Music
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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Featured
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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Music
Kwesta. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Kwesta Ran the Charts This Year—and That's Just Counting Features

Even though he dropped only one single, Kwesta was present in the game through countless features.

Kwesta walked away with six trophies from the South African Hip Hop Awards and topped the annual MTV Base Hottest MCs list. The MC has had an explosive couple of years off the back of the second installment of his DaKAR trilogy. His solo work has provided the impetus for a sustained stronghold on the South African hip-hop game.

Kwesta's raspy voice has been as central to his appeal as his potent blend of house, kwaito and hip-hop. It's a strategy that's proved fruitful with him having a hit over the past 5 summers. His run began in 2013 with "Boom Shakalaka" and continues with his latest single "Vur Vai". In between those, two of his biggest songs were the Cassper Nyovest-featuring "Ngud" and "Spirit" which was graced by Wale.

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