News Brief
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.


AKA To Fellow Artists: “You Not Making Hot Shit, That’s Why Radio Isn’t Playing You”

AKA believes all it takes to get played on radio is to "make hot shit." We don't believe him.

Almost everyone in the South African music industry agrees that mainstream radio is flawed. Many up-and-coming artists and some established acts struggle to get their music played on radio, which is still a very important platform in South Africa. Compilers either play it safe by playing the big guns or, as has been reported many times, accept payola to place songs on playlists.

All the above has been a hot topic of discussion for years to this day as it still persists. The latest example was with the rapper Flex Rabanyan, who admitted to having paid payola, but his song still didn't get any airplay. More about that here.

While many fans, artists and industry insiders agree that the fault is with the stations and their compilers, the rapper AKA has a unique take.

While on holiday, somewhere far from South Africa, the artist gave fellow artists advice in a live video on Instagram.

"I see a lot of people complaining like, 'it's a dirty game, it's a dirty game,'" said the artist. "I got the remedy. Let me tell you why radio is not playing your shit. It's 'cause your shit doesn't bang, bro. You not making hot shit. That's why the radio isn't playing you. Make hot shit and you'll get airplay. The reason you not getting airplay is because your shit is not dope. That's it."

This is interesting, coming from one of the most played artists on South African radio. AKA is either indirectly using himself as an example—he makes dope shit and thus he gets played on radio, he added during the clip that he's been making hot shit for more than 10 years, and his music gets played on radio. But he could also be speaking from a place of privilege. He is oversimplifying things—there have been many examples of artists struggling to get airplay from radio even though their music was dope. Flex is one example.

The veteran rapper Blaklez has also revealed he has been asked to pay payola. He recently told TSHISA Live:

"I really don't wanna comment too much on it, all I can say is I have never done it and I will never do it. I just found myself in that situation yesterday because we have an album out and we are trying to push a single. The person that we got as our point person to submit, he came to us and said, 'Well here's the situation at that particular radio station."

In 2017, Riky Rick, during his acceptance speech at the Metro FM Awards, spoke out about the corruption in the music industry.

"There's a lot of people that struggle to put music out in this country, and I feel like there's too many structures that are blocking people from putting out the dopest music," said Riky. "90% of the shit I hear on radio is garbage. The stuff is living on the Internet, everything is on the internet right now. So if you're a kid and you're watching this right now, forget radio. If they don't let you play on radio, you better go to the Internet and make your songs pop on the Internet."

Getting played on radio in South Africa is an extreme sport, especially for independent artists. Cassper Nyovest, a mega star of note, has also complained about not getting the amount of airplay he feels his music deserves. He hinted that him signing a deal with Universal Music Group was because he felt some platforms were reserved for artists with deals.

Two years ago, the rapper Priddy Ugly told me in an interview that it was near impossible for his music to get played on radio. But within weeks of signing a deal with Ambitiouz Entertainment, his then new single "In The Mood Remix" was playing on many major radio stations.

Maybe it's not always payola at play, but surely making hot shit alone won't guarantee an artist a spot on the playlist of major radio stations. AKA is oversimplifying the issue. Thousands of emerging artists can all attest to that.

You can watch the rest of AKA's ramblings below:

Read: 'Touch My Blood' Is AKA's Most Layered Album


Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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