to dance and play their music. Ready D recalls how they used to set up on the ‘White side’ of the train station, as the floor was cleaner and easier to dance on. [5]

A haven for hip hop at the time was Teasers Club on Harrington Street. Ready D recalls how it was the first time he was interacting with white people without fear of violence. This was something he would have to get used to over time. Teasers Club was a melting pot of different genres. He recalls that when confronted with coloured guys dressed as punks, he was very confused. [6] As time went on, hip hop came to dominate the scene at the club. Teasers would move to Shortmarket Street and be renamed, The Base. [7] It was here that Ready D met Shaheen Ariefdien, one of the future founding members of Prophets of the City. Ready D recounts how he knew that Ariefdien’s father, Issie, owned a recording studio. For this reason, Ready D knew he needed to demonstrate his skills. Shaheen Ariefdien was impressed by D’s ability and Prophets of the City (POC), the first South African hip hop group to record and release music through a major label, was born. At first, Shaheen’s and Ready D’s goals were not aligned. Ariefdien was a political activist who spoke about Mandela and Biko. Ready D, however, simply wanted to become a ‘ghetto superstar’, and have the possessions that the Sugarhill Gang had sung about on ‘Rapper’s Delight’. [8] Yet, as the socio-political situation in Cape Town and South Africa worsened, Ready D found himself becoming more politically conscious.

POC released their first album, Our World,  in 1990. It featured the first ever Afrikaans hip hop song, Dala Flat. Two years later, after the additions of Ramone Dewet, Clement Snyders aka Jazzmo, Ishmael Morabe and Junior Dredd, POC had become more representative of the country as a whole with local languages incorporated into their songs other than just English, Afrikaans and Cape Flats slang. As the political climate intensified in the early 90s, so did the lyrics of POC’s songs. It was in this climate that POC’s most groundbreaking album was produced, Age of Truth. Indeed, the album very nearly did not see the light of day. When recording Age of Truth in Boputhaswana, at a state of the art recording studio, POC ran into trouble with an engineer who overheard the highly incendiary nature of the song they were recording. In Ready D’s words, the engineer ‘threw a fit’ and confiscated all the tapes, masters and equipment. POC’s manager, however, was able to slip a backup master into his back pocket and it was from this master that the album was circulated. [9] Yet, this increasing politicisation of POC’s message was hurting the group as they were losing many gigs and work.

The group was, however, booked to perform at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration in 1994. The performance was almost not to be as their part in the proceedings was cancelled before the event. POC’s manager once again came to the rescue and negotiated the group back into the programme, albeit without their equipment and backing tracks. Ready D states that this was done to discourage them from performing, due to their critical political message. [10] They circumvented this setback by utilizing Jazzmo’s beatbox abilities. With him providing the beat, the group performed as if they would if they had their equipment. This high would not last long, however, as their music was banned after the inauguration due to the content. POC’s critical view of the transition process was deemed too radical in the reconciliatory atmosphere that Mandela’s government was striving to foster. [11]

Due the banning, Prophets of the City now had to record and produce their music in the United Kingdom. They released the album, Universal Souljaz, from the UK. [12] POC grew in popularity overseas and toured Western Europe, Scandinavia, Ireland and Scotland. The group was also travelling between South Africa and the UK. They were also part of Right to Hope from 1996 to 1999, dealing with issues relating to trouble spots around the world. This was an opportunity for POC to both represent South Africa and learn from other people from places such as Northern Ireland, The Middle East, Rwanda and the USA.

It was at this time that Brasse Vannie Kaap (BVK) came into being. Ready D describes the group as a ‘different direction’ with the primary language being Afrikaans and Cape slang, with less of an ‘in your face’ political angle. [13] As a result, Ready D was part of two groups making music on opposite sides of the globe.

By 2002,Ready D had become the resident DJ on The Phat Joe Show which aired on SABC 1. [14] This show would run between 2002 and 2004. DJ Ready D recounts that in 2002, he was invited to DJ at an event in Mozambique. The event was a premiere for a film, Ali, which starred Will Smith. At the party, Ready D would meet Will Smith and DJ for him. D recounts that he admired Smith’s professionalism. [15]

DJ Ready D released his first solo album in 2005, entitled Not For The Fainthearted, Vol 1. However, he would go on to be more than just a DJ in the coming years. That same year, he set up Full Contact records. He would then be the presenter and creative director of a television show, Mzanzi Rides in 2006. A year later, he would be back on television as the presenter of the show, Decktales with Ready D. In 2010, DJ Ready D would have his own show on Good Hope Radio, which continues as of 2018. He then released his second solo, but first self-produced, album in 2014. This album was entitled, Big Air Society. A year later, DJ Ready D would receive an Honorary and Lifetime Achievement Award at the South African Hip Hop Awards ceremony. [16]


[1] Interview with Dan Corder, “DJ Ready D’s Hip Hop Heritage: Part 1”,

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Gasant Abarder, “#FridayFiles: How Ready D became a Grandmaster DJ”, 14 October 2016,

[5] Mohato Lekena, “The Life and Times of DJ Ready D: Part 1”, 18 April 2016,

[6] DJ Ready D’s Hip Hop Heritage: Part 1,

[7] Mohato Lekena, “The Life and Times of DJ Ready D: Part 1”

[8] Mohato Lekena, “The Life and Times of DJ Ready D: Part 1”, 18 April 2016,<

[9] DJ Ready D’s Hip Hop Heritage: Part 1,

[10] Ibid

[11] Mohato Lekena, “The Life and Time sof DJ Ready D: Part 2”, 25 April 2016,

[12] Ibid

[13] Mohato Lekena, “The Life and Times of DJ Ready D: Part 2”, 25 April 2016,

[14] DJ Ready D website, “About”,

[15] DJ Ready D’s Hip Hop Heritage: Part 2,

[16] DJ Ready D website, “About”,


Mohato Lekena, “The Life and Times of DJ Ready D: Part 1”, 16 April 2016,|Mohato Lekena, “The Life and Times of DJ Ready D: Part 1”, 16 April 2016|Mohato Lekena, “The Life and Times of DJ Ready D: Part 1”, 16 April 2016|DJ Ready D website, “About”,| Dan Corder, “DJ Ready D’s Hip Hop Heritage”, Interview series: Part 1: ;Part 2:; Part 3:

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