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Cassper Nyovest. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Op-Ed: Cassper Nyovest Says His Latest Album Is a Game Changer (It’s Not and Here's Why)

Sweet and Short is a great moment for South African hip-hop, but Cassper Nyovest is far from breaking any new ground sonically or culturally.

Sweet and Short, Cassper Nyovest's fourth album in as many years, sees the South African hip-hop superstar facing an existential crisis of sorts. He dubs his album a game changer, one that's revolutionizing South African hip-hop. Whether he does so or not is part of a larger question around his music, as an artist perpetually in between genres.

Whatever our evaluation of his musical output or the extent to which we measure his impact, what Sweet and Short highlights is how imperative music descriptors have become in Cassper's quest to stand out. This ironically devalues the very descriptors he employs in his attempt to do so. The problematizing that Cassper Nyovest (unintentionally) represents is not a new circumstance for two genres with a long love-hate relationship.

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

South Africa's KLY Localizes Trap Soul On His Latest Album ‘Keep Love Young’

Keep Love Young isn't so much KLY coming into his own, but daring to lead the direction of bass-heavy, soulful RnB in South Africa.

Since releasing his KLYMAX EP in 2016, KLY has cemented his position as one of South Africa's foremost vocalists.

He's proven his pedigree on countless features, becoming the go-to artist for a smooth verse, as heard on DJ Maphorisa's "082," Mafikizolo's "Best Thing," Priddy Ugly's "Truth Be Told," and Maggz' "Vaye."

He followed his breakout with the KLYMAX Re-Up, continuing his chemistry with his main producer Wichi 1080. Keep Love Young is his debut album, and sees him mould sounds from a range of inspirations into his own.

The album title's acronym spells out his name and he stamps more of his identity on his sound. A fair observation of his previous work is just how strongly his influences shone through. A song title like "5 AM In The East" from KLYMAX was a young homage and signal of his musical lineage.

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 35 Best South African Hip-Hop Albums, EPs & Mixtapes of 2018

Here are 35 South African hip-hop releases that caught our attention this year.

The diversity in South African hip-hop is what makes it one of the most unique in the whole world.

In a country that has 11 official languages and multiple iterations of slang, it's always interesting hearing how South African wordsmiths express themselves, bending language and stretching its limitations. The stories vary from popping bottles to dealing with the repercussions of apartheid, the country's current political climate, and intrapersonal issues like mental illness and the existential anxiety many of us suffer from every now and then.

For our list of the best SA hip-hop albums of 2018, we considered all kinds of rap from the most visible to the most niche of artists, from boom bap to trap, and everything in between. The only criteria we used was fire flame emojis, charts, sales and all that doesn't matter. Three of our contributors, Sipho Fako, Mayuyuka Kaunda and Sabelo Mkhabela, who have covered hip-hop extensively for OkayAfrica compiled a list of 35 albums, mixtapes and EPs that dropped this year that they feel excelled musically and lyrically.

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