It’s that time of year again when your timeline is filled with either cynical thoughts on the capitalist drive behind Valentine’s Day or the sweet mushy stuff between lovers celebrating each other. Hip Hop is not averse to the mushy stuff, the rappers usually don’t wanna let you know that they’re some of the biggest heart-pumps-custard types in the world. But every now and then a gem comes through where they’re hand-on-heart declaring their love, or subtly just letting us know that their lyrics aren’t all booty-shaking, money-getting, I’m-the-best-there-is anthems.
Check out 10 of our best South African hip hop love songs, in celebration of the day.
Reason – Tla K’o Bone (feat. KG)
“Cause if love was hip hop you’d be the beat that I’m on.” Well, damn! A personal favourite, Reason floats on this I.V League beat and has KG delivering vocals that take it to the next level.
Cassper Nyovest – Destiny (feat. Goapele)
Off his magnus opus, Cass took a classic South African song and slowed it down to sample on this track with Goapele. Opening up about his relationships in a way that we’ve rarely seen him do before, he followed up this damn near perfect song with an incredible video to boot.
Kwesta – Ngiyaz’fela Ngawe (feat. Thabsie)
Featuring his wife and daughter in the video, Kwesta expresses his undying love to her in “Ngiyaz’fela Ngawe.” With Thabsie’s vocals providing the perfect accompaniment, he lets us know “Ima love you from this life to the next” in one of his best songs.
Nasty C – SMA (feat. Rowlene)
He recently hit 10 million views on the video for this track and for good reason. One of the most popular on his sophomore album Strings & Bling, he takes on the perspective of both parties and raps about the ups and downs of his relationship with his girlfriend in one of his most vulnerable singles to date.
Tumi – Feel So Good (feat. Ziyon)
Tumi and Ziyon make a formidable combo every time they work together and this track is no different. Starting off with “Happy Valentine” he takes us through the journey of hitting it off with a new love.
Riky Rick – You and I (feat. Mlindo the Vocalist)
Released on Valentine’s Day last year, it’s an ode to his life partner and mother of his children. A departure from the turn-up that we’ve come to know him for, he lets her know “Just wanna show you tonight that I love you.”
Zuluboy – Nomalanga
A love letter from a fighter in South Africa’s struggle for freedom, Zuluboy lets his love know how much he misses her in this poignant and beautiful track. He employs a sample from one of SA’s finest storytellers – Caiphus Semenya – to deliver the tale, and is a hip hop classic till this day.
Ginger Trill – Lisa’s Smile
One of SA’s finest lyricists starts the track off with “Shorty pretty as a painting, saved her number under ‘Mona Lisa'” and takes us through the process of meeting and falling for a new love in his latest video release. The title also a play on the romantic comedy “Mona Lisa Smile,” Ginger is at his smoothest.
K.O – Skhanda Love (feat. Nandi Madida neé Mngoma)
Off his classic album Skhanda Republic, K.O let us see a softer side on this track with Nandi Madida. The two teamed up again on “Say U Will” but there’s just something about this song man!
ProVerb – Marry Me (Proposal)
With a pen like no other, “Marry Me” is off his classic debut The Book of Proverb. It introduced the public to ProVerb and his storytelling and made them fall in love with him.