South Africa not only has a smorgasbord of cultures running through its veins, it also has a wide range of talents and cultural expressionists that make the country so damn exciting. If you’ve ever been to a live event in South Africa you know what we’re talking about. We’re talking lights, camera, and explosion. Today, however, we’re going to focus specifically on the famed hip hop genre, singling out the top 5 hip hop artists in South Africa that have spitted the sickest beats and made an impressive name for themselves.
The Top 5 Hip Hop Artists In South Africa
#5 Riky Rick
A man of many talents, Riky Rick is dominating in South Africa as not just a rapper, songwriter, singer, and composer, but also an actor, entrepreneur, fashion designer and the founder and owner of record label “Cotton Club Records”. He also recently participated as a judge on the South African version of The Voice. Born Rikhado Makhado, he grew up in a township outside of Durban and rose to fame following his hit single “Barber Shop” with Da Les.
After “Barber Shop”, he released a string of hits, collaborating with some of South Africa’s biggest names in the field. He now owns and runs his record label Makhado Makhado Agency. His current monthly listeners on Spotify sits at 79,223.
#4 Sho Majozi
Sho Majozi has not only taken the country by storm, but the world too. Born Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif, Sho Majozi is as talented as they come. Not only a highly loved hip hop artist, she is also credited with being a rapper, singer, songwriter, actress and poet. Her big break was a collaboration with rapper Okmalumkoolkat on the tracks “Ngiyashisa Bhe” and “Gqi”, where she wrote the lyrics, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Her biggest claim to fame is her single “John Cena” which she performed on the global music platform COLORS. The song caught the attention of big names in the industry, notably Missy Elliot who retweeted her performance, and Kelly Clarkson, who invited her onto her talk show to discuss the song. While performing there she was surprised by the wrestler himself, which catapulted her reaction into viral territory.
Sho Majozi incorporated her Tsonga culture into her work, and currently has 165,950 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Next on our list of the top 5 hip hop artists in South Africa is AKA, also known as Kiernan Jarryd Forbes. In 2002, he was a member of the band Entity with Vice Versa and Greyhound, but left in 2006 to study sound engineering. After this he embarked on a solo career and shot to fame in 2011 with his hit single “Victory Lap,” released on his debut album “Alter Ego”. The album catapulted him into stardom status as he won accolades such as 2011 Metro FM Awards Best Hip Hop Album, and the 2012 South African Music Awards for Best Male Artist of the Year.
AKA has built up a reputable brand, with companies like Cruz Vodka and the WWE Live bringing him on board. He also has a slew of award nominations under his belt, taking many of them home over the years. He currently has 162,642 monthly listeners on Spotify.
#2 Cassper Nyovest
Picking up this year’s Hustler/MVP Of The Year Award at the SA Hip Hop Awards, Cassper Nyovest is a force to be reckoned with. Born Refiloe Maele Phoolo in Mahikeng, North West, the famous hip hop artist has established quite the name for himself. Cassper Nyovest rose to fame in 2014 after releasing a debut album “Tsholofelo” under his own record label Family Tree Records. The artist is credited with being a rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur and record producer.
In 2015, the artist performed his Fill Up The Dome concert in Johannesburg, and after selling out the stadium he prolonged the tour, taking it to various big stadiums around the country for the next few years. The “Fill Up” toured played at Orlando Stadium in 2016 and FNB Stadium in 2017, Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in 2018, and the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in North West in 2019. With platinum albums, sold out stadiums and a new track out, Cassper Nyovest is one of the South African greats.
He currently has a monthly listening audience of 134,933 monthly listeners.
#1 Nasty C
Number one on our list of top hip hop artists in South Africa is Nasty C, the youngest contender on our list. This rapper, songwriter and record producer was born in Soweto but moved to Durban following the passing of his mother before he was 1 years old. He grew up in Durban with his father and older brother, who was influential in teaching him how to produce music.
At just 23 years old, Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo has toured New York, been invited to international hip hop radio shows and has released three studio albums. In 2016 he released his first album “Bad Hair,” which reached number 1 on the local iTunes charts and was the most streamed album in South Africa within its 24 hours. He also released a short film with 3 songs from the same album that received international attention and featured in countries like France, Germany, UK and the US. That same year he released a song with American rapper French Montana, and was later nominated for the 2017 BET Award for Best International Act: Africa and the 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards.
His second album “Strings And Bling” was also received with much acclaim, with TimesLIVE naming it one of the best hip hop albums in South Africa. In August 2020 he released his latest album, “Zulu Man with Some Power” featuring local and international artists. With monthly listeners on Spotify sitting at around 465,335, this talented young artist is one to keep your eyes on.
South Africa Producing Power
Looking at the top 5 hip hop artists in South Africa one thing is for sure – this Rainbow Nation is packed with talent, culture, and international standards of hip hop glory. With many other artists in South Africa there is only hope for the entire hip hop industry to further spread their wings on international stages and platforms.