If I were Sydney Shaw, my opening question when sitting down with any rapper would be “So, when did you fall in love with hip-hop?” But, no matter how many Rens and Tens show up in the music industry, this is not Brown Sugar. And luckily for me, Riyadh “Youngsta” Roberts volunteers the answer. “I’ll never forget that day,” he says. “I must have been five or six years old and my mom and I were in an Ackermans store.

“The lady at the till peered over the counter and looked at me. She asked my mom, ‘What’s he going to be when he grows up?’ My mommy looked at me and said ‘Tell her.’ So I told the woman, ‘When I grow up I want to be a rapper.’ My mommy was so shocked.” He covers his eyes and laughs. “She told the Ackermans woman that I was joking and I was so hurt that my own mother would say that.”

But the 19-year-old rapper from Wynberg, Cape Town has long put the past behind him and says, “My mommy kind of got used to the fact that this is what I’m going to do so she told me, ‘If you’re going to do it, then do it properly – not part-time.

“So she’s been behind me 100 percent and, to be honest, I think she would be the most disappointed if I stopped.”

If his track record is anything to go by, Youngsta won’t stop anytime soon. Before he released his debut album, Guy Fox, this year, Youngsta dropped 22 mixtapes in the past 22 months and he hopes to release two more by December. In an age where mixtapes tend to do better than actual albums (hey, J. Cole), it makes sense that new artists would take this approach to their career. But what about quality control?

“In a few years’ time, people are going to want to find music of mine,” says Youngsta.

“When I find a new rapper and I hear one good song, I always want to go back and find more. A classic example of this is Tupac. I’m glad he made all of those songs. I must also leave lots of music behind for when I’m gone one day. I want people to know me.

“Especially,” he looks down, “because I leave everything in the music.”

But still, 22 mixtapes? The youngun who sounds a lot like So Far Gone Drake with South African references is amused. “I have lots to say. I don’t verbally discuss my problems or whatever I’m feeling and I don’t work or study so this is how I vent. It’s my therapy.” Youngsta’s form of therapy landed him the title of King Of Street Rap in a nation-wide competition that sought to find the best rappers in the country. Many people were not pleased with the final decision and took to social networks to vent.

However, Youngsta is not stirred by the hate incurred from the finals where he beat Soweto’s Siya Chesa in Jozi. He says, “No-one wants someone to come to their city and take their stuff. That’s why there’s such a term as ‘hometown hero’. But I believe in healthy competition – we are here for the same thing, so let’s enjoy it.” Youngsta may know when he first fell in love with hip-hop but he has no idea where it will take him in future. But one thing is certain, he’ll still be rapping and “will probably release an album in the next two years because I want people to demand it.”