Video

The Rise Of Swaziland’s Hip-Hop Scene: 13 Notable Swazi Hip-Hop Artists

In "The Rise Of Swaziland’s Hip-Hop Scene," Sabelo Mkhabela highlights 13 notable Swazi hip-hop acts.


Over the past five years Swaziland’s hip-hop scene has been steadily shaping up and finding its own voice. A gust of Swazi artists are demanding to be taken seriously. A decade ago the kingdom had essentially no hip-hop scene. At the time, there were just a few artists – the pioneers of Swazi hip-hop – who had their songs played on radio and their videos on TV. Their music though, wasn’t fully formed — the beats and delivery were weak and their concepts recycled.

Swaziland is not the most technologically advanced country. Bandwidth is still a luxury. Soaring data costs have stalled the Swazi music industry’s growth in the digital sphere. The average citizen cannot afford to access streaming sites on a daily basis. The majority of artists are unable to use sites like SoundCloud, Bandcamp and YouTube to promote their music.

Instead, artists in Swaziland rely on radio for their music to be heard. Though a few radio show hosts have been working to spread the artform, like MTN Top 20 co-hosts Bongani “Bobo” Dlamini and Bongani “DJ Tizalami” Dube, and The Swazi Rhythm’s Lindelwa “Lindz” Mafa, by and large the nation has been reluctant to give local hip-hop a chance.

The country has one major radio station, Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS ) that’s split into two channels – one that broadcasts in Swati (SBIS1) and another that broadcasts in English (SBIS2). The latter, a youth-orientated station, is the more likely of the two to play rap. But because radio hosts make their own playlists, they’ll only play songs that they personally know and like. And even if an artist’s song does get played, they won’t see any royalties. In Swaziland, airplay is entirely about exposure.

Hip-hop as a culture never truly flourished in Swaziland either. Djing, B-boying, graffiti, ciphers and park jams are essentially unheard of in the small kingdom. Recently though, some strides have been made. The general public now seems willing to pay attention to local rappers. Swazis have begun headlining well-attended shows and sharing stages with South Africa’s most revered acts. The annual Hipnotik Festival – a mid-year youth music festival that hosts the biggest names in South African and Swazi hip-hop – offers perhaps the greatest opportunity for hip-hop to shine in Swaziland.

A few Swazi rappers have even seen their faces on corporate billboards, and their songs used for big brand ad campaigns. Though working within a sloppy music industry, in a country that itself has much to deal with, a handful of Swazi rappers are ready for the world stage.

In the following pages, Sabelo Mkhabela highlights 13 notable Swazi hip-hop acts.

Next Page
popular

Nigerians React to VP Osinbanjo's 'Overhaul' of SARS After Public Outcry of Rampant Abuse

Many Nigerians are celebrating the reform, while some remain cynical.

Nigeria's acting President Yemi Osinbanjo has ordered and "immediate overhaul" of the country's notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) following wide-spread allegations of abuse and human rights violations.

In a press release, the Nigerian Police Force, stated that SARS will no be known as Federal Special Anti-Robbery squad (FSARS), and appointed a new commissioner to oversee the imprint.

SARS became the target of the #EndSARS social media movement last December, as young Nigerians recounted chilling, nearly fatal, incidents involving the anti-robbery squad. Nigerian rapper Falz depicted a typical run-in with SARS in his viral music video 'This is Nigeria."

Aside from calling for the overhaul, Osinbanjo took to Twitter to list resources for people who may have suffered at the hands of SARS to report their experience for further investigation.

Keep reading... Show less
Video

You're Going to Have Olamide's 'Motigbana' On Repeat

Watch the Lagos-shot music video for Olamide's "Motigabana" and download the new single .

Olamide's been on a roll this year.

He kicked off 2018 by dropping one of the first bangers of the year with "Science Student" and has more recently released more big tunes like the Wizkid-featuring "Kana" and "Issa Goal" with Naira Marley & Lil Kesh.

The YBNL chief now continues that hot streak with "Motigbana," a new Killertunes-produced single that builds from an acoustic guitar riff into a highly-infectious beat. You should be familiar with the producer's top tier work in hits like "Manya" and "Nowo."

Keep reading... Show less
popular

6LACK Is Coming To South Africa In October

He will perform in both Cape Town and Joburg.

On Tuesday, ATL singer, rapper and producer 6LACK announced a world tour. The tour will kick off in Joburg, South Africa on the 5th of October, and run until the 14th of December in Houston, Texas. The second South African date is the 6th of October in Cape Town.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.