Photos

In Photos: Back To The City 2019

South Africa's annual hip-hop and street culture festival Back To The City came back strong this year.

One of South Africa's longest running and biggest hip-hop and street culture festival, Back To The City took place last Saturday on the country's Freedom Day, as is the case every year.


As usual, it was a celebration of hip-hop and all its elements. On the main stage, the country's biggest hip-hop artists alongside up-and-coming acts kept heads entertained throughout the course of the festival. This happened while aspiring rappers, producers and dancers battled it out on the Play stage, while street artists conjured colorful characters on the pillars of the bridge above Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, which is located in the Joburg CBD. The hip-hop summit also took place as part of the festival, and aspiring artists, managers and fans gathered to discuss the industry's goings on.

Back To The City will always be a unique festival in that the organizers make an effort to include the most popular acts to the most niche, all on the same stage. You don't see that with many hip-hop events in the country.

Outstanding performances this year came from the likes of Stogie T, Riky Rick, YoungstaCPT, Moozlie, Nadia Nakai, Touchline, Cassper Nyovest, among many others. This year's international headliner was EPMD, who entertained fans of the golden era. Below are some pics from the festival.

Performances

EPMD. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Stogie T. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Otarel. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Lex LaFoy. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Bantu Speaking. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Kay-E. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Jimmy Wiz. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

YoungstaCPT. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Nadia Nakai. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

2Lee Stark. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Champagne 69. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Touchline. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Boity. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Moozlie. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Emile YX?. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

MegMafia. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Morafe. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Siba. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Faces, Street Art and Basketball


Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Jay Stash. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Kay-E. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.


Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The Play stage. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Assessa. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.



The panelists of the hip-hop summit. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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