South African Hip-Hop: The Rising Wave of African Music

Hip hop culture has become a global phenomenon, and South Africa has not been left behind in this movement. Despite being a relatively new addition to the African hip-hop scene, South African rappers are making waves both locally and internationally. The country’s unique blend of cultural heritage has propelled the growth of the genre, resulting in the emergence of a vibrant hip-hop community.

Are you curious about the South African hip-hop scene and want to know more? This blog post will give you a comprehensive insight into South African hip-hop, including its history, top rappers, group singers, breakout songs, and the latest developments in the scene. We’ll also explore questions such as whether hip-hop is popular in South Africa, what it is called, and who the most famous South African rapper is.

So, buckle up as we dive into the fascinating world of South African hip-hop. Join us as we traverse the streets of Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, exploring the creative and subversive minds of the country’s brightest hip-hop artists. From the pioneers of the genre to the rising stars, this post has got everything you need to know about South African hip-hop.

South African Rappers List

South African hip-hop has come a long way, and it is now recognized as one of the essential genres in the South African music industry. A significant part of this growth has been driven by the emergence of various talented South African rappers who have managed to carve out their space in the industry. Here is a list of the top South African rappers you need to know:

1. Nasty C

Nasty C is undoubtedly one of the most popular South African rappers. The Durban-born rapper has made a name for himself both within and outside South Africa. His unique style of rap has made him a household name in the industry, and he has collaborated with other international artists such as French Montana and T.I.

2. AKA

Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, popularly known as AKA, is another talented South African rapper. He has been in the industry for over a decade and has released four studio albums. AKA is known for his smooth flow and unique fashion sense.

3. Kwesta

Senzo Brikka Vilakazi professionally known as Kwesta, is a South African rapper and songwriter. Kwesta has had a significant influence on the growth of hip hop in South Africa, and he has collaborated with several international artists, including Rick Ross.

4. Cassper Nyovest

Refiloe Maele Phoolo, popularly known as Cassper Nyovest, is a South African rapper and record producer. He has released several studio albums and has won several accolades, including the South African Music Award for Best Male Artist.

5. Shane Eagle

Shane Eagle is a hip hop artist who rose to fame after making it to the finals of the South African television show, “The Hustle.” He has since released several albums and is known for his unique approach to rap.

6. YoungstaCPT

YoungstaCPT (born Riyadh Roberts) is an award-winning rapper from Cape Town. He is known for his vivid storytelling and unique wordplay.

7. Sho Madjozi

Maya Christinah Xichavo Wegerif, popularly known as Sho Madjozi, is a rapper, singer, and songwriter. She is known for fusing Tsonga culture with rap to create her unique sound.

8. Blaklez

Lesego Moiloa, popularly known as Blaklez, is a South African rapper and songwriter. He has released several studio albums and is known for his thought-provoking lyrics and unique wordplay.

9. K.O

Ntokozo Mdluli, popularly known as K.O, is a South African rapper, songwriter, and businessman. He is known for his hit songs such as “Caracara” and “Skhanda Love.”

10. Costa Titch

Costa Titch is a South African rapper, dancer, and producer. He has released several studio albums and is known for his high-energy performances.

In conclusion, these are the top ten South African rappers that have contributed significantly to the growth of hip hop in South Africa. Each rapper has a unique style and approach to their music, making them stand out in their way.

South African Group Singers

South African hip-hop isn’t just about individual artists; it’s also about group singers coming together to create unique sounds that represent the country’s diversity. Here are some top South African group singers who have made waves in the industry:


  • Teargas is a trio of rap artists hailing from Durban.
  • They gained popularity in the late 2000s for their distinct blend of hip-hop, kwaito, and house music.
  • Their debut album “K’shubile K’bovu” released in 2006 quickly became a hit among local audiences and put them on the national map.
  • Some of their popular songs include “Chance”, “Wake Up”, and “Party 101”.


  • Freshlyground is a multi-award-winning Afro-fusion band formed in Cape Town in 2002.
  • Their music is a blend of jazz, traditional South African music, and indie-pop, among other genres.
  • They are best known for collaborating with Shakira on the 2010 FIFA World Cup anthem “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”.
  • Other popular songs from the band include “Doo Be Doo”, “Pot Belly”, and “I’d Like”.

Mi Casa

  • Mi Casa is a house band consisting of three members from Johannesburg.
  • Their music is a blend of different genres, including deep house, jazz, and soul.
  • They have won multiple awards, including the South African Music Award for Best Dance Album.
  • Some of their popular hits include “Jika”, “These Streets”, and “La Vida”.

Bongo Maffin

  • Bongo Maffin is a South African kwaito group formed in 1996.
  • Their music is characterized by its fusion of kwaito, reggae, and house beats.
  • They have won multiple awards and have collaborated with international artists like Steel Pulse and Sean Paul.
  • Some of their popular songs include “Kura Uone”, “Thathi Sgubu”, and “Makeba”.

These are just a few of the many South African group singers who have contributed to the evolution of hip-hop in the country. Their unique sounds and styles have helped to expand the genre and create new possibilities for the future of South African music.

South African Rapper Chappie: A Rising Star in the SA Hip-Hop Scene

South African hip-hop has been on a steady rise in recent years, with local artists gaining global recognition and cementing their place in the music industry. One of the breakout stars in the genre is Chappie, a rapper hailing from Johannesburg.

Who is Chappie?

Chappie, whose real name is Sizwe Jabulani Nkosi, was born in 1997 and grew up in one of Johannesburg’s toughest townships, Alexandra. He started rapping at the age of 13, honing his skills through freestyle battles and underground performances. Chappie’s lyrics are a reflection of his life experiences and the struggles faced by young people in South Africa’s townships.

Chappie’s Music

Chappie’s music is a fusion of various hip-hop sub-genres, including trap, boom bap, and kwaito. His sound is often compared to that of South African rap legend AKA, but he has also been praised for his unique style and ability to switch between different flows.

Some of his most popular tracks include:

  • “Pressure” – a hard-hitting track that showcases Chappie’s lyrical prowess and confidence.
  • “Nkalakatha” – a trap-influenced banger that pays homage to the late South African kwaito pioneer Mandoza.
  • “Gas” – a collaboration with fellow SA rapper Louw that explores the themes of success and self-motivation.

Rise to Fame

Chappie’s rise to fame can be traced back to 2019 when he caught the attention of popular South African rapper Cassper Nyovest. Nyovest was impressed by Chappie’s freestyle skills and invited him to perform on his radio show. This exposure helped Chappie gain a wider audience, and he soon became a regular on the SA hip-hop scene.

In 2020, Chappie released his first EP titled “Identity”, which received widespread critical acclaim. The project features collaborations with SA hip-hop heavyweights including J Molley and Costa Titch.

Chappie’s success has also led to him being signed to the independent record label PRBLM. He has performed at various music festivals across South Africa and has been nominated for several awards, including the Best Newcomer award at the 2020 SA Hip Hop Awards.

Chappie is one of the most exciting young talents in the South African hip-hop scene. His unique sound and lyrical prowess have earned him a loyal fanbase, and he is well on his way to becoming one of the biggest rappers in the country. Keep an eye out for Chappie, as he is definitely a rising star to watch.

Famous South African Hip Hop Artists

South African hip-hop has been on the rise for many years, with numerous artists dominating the scene. As the industry continues to grow, here are some of the most famous South African hip-hop artists:

Nasty C

Nasty C is a South African rapper and songwriter known for his unique flow and amazing lyrical content. He is among the top young rappers in the country, having been in the industry for more than a decade. His music speaks to his life experiences, and he has become a role model to many young South Africans.


Also known as Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, AKA is known for his ability to incorporate different genres into his music, making him stand out from other rappers. He started his career as part of a hip-hop group before branching out as a solo artist, winning numerous awards along the way.

Cassper Nyovest

Cassper Nyovest, whose real name is Refiloe Maele Phoolo, is another South African hip-hop artist making waves in the industry. He is known for his hard-hitting beats and his ability to connect with his fans on a personal level. He has won several awards, including the Best Pan African Artist award at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards.


Another top South African hip-hop artist is Kwesta, born as Senzo Mfundo Vilakazi. He is known for his collaborations with other artists and his unique way of telling stories in his music. His song “Spirit” featuring American rapper Wale has over 14 million views on YouTube.


ProKid was one of the pioneers of hip-hop in South Africa, paving the way for new artists in the industry. Born as Linda Mkhize, he released numerous hit songs throughout his career, inspiring a new generation of rappers to take up the mantle.

South African hip-hop has come a long way in the past decade, with numerous artists making a name for themselves around the world. These are just a few of the most famous South African hip-hop artists, each with their unique style and approach to music. As the industry continues to grow, we can expect to see many more talented musicians emerge from the country.

South African Hip-Hop Songs in 2000

As the new millennium began, South African hip-hop saw a wave of emerging talent that helped define the genre. Here are some of the notable South African hip-hop songs that came out in 2000:

1. “Party 101” – Prophets Of Da City

south african hip-hop

Prophets Of Da City is one of the most influential rap groups in South Africa. “Party 101” is a song they released in 2000, and it’s an upbeat track that talks about partying and having a good time.

2. “Shiz Niz” – Mr Selwyn Featuring Proverb

“Shiz Niz” is a classic song from Mr Selwyn and Proverb. It’s a song with excellent lyrics that address various societal issues. This song stands out as one of the most impactful hip-hop songs from South Africa in 2000.

3. “Chappies” – Cashless Society

“Chappies” is another hip-hop song from 2000 that is worth mentioning. Released by Cashless Society, the song has catchy beats and lyrics that speak about the struggles of living in the ghettos.

4. “One Time” – Skwatta Kamp

Skwatta Kamp has remained one of the most loved hip-hop groups in South Africa. “One Time” is a hit they released in 2000, with lyrics that encourage people always to work hard and strive for the best.

south african hip-hop

5. “Keep It Going” – Godessa

Godessa is an all-female group that created a unique sound in the South African hip-hop scene. “Keep It Going” is a song that they released in 2000 that has infusions of reggae and afro-beat beats.

These are just a few of the South African hip-hop songs that were released in 2000. These tracks showcase the creativity and evolution of the South African hip-hop scene. These songs were the beginning of a new era in the genre, which has since grown to become one of the most loved in the country.

Key Takeaways:

  • South African hip-hop saw a wave of emerging talent in the year 2000.
  • Prophets Of Da City’s “Party 101,” Mr Selwyn Featuring Proverb’s “Shiz Niz,” Cashless Society’s “Chappies,” Skwatta Kamp’s “One Time,” and Godessa’s “Keep It Going” were some standout releases.
  • These songs showcased the creativity and evolution of South African hip-hop and helped define the genre.

South African Hip Hop Awards 2022

As the South African hip-hop industry continues to grow, so does the popularity of the South African Hip Hop Awards. This annual event recognizes and celebrates the country’s most talented and influential artists, producers, and DJs. In this year’s awards, we expect to see some of the biggest names in SA hip-hop taking home some well-deserved accolades.

Here are some key things to watch out for in the 2022 South African Hip Hop Awards:


The awards cover a wide range of categories, from Best Album and Best Male Artist to Best International Achievement and Best Video. This year’s awards will have some exciting new categories that will bring in a fresh look and feel.


The nominees for the South African Hip Hop Awards are selected by a panel of industry experts. It’s always interesting to see who makes the cut and who gets left out. We’re expecting some fierce competition in every category this year, with some new faces and old favourites.


The awards night usually features some of the most electrifying performances by top SA hip-hop artists, and this year is set to be no exception. Fans can expect to see some of their favorite artists take the stage and give their best performances to date.


Fashion is just as important as the music at the South African Hip Hop Awards. From red carpet looks to stage outfits, we can’t wait to see what the artists will be wearing. As always, we expect the fashion statements to be bold, edgy, and unique.

Headline grabbing moments

The SA Hip Hop Awards always has its fair share of headline-grabbing moments. Whether it’s an unexpected performance, a surprise winner, or a celebrity feud, there’s always a sense of anticipation and excitement surrounding the event.

The 2022 South African Hip Hop Awards promise to be bigger and better than ever before. With top artists from across the country vying for top honours, fans can expect nothing but the best from this prestigious event. Stay tuned for updates on nominees, performances, and all things hip hop!

Is Hip Hop Popular in South Africa?

When it comes to music, it is no secret that South Africans love to dance. From Gqom to Amapiano, there is always a party going on somewhere in the country. But how does hip-hop fit into this mix?

Here are some interesting facts to help answer the question:

Hip Hop Has Been Popular in South Africa Since the ’80s

  • Even though the genre became popular in the US in the late ’70s, it wasn’t until the ’80s that hip hop started to take hold in South Africa.
  • A pivotal moment for the genre was when the group Run DMC performed in the country in 1985.

It Has Evolved Over Time

  • While hip hop has always been present in South Africa, it has gone through its own metamorphosis over time.
  • In the ’90s, a new wave of hip hop emerged, popularly known as Kwaito, which blended traditional African beats and rhythms with hip hop.

It’s More Than Just Music

  • Hip hop culture in South Africa is more than just the music. It’s a lifestyle and a movement.
  • It encompasses everything from fashion to dance and even language, with rappers often using a mix of English and local dialects in their lyrics.

It Has Produced Some Big Names

  • South Africa has produced some of the continent’s biggest hip-hop stars, including the likes of Cassper Nyovest, AKA, and Nasty C.
  • These artists have not only made a name for themselves in South Africa but have also gained international recognition.

It’s Popular Amongst the Youth

  • Despite the genre having been around for decades, hip hop has remained popular amongst the youth.
  • This is evident in the fact that local hip hop festivals like Maftown Heights and Back to the City attract thousands of young people every year.

Hip Hop Has Helped to Address Social Issues

  • Hip hop in South Africa has been used as a platform to address social issues such as poverty, inequality, and crime.
  • Rappers often use their lyrics to speak out against these issues, raising awareness and inspiring change.

In conclusion, hip hop is definitely popular in South Africa and has played an important role in shaping the country’s music and culture. With the genre constantly evolving, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for South African hip hop.

What is South African Hip-Hop Called?

South African Hip-Hop has gone through a significant growth in recent years, and it’s no surprise that many people are curious about its origins and what it’s called. Here is a quick overview of what South Africans call their Hip-Hop music genre:


Kwaito is a music genre that originated in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the early 1990s. It is a fusion of various genres such as Hip-Hop, House, and Reggae. In general, Kwaito is a more relaxed and slower form of Hip-Hop. This genre has dominated the South African music scene for over two decades.


Motswako is an indigenous genre of Hip-Hop music, mostly prominent in the North West Province of South Africa. It is a combination of Hip-Hop, traditional South African musical rhythms, and Setswana/Afrikaans lyrics. Motswako gained popularity in the early 2000s is still a prominent genre of Hip-Hop music in South Africa.


Skhanda is a music genre that originated in Durban, South Africa, in the late 2000s. This genre is a fusion of Kwaito, Hip-Hop, and House music. Skhanda is a fast-paced type of Hip-Hop that is unique to South Africa.

Other Names/Labels for South African Hip-Hop

  • SA Hip-Hop
  • ZA Hip-Hop
  • Mzanzi Hip-Hop
  • SliqHop
  • Afrikaans Hip-Hop
  • iStoko

There you have it, the different names/labels for South African Hip-Hop music. Whether you call it Kwaito, Motswako, Skhanda, or other names, South African Hip-Hop music has undoubtedly carved a unique identity in the global music scene.

Who is the Most Famous South African Rapper?

When it comes to South African hip-hop, there are plenty of talented artists who have made a name for themselves both locally and internationally. With its unique blend of African rhythms and Western influences, the genre has continued to gain popularity and attract a growing fan base. In this subsection, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most famous South African rappers who have made a lasting impact in the industry.

Cassper Nyovest

  • Born in Mahikeng, North West, in 1990, Refiloe Maele Phoolo, commonly known as Cassper Nyovest, is one of the most successful artists in South African rap history.
  • Known for his catchy beats and truthful lyrics, he has sold out concerts at many of South Africa’s biggest venues and has also achieved global success with his music.
  • Cassper Nyovest is not just a rapper: he is also an entrepreneur, record producer, and songwriter.
  • His debut album, Tsholofelo, which was released in 2014, was a massive success and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA) within a month of its release.
  • Cassper Nyovest has won numerous awards, including Best New Artist at the Metro FM Music Awards and Best Hip Hop Album at the South African Music Awards.

Nasty C

  • Nasty C, whose real name is Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo, was born in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, in 1997.
  • He made a name for himself in the hip-hop scene at a young age and has since become one of South Africa’s most successful rappers.
  • Nasty C’s music is known for its unique blend of trap and conscious rap and its introspective lyrics.
  • His debut album, Bad Hair, which was released in 2016, received critical acclaim and was certified gold by RISA within a week of its release.
  • In 2020, he became the first South African rapper to sign a deal with Def Jam Recordings.


  • Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known by his stage name AKA, is a South African rapper, record producer, and businessman.
  • Born in Cape Town in 1988, AKA has released several albums and has won multiple awards for his music.
  • His music is known for its catchy beats and punchy lyrics, and his style is often described as “skhanda rap.”
  • AKA has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Burna Boy, Diamond Platnumz, and Yanga Chief.
  • He has won multiple awards throughout his career, including Best Male Artist at the South African Music Awards and Best Collaboration at the All Africa Music Awards.

South African hip-hop is a thriving scene with some incredibly talented artists who have made a lasting impact on the industry. While there are many rappers worth mentioning, Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, and AKA are some of the most famous names in the game. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just getting into the genre, these artists are definitely worth checking out.

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