The late Pro is the greatest of all time. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

These Are The Greatest South African MCs of All Time According to MTV Base

Let the G.O.A.T debates begin.

MTV Base has done it again. A lot of heads and artists are touched (though some may not admit it). A week after releasing the list of the hottest South African MCs of 2018, the channel gathered a set of panelists to decide on the definitive list of the greatest SA MCs of all time.


Just like the hottest MCs list, the G.O.A.Ts list is decided on based on a list of criteria that includes bars, buzz, commercial success, intangibles and how they shifted the culture forward.

The panel, which included this writer, and debated it out in an episode that aired earlier today, weren't themselves satisfied with the list. South African hip-hop is way too complex to be discussed in one hour.

Below is the final list:

1. Prokid (R.I.P)
2. HHP (R.I.P)
3. Stogie T
4. AKA
5. Khuli Chana
6. Cassper Nyovest
7. ProVerb
8. K.O
9. Kwesta
10. Flabba (R.I.P)


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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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