Words by Kenny Wood
2017 has been an interesting year for South African hip hop. The culture has had a hell of a face lift. The cyphers under bridges have moved into wavy parties at streetwear stores (hello La Familia), and backpacks have been traded in for moonbags and fanny packs. The aesthetic transformation of the culture has evolved with the music and it has been beautiful to watch. With the high volume of rappers popping up on the internet, there have been a few that are a cut above the rest. Here’s our predication of 10 South African rappers who are set to make an impact on the game in 2018 (in no particular order).
Zoocci Coke Dope
Zoocci is an enigma of note, a character that commands your attention whether you like it or not. A pivotal player in the sound of the new Pretoria, he’s managed to put out a mesmerizing project this year, curate sounds, as well as put out a documentary. His work ethic is remarkable and if Vth Season mould him to his full potential, he’ll be a major problem in the game.
A lot of people fail to grasp the concept of good energy and attracting great things through projecting great vibes, this kid is not one of those. The Pitori native has won over a lot industry folk with his contagious vibe. He embodies everything new school from the wavy sounds to the aesthetic. The kid is also out on these posters so he is definitely not struggling with shows and it seems 2018 will be a gorgeous year for the boy.
Maglera Doe Boy
Remember when Motswako was the order of the day in the mainstream scene? Well all that has changed and we haven’t heard a lot of noise from that side of hip hop. However, this kid could really bring Motswako to the a new generation of hip hop fans. He is creative beyond measure and his bars are phenomenal, plus he is the first signee to Khuli’s MyThrone imprint. Let’s see what 2018 will have in store for The Plug Talk rapper.
There is something beautiful about coming up with your day ones and it’s a story we all want to champion. The Punchline Boys have been doing a great job with pushing a movement that most envy, the brotherhood is genuine and one can only admire how they push each other. The break out kid seems to be Dee; most were introduced to him through The Hustle where he got eliminated as a result of choking but he turned that story into a victory, capitalizing with merch and a fire single with the biggest rapper in 2017, Kwesta. He has skills and is definitely one to look out for.
The Riky co-sign might be the greatest right of passage for any kid in rap these days. An emerging rapper who caught the attention of the cotton eating king is the Espiquet. His joint Wait Outside was so infectious that Kotini had to lay his verse on it. He just released his new EP and most will be surprised at his talent level. If you’re expecting nothing but trap, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. He has a story and he tells it in a riveting way.
The Pretoria scene is definitely a force to be reckoned with as of late. The fashion is out this world (shout out Didi; Dodo and Bangy) and so is the music. The Wrecking Crew really made the best of leaving Ambitiouz and one of the youngest dudes in the crew has started to carve out his own lane. Most were introduced to him through his verse on A-Reece’s hit Feelings. He was quick to separate himself from being in the group of sidekicks. He dropped a solid project solidifying his place in the game. We can’t wait to see how far he is going to take it with his music.
It’s always fascinating when you see kids getting thousands of plays on Soundcloud without any mainstream recognition. The power of Lethabo’s music is astronomical. Said to be one of the leaders of the Tree House movement, his sound is contagious with solid bars and world class melodies. The boy has a cult following and its only a matter of time until it spills into the mainstream.
Some call him Betterbust and some call him Rams, what’s clear is that he is one of the few newer rappers that raps in the traditional sense of the word. His music leans towards the alternative side, however, his are bars appeal to the more traditional hip hop head too. Also known as one of the founding members of Onyx, he is pegged to be one of the opening acts for the Masego tour.
Gator is another internet lord that is steadily making waves. He’s building a cult following that is evident in shows with 2000 fans in attendance without any radio airplay. Gator really has the kids’ hearts and at this pace, his trajectory is set to be a meteoric one.
Ricco Luty is an exciting talent that is set to make a huge impact in 2018. He dropped his debut EP, Time Lapse, with the backing of RAW X and brings a fresh, exciting energy to the game.