Hip-hop has seen a tremendous growth in South Africa, but there is still a wide range of different views as to what makes the best hip-hop song. Different people have different tastes in as far as hip-hop is concerned; some prefer hardcore rap that is lyrically-charged and others want those hip-hop songs that makes them dance and careless of the level of creativity adopted in putting together the words or generally the content. The truth is hip-hop is an art and although many people believe it is losing its essence one can still argue that it is evolving.
With the aforementioned, it is important to outline some of the best hip-hop artists of our time in South Africa. (Not in any order).
When you’ve been feeling like hip-hop is been heavily commercialized and done solely for financial gains you need to listen to Shane Eagle, Cutting corners is the prescription but it has to be taken with his whole Yellow album which is arguably the best hip-hop album ever made in South Africa. Shane reminded us what hip-hop is all about, he redirected the industry to where it is supposed to be headed and that makes him the best.
Hip-hop fans are anxiously anticipating the release of Strings and Bling an album which Nasty C is to release ‘soon’. He had been dropping snippets to hip-hop lovers for them to slightly experience what to expect. He claimed, speaking to TshisaLive, that he is the best in Mzansi and that he is not worried about the competition because he heard their music and it is lame. We need not to add more to that, he said it.
Roll up came in and it was by it that most of us got introduced to Emtee, the song won him the record of the year award at the SAMAs (South African Music Awards). Emtee was also a nominee for the BET Viewer’s Choice Award. He had achieved great and had gathered a number of awards that aren’t fistful, it is no doubt he belongs to this list.
Kwesta’s township style of approach to this genre and his (need not to be auto-tuned) voice has challenged the perspectives of most rigid hip-hop fans. He is among those rap artists that know what to do with a beat that one might think needs a kwaito spin. Numbers don’t lie and Kwesta’s single, spirit, is the first South African hip-hop song that managed to reach platinum before the music video is even released. Now how can all that not make him one of the bests?
The duo have headlined a lot of international tours in Europe and various parts of the world, and that in its self should reflect the credibility of the group. The duo made a name for themselves by merely challenging stereotypes, they entered the industry from an odd angle, a comical stance that is diluted with the historical vulgar-rave-rap that we’ve grown knowing linked to hip-hop and that’s what makes them the best.
Who wasn’t dancing to Boss Zonke? Of course, it is important to first and foremost pass the recent declaration made by Ricky Rick as to what he implied in the song Le Mpitse when he mentioned that what happened to him is the same thing that happened to 50 cent. Prior Rick could clarify his fans on what he implied Tumi came forth explaining in a line on the song Clean Stuff and he said ‘so what happened to Ricky? Is the same thing that happened to Reason, he was touched by a god, I gave him the plate, now he eats.’
With an MTV Africa Music Award under his belt, three BET nominees and a various number of other South African awards in his name he is a successful rap artist. He even asked his fans to cease wasting their money on voting for him for this year’s SAMAs awards as he feels he has been rewarded enough-Who says that? AKA’s Caiphus Song, World is Yours and Don’t Forget to Pray are nominated in the SAMAs Record Of The Year category.
Nothing is as good as having everyone feeling they are all equally represented-that is however not a reason why Nakai is on this list. Nakai has a good track record in the industry from being the very first female to win the Shiz Niz mixtape challenge to being where she is today it is no doubt that she indeed inspire other aspirant female hip-hop artists.
After returning from the Netherlands where he hosted a Parow Fest which sold out, Jack Parow dropped Afrika for Beginners another parowtic music project as we all know that nothing is more South African than Jack Parow and it will be an injustice to talk of the best in the country and leave him behind. An inextricable fact is that authenticity is a fundamental ingredient when we talk of the best and that’s Parow my bro.
He filled up FNB stadium, one of the biggest arenas on the continent and had sold out up to 68 000 tickets tripled the number from his first fill up campaign in 2015 and no rapper or rap group in this country has ever achieved that before. His latest album Thuto released in 2017 is one of the albums that are doing great. What makes Cassper fit into this list is obviously his work ethic, he is arguably the hardest working hip-hop artist in the country releasing songs all the time.