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Maglera Doe Boy

Maglera Feature Verses Take Centre Stage

In the last five years, South African hip hop has seen an influx of truly exciting and talented emcees come to the fore. Most of them represent different sounds and geographic locations, adding different facets to the already diverse South African hip hop landscape. Nonetheless, in my estimation, few come close to the enigma that is Maglera Doe Boy. Maglera is an emcee extraordinaire whose star has been rapidly rising. He capped off a successful 2022, which is also his major debut album year, by winning Best Male at that year’s edition of the South African Hip Hop Awards. Since then, the “Dor Do Povo” hit-maker has continued putting in a significant amount of work, punctuated with stellar feature verses.

His major debut album, Diaspora, was one of 2022’s contenders for hip hop album of the year but it is his feature work that seems to take centre stage when it comes to discussions about him. At this point, virtually every Maglera Doe boy feature is an event. Even in the 2023/24 season he hasn’t let up, as he completely smoked feature verses on Dee Koala’s “Gwan”, Flow Jones Jr’s “Pramis, Swuh”, Stino Le Thwenny’s “You Want Some More”, Priddy Ugly’s “Ntja’ka”, FLVME’s “Keep Goin’” and K.O’s “Let Me Cook”.

Being such a prolific show-stealing MC makes attempting to whittle down his verses to just ten an almost impossible task but be that as it may, I did my best to zero in on his numerous guest appearances in order to crown my top ten Maglera Doe boy feature verses.

While I recognise the ground work he did in his mixtape days as a foot soldier, I have decided to only focus on the feature work he has done since 2019, as well as songs that were not his – meaning that songs from his collaboration projects were not considered. Honourable mention to his stellar verses on songs like DJ Sliqe, 25K, Maglera Doe Boy, MashBeatz – “Trailblazers”, DJ Sliqe, 25K, Maglera Doe Boy, MashBeatz – “Goat Talk”, DJ Sliqe, 25K, Maglera Doe Boy – “Chow”, DJ Sliqe, 25K, Maglera Doe Boy – “Tales”.

10. Windows 2000 – “We Outside” featuring Maglera Doe Boy

A great thing about Maglera is that he hardly seems to ever give a half-hearted attempt when he guests stars on anyone’s track. Regardless of whether he’s being featured by an established artist or a lesser known one. He always puts his best foot forward. On this Windows 2000 cult classic, he gives him a fully fledged verse that sees him exploring his singing voice, as well as honing his proficiency as an English and vernacular rapper.

09. 25K – “Quarter To Six” featuring Maglera Doe Boy

When it comes to an eclectic subject matter, Maglera usually makes sure to have plenty of touchpoints in order to give the clearest full picture possible. If he is narrating a hood tale, he will tell you where he’s at, possibly what he’s wearing, what he used to do, and what those around him are up to. He will also tell you of how good it is but also how bad it is. He does this  perfectly on this 25K collab, in which the two street poets trade stories about their different hoods – Pheli and Kanana.  “My lil’ cuzzo fucking with the lead bruh, praying ba s’ka mofihlila, where we at, ka ba ka repent’a, o le bone le chaba, never le dikela… ghetto memoirs, that’s the shit I’m on, this is not a race, it’s a marathon, o wa ntshoara?”

08. Priddy Ugly – “Rap Relay” featuring Maglera Doe Boy

Since Priddy has been on his rap crusade, he has sought to align himself with other esteemed wordsmiths. He tapped Maglera for this lyrical onslaught, aptly naming it “Rap Relay”, and in true fashion, the Makasana representative delivered what is widely regarded as one of his best rap performances. A key attribute many excellent rappers have is knowing how to start a verse – those very first few lines are crucial in setting up its tempo. Maglera is slowly becoming one of those rappers reputable for knowing how to set off a verse. On this verse he opens with, “Fetsa ho fofa out of Makazana, majita ba bolayana ba diyana like Stone Cold or Brock Lesnar, Memoirs of the ntariana, the mpahla Italiana, talking numbers with my cousin Sol Kerzner…” and the rest is history.

Maglera Doe Boy

07. MashBeatz, Thato Saul – “Byor Bo Dese” featuring Maglera Doe Boy

Maglera isn’t a one trick pony by any means. On this verse, he shows that he can carry a rhyme scheme for the entirety of a verse, while staying on beat and also telling a coherent story. He doesn’t sacrifice any aspect while attempting to achieve another. To add to that, the verse still contains all the hallmarks of a great Maglera verse – the wit, the references, the imagery and all the while being relatable. He opens up with the line, “E k’fetsa ho clock’a, mmata’ka, ntata’ka, s’ka makala o mpona ke o feta ka plastic ea Spitz…” and carries that scheme the entire verse. That’s masterful.

06. MashBeatz – “Optimistik” featuring Maglera Doe Boy and Wordz

This verse is painfully short. Understandably so because it’s an intro to MashBeatz’ album. Maglera spat part of it on his Redbull 64 Bars Freestyle appearance. A meditation on how to be succinct and effective, Maglera words a perfect 8 bars where he’s just talking his shit. A rhyme scheme and construction that is unrivalled, with him saying a lot while sounding like he isn’t saying that much: “Fresh out the Zaza, e batla lezaza, live from Makasana but my life a mazza, jazz raps – no Bhudaza, liable to pull up with a young mulatto o hulang full bagaza, Jordan 8 – the kicks, ke rwetse s’baza-baza…”. Immaculate.

05. Boity – “018’s Finest” featuring Maglera Doe Boy and Ginger Trill

When an emcee gets placement on a song that’s bound to reach a wider audience than they would normally reach, they ensure that they give a noteworthy performance. This is exactly what Maglera did on this Boity single. Knowing that there was substantial fan fare around Boity branching out into rap, MDB gave her a verse for the ages. Repping their hoods, both Boity and Maglera impress but of course, Maglera skates all over the thing. The man who literally carries his hood on his back through his name does his best – with an impeccable flow, complete with vocal inflections – to shout out all the monuments of his hood, while bigging up the role players in the hood and showing their duality, “My little brodie a scammer, my other homie a Shaman, son of the soil, original man, I’m killing ‘em all, but come get your mans, kea batshela…”

04. Khuli Chana – “HaveNots” featuring Maglera Doe Boy

Story has it, this was originally a Maglera Doe Boy song that he eventually gave to Khuli as their personal and professional relationship grew. Almost biographical in how it traces Maglera’s ascension into the game, it’s a personal song in which he introduces himself to not only Khuli’s orbit, but to the entire game. “HaveNots” is his first major placement and he has been soaring since. He holds his own against a still sharp, veteran Khuli, so much so that his whole idea of the “HaveNots” became the centrepiece to Khuli’s third full length album, 2019’s Planet of the HaveNots.

Serving as the ultimate cosign, Morafe and Khuli have had a great impact on Maglera, evidenced by him rapping, “All my life a youngin’ been a have-not, Makasana young bloods all we ever wanted was to have knots, used to bump Morafe at the trap spot, yeah, now Morafe pull up and I [still move and manoeuvre like I’m at the trap spot], me and Gizm flipping like a laptop, Khuli told me how to never ever let them treat me like a mascot, how I met Towdee that’s the best part…”

Maglera Doe Boy

03. MashBeatz – “Never Ride” featuring Thato Saul and Maglera Doe Boy

This is not Maglera Doe Boy’s best feature verse but it sure is a really good one. The whole song is a moment. The music video is iconic and Maglera simply usurps the spotlight after perfect performances from both MashBeatz and Thato Saul. That’s testament to how special he is. MashBeatz cooked up an epic beat, while Thato Saul rapped his ass off, also making an even better hook. It’s just that MDB came to everybody’s food. It happens. He captured the moment, put together a really great flow, said a lot of witty and catchy lines, still keeping it intact and technically brilliant.

Certainly a contender for Verse of the Year 2022, “Never Ride” will certainly go down as that verse for Maglera mainly because he managed to still be himself but crossover to a wide mainstream appeal, largely due to the wit and humour in the verse. “Nna hare tshwane medi yaka ha a ndumedisa a re ‘Como Estas’, ay my pah, ke walashitse ka waskom mara konkosi fafa, Sub-Sahara… Peke e bitsiwa bheke le bheke ke seitaliana

Ntho tsa ko Italy…”, everybody and their mom’s mom saying those lines.

02. Yanga Chief – “Fort Hare” featuring Maglera Doe Boy

On “Fort Hare”, Maglera is simply showing off his uncanny ability to get into a tricky pocket and stay in it. He floats flawlessly and his flow is stupendous. The lyrics are lighthearted, as the song demands that they be – after all, it’s derived from a Moshe Ndinki meme video. However, the references Maglera employs, as well as his punchlines, all elevate the performance to a different stratosphere. He exemplifies an often undervalued skill that most of the greats have –  he makes it look so easy while it’s so difficult.

A special tool Maglera has, that’s similar to iconic acts such as the Wu-Tang Clan, Okmalumkoolkat and Prodigy from Mobb Deep is that he practically has his own slang. In all probability, it experientially stems from where he originates but the fact remains, he has owned it, making it part of his lexical cannon – “Kasi algorithms in the trenches for my skelems…”, come on, man. “Writing scriptures, Able versus Cain, Bruce versus Bane, Joker versus Bram Stoker’s Dracula – I’m a villain…” is a loaded line, showing the wide scope of his references, considering in the next line he name drops the “Thriller in Manilla”, making it rhyme with Makasana. These are small details which in the grand scheme of things show how panoramic an emcee’s vantage point is. Maglera has that.

01. Wordz – “Ma’Dice” featuring Maglera Doe Boy

This verse encompasses what fundamentally makes the emcee we know as Maglera Doe Boy. It illustrates his prowess as a high level emcee – through its imagery, technical structure, rhyme scheme, characterisation and storytelling. It also displays his own persuasions and proclivities as a human being – how his upbringing has influenced his worldview and interpretation. These are all important attributes to reveal separately but when contained in the same performance, it becomes an undeniable crowning moment.

The drunk piano riff Wordz invites Maglera to spit on is the perfect canvas for both of them to paint a  heartbreaking yet brutally honest portrait of a hustler’s life. Wordz does an exceptional job setting up the song with the story of a gruelling existence, where one is trying to make ends meet by working an honest 9-5 after accepting that street life isn’t an option. Maglera then grabs the baton, completely blacking out in a soliloquy that touches on his own proximity to the streets while growing up, seeing young boys selling dope in order to survive, his own experiences slanging, the inner workings of the streets and gangs, the good side as well as the bad side.

This is familiar territory for Maglera, having addressed this subject matter numerous times in his music. He came up seeing the best of both worlds – going to school, being interested and curious in learning, rendering him the smart, erudite individual he is, as well as the dark side of growing up in Makazana – an environment marred with crime, drugs and gangs.

The verse translates all the complexities of street life in a humane way without glorifying it – “Trapping like since ‘08, niggas talk a lot, ouens ba hlolwa ke Colgate, smiling but it’s all hate, niggas say it’s all love, mauthi ba apesa, mauthi ke dikatse, qho! ba qela zaka, ke di toll-gate, living both ways, got rich and poor taste, Makazana, Martin Scorsese, scene 4K, cinematic, question my palette, that’s in poor taste…”. The paranoia is palpable because even if there’s a semblance of honour in the streets, there’s still no code of ethics. It’s a life that can present safety and acceptance for ones deemed to be second class citizens but it still poses real threats to its inhabitants.

There are real characters which he underscores his tales with, “Conversations with my bro Battalion about his third court case… Know a nigga, stole from the firm, pipe made him go crazy, la ha se le mopila, a na shova a le sweet, and I saw pain…” He closes it off with some much needed gems, observing, “Ntho tsa lefatshe, ha o phela mawaza, o bona mawaza, seen the game… never touch the C.R.A.C.K cocaine, but the psychology and dichotomy of streets kids is not an anomaly it’s a camaraderie…”

It is the substance, the technique, the emotion, the accuracy, the meaning and the overall approach that makes this Maglera Doe Boy’s best feature verse so far.

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