Down South: The 10 Hottest Rappers in South Africa
South Africa's hip-hop industry has been on the rise since the days of mid-'90s crew Prophets of Da City, the country's first major hip-hop group. Today, SA is enjoying a golden era of hip-hop, celebrating the freshest and realest MCs in the country. Here we've compiled a list of the nation's top current MCs in the limelight, while remembering the birth of hip-hop in South Africa and paying homage to the great game-changers who created and cleared a path for hip-hop to become what it is today in "Mzansi" (The South).
MCs such as Amu, SPEX, Pitch Black Afro, HHP and groups such as Skwatta Kamp and H20, as well as contributors like Lance Stehr—who started South Africa's first hip-hop label, Ghetto Ruff Records—all played major roles in putting South African hip-hop on the map and inspiring the new artists of today. With the credit given where it's certainly due, it's clear that the competition between SA's MCs is thick and can continually be debated upon, but here's the list of XXL's top 10 finest MCs in South Africa.--Compiled and written by Rudzani "RooAt" Netshiheni
Being called the "Prince of SA Rap" is just one of the few things this 25-year-old rapper has managed to achieve in an extremely short period of time. Kiernan Forbes, known to many as AKA, has taken the SA hip-hop scene by storm, after choosing to take on a solo career and parting with his former group Entity. Joints such as "Victory Lap" and "Jealousy" have managed to seal the rapper's rise to fame, who hasn't disappointed from the start. With the current release of his new joint, "Kontrol" (ft. Da Les), the "Prince" of SA hip-hop is destined for great things.
Credited for taking "Motswako" music to the next level, this famous South African rapper has been in the game for quite a while, and is regarded as one of the country's musical treasures. The Motswako originator has always managed to produce fresh music, highlighted by joints such as "Freshe," "No More Hunger" and "Tswa Daar"—all of which have proved as testimonials to Khuli Chana's hype.
Being no stranger to the SA scene, this MC started out competing in rap battles back in the day and has since grown to become a mainstream success. Having released his Audio 3D album in 2012, the recently signed Motif Records artist is deadly on the mic and continues to produce classic music for all to hear.
Staying true to his roots, Blaklez has managed to continually prove his relevance within the industry by representing Cap City. He recently release his new album, titled Black Beast, which has garnered him major attention and recognition in the scene.
One of SA's most respected MCs, Proverb started rapping in 1999 and has since kept true to his music and lyrics. After a long silence in the game, he has finally dropped his much-anticipated new album FourthWrite, which definitely proves that Proverb's still got what it takes to shine.
Widely regarded as the "poetic emcee," Tumi is considered to be in his own league, matching his wordplay with contemplative lyrics that a true MC isn't afraid to explore. He brought love and hip-hop together way before VH1 did, and he's still at it.
Having just released his new single, "Who You Lovin'," L-Tido has managed to keep his cred up in the SA hip-hop game. He's continued to grind on features and has produces smashes for other artists, consistently keeping him in the spotlight.
He's not just a rapper, but a producer who has made a name for himself in a short period of time. Born in Kwa-Mashu, the "Lasi" rapper has made his mark by utilizing great lyricism and embracing conscious raps. The established MC continues to create hype and broaden up his fan base through his music.
After separating himself from one of the biggest groups in SA, AB Crazy has carried out his solo career in a positive light—the rapper recently signed to Kalawa Jazmee Records and has managed to keep pushing his career by producing and making classic material. The "man of the moment" definitely cannot be side-lined.
Having put out several mixtapes in the past, Kwesta has made a lasting impact in the SA industry. Joints such as "Boom Shaka Laka" have carried the rapper to great heights, and with the anticipation of his sophomore album that's reportedly on the way, one can expect this rapper's hype to increase drastically.