Hip-hop, my love, we’re reunited again
I see the fire in your eyes, I love what you do to me
Let’s take a trip together
Transcending borders, a new country to explore
Warning all passengers, hold on tight
We’re taking a journey to the other side
Sister from South Africa guide the way
Through the streets of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town
The hustle is alive, bursting with culture
Sweet music is all that I hear.
Music is a form of expression, depicting stories, raw emotions and the state of society. In a culture of streaming songs and purchasing singles over albums, let’s discuss four artists that caught my attention through their body of work. It’s rare for me to enjoy a complete album, EP or mixtape. Usually, there are a few singles that I honestly don’t resonate with. In fairness, this isn’t a snap judgement. I tend to give every album a listen over twice, sometimes thrice, before picking out the songs I adore. Before we dive into the four artists, honourable mentions are required for Kwesta, A-Reece and Shane Eagle.
The man of the moment, Emtee, the one who opened my eyes to South African hip-hop when he collaborated with Wizkid. Mixing English with his mother tongue, the face of the new school, the trap movement. Speaking about the struggles, coming from poverty and following dreams, Emtee is inspiring the listeners. The albums Avery (2016) and Manando (2017) resonate with a global audience. Representing his nation, he’s sharing his story, the trials, tribulations and triumphs. You honestly can’t disrespect the ATM team, they create greatness every time. I highly commend Emtee, Saudi and Sjava.
One thing that stood out to me about Saudi was the production of his visuals, there was always a concept, a deeper meaning. That’s the same for his music and the topics he wishes to discuss. D.R.U.G.S Inc. (2017) shares emotions on the struggle, heartache and the kind soul within. Delivering each song calmly, no matter the mood, high or low, for the streets or the family. The sweet romantic with a gangster exterior, a voice that soothes yet gets the message across. The album showcases an array of musicality, a beautiful piece of work. He skilfully fuses English and Zulu to attract a wider audience and he does it with ease. Even managing to secure a place on Kendrick Lamar’s latest album Black Panther.
An artist that is brutally honest, uncompromising and shares his raw emotions, which is truly refreshing. I appreciate storytelling, music with a message, ByLwansta gives me hope for the state of music. I stumbled across the Lindiwe performance, the conversational style, instrumental and artist personality caught my attention. In a search for more music, I came across the NORMVL Still music video. The subject matter and the funky visuals had me hooked. He created his own style, stood out from the crowd. Yet if we base it on numbers he’s underrated, that needs to change immediately. He came to disrespect the game, turn it upside down and Your Absolutely Right EP (2016) is the epitome of that.
First introduced to the kid through the Juice Back Remix music video. Respect to Davido and Cassper Nyovest but Nasty C schooled them nicely. He has perfected his flow, lyricism and delivery. Once a diamond in the dirt, now refined, expressing himself through the music. Bad Hair (2016) speaks about handling the come up, venting about problems and females. Not a body of work that I enjoy with the exception of a few singles. However, I am eagerly awaiting the newest project, Strings and Bling, coming out in June. Nasty C has been quiet, hiding in the studio creating a legacy that will make his mother proud. In a recent interview, he mentioned artists he had generally worked with, which adds excitement to his upcoming project. Which South African artist do you enjoy listening to?