Words by Kendra Hunsley 

Historically, the focus was primarily on artistic offerings and talent. Today, it takes more than 16 bars to solidify your place at the top. Rappers are now style icons; a notion that the OGs in the game probably offer a side eye to. Having the full package has become paramount and that includes the way you look and dress – it’s just as important as the art. The music industry, both locally and internationally, has seen an influx of artists who don’t fit the prescribed mold. Artists are now carving out their own lane, finding ways to separate themselves from their peers. We’ve compiled a list of 10 South African rappers who not only appear on ‘Best Rapper’ lists, but Best Dressed as well.

10 – AKA

From bold colours and prints, to more slick ensembles with understated pieces; there’s a sense of maturity evident in Forbes’ current style. A lover of designer labels like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Off White; Forbes also knows how to take it to the streets with brands like BAPE and South African streetwear label Styla Gang. On a normal day you’ll likely see him keeping it cool in a hoodie, ripped jeans and sneakers. Best believe when it’s time to suit up, Forbes shows up and shows out.

9 – Anatii

“Lost a lot of weight just to fit in Balmain”

Anatii rarely misses a beat, usually opting for timeless pieces and earthy tones. He keeps it cozy and loves a denim jacket. A quick scroll through his Instagram feed, it’s evident that orange hues are his guilty pleasure. Is orange the new black?

8 – Shane Eagle

Shane Eagle is a streetwear devotee who regularly opts for comfort in a branded hoodie and jeans. Eagle recently dropped his music video for ‘Julia’, a retro aesthetic visual with amazing styling. His looks comprised of a Kappa tracksuit, Champion track pants and FILA gear; keeping it strictly 90’s and on point with the current retro sportswear craze in fashion.

7 – Youngsta

No one does retro sportswear like Youngsta. The Kaapstad rapper evokes a sense of nostalgia with his Adidas tracksuits, FILA tees and bucket hats; oozing effortless cool.

6 – Spoek Mathambo

Spoek Mathambo’s afro-futuristic take in his music shines through in his clothing as well. Mixing different prints and textures, the multifaceted artist possesses an idiosyncratic style. The contrast between his bold looks and understated ensembles is proof of his natural flare for style.

5 – Khuli Chana

The Motswako Originator usually opts for afrocentrism, playing with print pieces courtesy of South African designers, more notably Maxhosa. Although Khuli keeps it casual in classic denim jeans and a parka or bomber jacket, he’s a straight shooter in formal wear.

4 – Cassper Nyovest

Cassper has had one of the most conspicuous style evolutions in the industry. The rise in his career called for a rise in his personal style. The ‘Thuto’ rapper went on to record to say “I’m growing up bro, my brand is growing up. I’m a CEO now. It’s time for me to boss up and clean up.” Nyovest recently opened his first clothing store based in Newtown, Johannesburg; stocking simple and wearable pieces like hoodies, tees and caps.

3 – Moozlie

Nomuzi ‘Moozlie’ Mabena burst onto the scene emitting a bold and unapologetic sense of style that was missing from the industry for a while. Since then, the talented TV personality slash rapper has remained a notable figure for style. She’s a style chameleon who effortlessly pushes fashion boundaries, whether in head-to-toe streetwear or a beautiful gown.

2 – Da L.E.S

 “North God got the whole squad dressed in Camo

Da L.E.S has always stayed true to 90’s streetwear, basketball jerseys and shorts along with snapbacks have been synonymous with his style over the years. However, the North God has since refined his look, comfortably going from BAPE shorts and a black hoodie to an all-white ensemble with classic Gucci sneakers.

1 – Riky Rick

Unsurprisingly, Riky Rick’s influence in both music and fashion is undeniable. He’s a trendsetter and non-conformist, effortlessly switching between streetwear and high-end fashion pieces. His affinity for fashion and style is notable, unwavering of public opinions. Very few people can rock silver metallic pants, an orange printed shirt, a pink denim jacket and still look jiggy.