Local hip-hop artist K.O believes SA hip-hop is losing its influence and impact, as the music genre has trailed behind other South African genres like House Music, Gqom and Amapiano in the past few years. The Shimmy rapper tweeted earlier today (27 July) that SA hip-hop isn’t resonating with the masses as it once did and that it might be down to the attitude and current sound it has today.
Many other industry insiders have made similar statements that SA hip-hop in recent years has sounded too American and no longer has that connection to SA street culture and themes. Amapiano in the past two years has dominated the SA music landscape and now Gqom is showing some resurgence following the album releases of Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha “Idandokazi.”
The tweet from K.O may be accurate as SA hip-hop from 2018 to 2020 has definitely been lacklustre when it comes to impact or competitiveness. It is far from what it grew to be in the middle of the last decade. But his viewpoint may be skewed by his perspective rather than an actual decline. Yes SA hip-hop has definitely stagnated locally but has also grown in international notoriety during that same period.
Today, American recording labels like Def Jam are looking at South African Hip-Hop for fresh talent. Nasty C, one of South Africa brightest prospects landed a huge recording deal with Def Jam near the end of March. Not only that but Def Jam also established an African branch in South Africa, which goes to show that overseas entities are watching our SA hip-hop music scene very closely.
Many young and up and coming rappers today view the current state of SA hip-hop as the perfect environment to bring something new to the table, as the industry is yearning for new blood and new ideas. Specifically, if you look at the bubbling under scene at the moment you see exactly that, new rappers like Maglera Doe Boy, Indigo Stella, Strada Stray and Thomas Hazey but to name a few who are looking to take the industry by storm.
SA Hip-Hop at the moment is undoubtedly stagnated right now and it is not helped by the current global pandemic. But if you look closely you will see the masses and streets are just waiting for the next wave or someone with a new energy that will bring attention back to hip-hop again.
K.O is a South African hip-hop veteran and has been in the industry for over 15 years so his warning should not be ignored. But an optimistic view that SA hip-hop still has a huge number of fans, is still growing overseas and still has a healthy amount of young talent wanting to enter the industry and make a name for themselves. then It is only a matter of time before it resurges and re-establishes a foothold again.