Hip hop has withstood the test of time. Since its inception, the genre has lyricized the struggles of many and transformed stories of hardship, heartache, social decay, perseverance and success into rhythms and rhymes that have revolutionized the art of storytelling. Seen as more than just a genre, hip hop is an art form, a culture and a movement that continues to grow and provide individuals with a platform to express themselves.
While the lyrical mastery of Tupac, A Tribe Called Quest, Proverb, and HHP still lives on and is enjoyed by many, new wordsmiths are joining the hip hop community every day. One such genius is Uno July, who is not only making waves with his rhymes but changing the hip hop landscape in South Africa. Reigning from the Mother City, Uno July began his career in 2005 and has done nothing but continue to perfect his craft to become one of the most celebrated artists of our time, which is probably why, he was featured in the top 5 artists to look out for in 2010 by Elle Magazine and GQ Magazine named him one of South Africa’s cool Top 35 Under 35 in 2015. But if that does not convince or impress you, then perhaps Uno’s 24 Hour Project initiative, which saw Uno produce not ONE but TWO albums in 24 hours will do the trick…
Ya, you read right and it also probably goes without saying that your curiosity has been piqued.
So, now that I have your attention let me reintroduce you to Uno July, South African hip hop’s very own mad scientist who is progressively challenging mainstream norms and creating a new sound that blends old school hip hop with a modernized twist that creates something even more phenomenal. Originally a member of the hip hop duo Ill Skillz, Uno July has since gone solo in 2015 amazed, impressed and revolutionized the hip hop game in South Africa like never before. Taking music as more than just a numbers game fixated on record sales, music awards and platinum albums, Uno’s artistry resurrects the culture of hip hop as an art form, bringing it back to its roots with a style and finesse that only Uno July can pull off.
With over a decade of experience in the game, Uno July is holding nothing back and his blend of hip hop has not only been raising the musical antennas of many but also affording him the opportunity to share the stage with a notable list of international and local artists including geniuses such as Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mos Def, Slum Village and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few. Since stepping onto the scene Uno July has been causing mayhem consistently delivering perfection with Salem, 90’s Laaitie and Swelekisa being just a few of his hit singles.
Uno July’s success thus far is nothing but well deserved and there is definitely no denying that his brand of music will withstand the test of time. If hip hop was art, the beat would be the canvass and Uno July would be South African hip hop’s very own da Vinci painting his fast-paced rhymes time and time again to create timeless masterpieces that never lose their lustre much like the Mona Lisa. The leaps that Uno July has made since breaking onto the hip hop scene coupled with his determination, ambition, confidence, passion and boldness, truly put him in a league of his own. One has to agree with Uno when he says he is not JUST a rapper – he definitely is so much more, he is in fact a cultural curator, an innovator, an artist that is living true to the statement and reminding us all that like Grandmaster Caz said “hip hop did not invent anything, but it reinvented everything”.