The 20 Best South African Hip-Hop Songs of 2018 So Far

South African hip-hop songs we love so far in 2018.

We are halfway through the year, and South African hip-hop artists have already gifted us with tones of great tunes.

Below we pick 20 of those that fell on our radar and impressed us—from songs by newbies like The Big Hash, Kid Tini, J Molley, to established acts like AKA, Reason, Khuli Chana and Nadia Nakai, among others.

The list, which is in no particular order, contains only songs that were released in 2018. Songs from 2017 projects that were made singles this year don't count.


Solo ft Maggz "Top 5"

A song in which Solo raps about his love and respect for Maggz, hailing him as top 5 dead or alive. Maggz, in his verse, proves Solo's point. It's a song with heartfelt rhymes and a beat that uses bass and synths to evoke emotion.

Da L.E.S ft. A-Reece & TellaMan "Ballers Freestyle"

Da L.E.S and his collaborators made one of the happiest songs of 2018 on "Ballers Freestyle." The song boasts a catchy chorus and convincing verses from all there artists.

Dee Xclsv "Jiggy Shit"

From his EP Two Hours From G-Park, comes Dee Xclsv's "Jiggy Shit," a song that doesn't take itself too seriously, but still displays the rapper's ability to interpret an instrumental and turn into a coherent song.

Nasty C ft. A$AP Ferg "King"

"King" is a catchy single in which Nasty C affirms the throne is his, and with bars like the ones he spits on here, he has a solid argument. A$AP Ferg's verse is nothing special, but his flow is always impressive.

Ginger Trill "Money"

Your favorite rapper's favorite rapper is always mean with the pen. On "Money," his vicious verses collide with an equally menacing instrumental, and the joint is… well, money!

AKA ft. Stogie T "StarSigns"

On "StarSings," AKA drops facts about his longevity, how he paved the way for a lot of rappers poppin' at the moment, and his ability to reinvent himself and remain at the forefront. Stogie T does the same, paying homage to DJ Bionic, a fellow pioneer and business partner, and he takes jabs at Cassper Nyovest and Riky Rick, on some rap shit. So here for it.

Kid X ft. Shwi Nomntekhala & Makwa

Kid X refurbishes the maskandi duo Shwi Nomntekhala's mega hit "Ngafa" on what is one of the most refreshing joints of the year. The rapper's versatility allows him to flow over any kind of drum pattern, and on "Mntano Muntu," he sounds sharp over a slow but bouncy rhythm.

K.O. ft. Cassper Nyovest "Waya Waya"

"Waya Waya" is K.O. and Cassper Nyovest in their element—choosing a beat that blends kwaito and trap, allowing them to flow like the new age pantsulas they are. And can we talk about that Nyovest verse, though?

Read: K.O. Just Released A 2-Track EP Featuring AKA and Cassper Nyovest

Reason "Azania" ft. Swizz Beatz & S'bongile Khumalo

Lyrically "Azania" is intense, which is what we've grown to expect from the lyricist. Reason talks about poverty, unemployment and all ills, and how rappers choose to ignore all that. A fitting beat from Swizz Beatz with a lot of space for Reason's bars and S'bongile Khumalo's somber vocals.

Read: In Conversation with Reason on His Collaboration With Swizz Beatz & Sibongile Khumalo

J Molley "Seven Bottles"

J Molley's life done changed. He's the youngest in club, sipping seven bottles. "Holy shit, think I just took a picture with your bitch/ New money, who this?/ New money 5 digits," he sings on the hook. "Seven Bottles" proves that less is more—the artist is succinct in giving an update of his life, using auto-tune in his own unique way.

Kid Tini "Movie"

Kid Tini is one of the best rappers out right now. On "Movie," he handles his feud with A-Reece the best way he knows how; with raps. Just like any great diss track, "Movie" comes with countless quotables spat with a sneer and contempt for his opponent.

Read: Kid Tini Explains How His Beef With A-Reece Started: "I'm Competitive by Nature"

Big Star "Time Of My Life"

Big Star proves he can do more than just rap. On "Time Of My Life," he rap-croons over a jazz instrumental with 808 drums to give it a new school feel. "Time Of My Life" is a sophisticated soundtrack to the good times.

B3nchMarQ "Wifey"

Say what you want about B3nchMarQ, but one thing you can't fault them on, is making great songs that resonate and have massive replay value. "Wifey" is another of those, with melodies, raps and dynamic production that is rich in texture and doesn't bore.

Anatii "Thixo Onofefe"

Continuing the theme of spirituality, which was rife on his joint album with AKA, Be Careful What You Wish For, Anatii literally prays over bass squelches and screeching synthesizers. Aesthetically, the song is guaranteed to wake up some spirits inside you, with chants and screams that are drenched in reverb for effect. He speaks of people from the rural areas encouraging him to use muti, but he believes in prayer.

Khuli Chana "Maje"

Over a droning bass line, Khuli Chana flows without any evident effort—nothing new there—on "Maje," an unreleased song that was shelved years ago. Ig proves that Chana was, years ago, what your fave is still trying to be. And Khuli Chana and Beat Mochini make such a formidable rapper-producer combo.

Maphorisa x A-Reece "They Love Me"

A-Reece lays some lofty bars over a simple piano melody and bass squelches on his collaboration Maphorisa. Reece sounds comfortable over the beat he's given and bends his flow to fit its twists and turns.

Blaklez ft YoungstaCPT "Jungle Justice"

Blaklez lowkey does new age kwaito better than everyone. Think "Don't Be Scared" and "Saka Nyuka." His collaboration with YoungstaCPT is the latest addition to that list. Over a droning synth and mid tempo rhythm, the two MCs tell their stories and make it look so easy.

Maglera Doe Boy "Bodega"

Motswako hasn't given us a superstar since Cassper Nyovest blew up. Maglera Doe Boy, who's signed to Khuli Chana's imprint My Throne Records, is the latest motswako superstar prospect. On "Bodega," he owns the song with a natural confidence and a solid delivery.

The Big Hash "Dark Horse" (ft. Riky Rick)

Riky Rick joints the young rapper on his latest single, "Dark Horse." Just like most of The Big Hash's song, the bass and kicks thump hard while he devours the instrumental with high-precision flows and an unmatched conviction.

Read: You Need To Hear This 17-Year-Old South African Rapper

Nadia Nakai & Frank Casino "Money Calling"

Nadia Nakai and Frank Casino only answer when the money's calling. On "Money Calling," the two MCs ride a beat that leads with an eerie low-creeping pad. Nothing new is being said on "Money Calling," but it's still an addictive song that deserves a spot on your playlist.

Assessa "Izangoma"

Assessa's breath control is impeccable on "Izangoma." She goes on and on without pausing for air. She owns the beat and adjusts her flow accordingly to its rapid bends, and she also lays a catchy one-liner vocal hook.

popular
Still from Burna Boy's Tiny Desk concert video via NPR.

Watch Burna Boy's Mellowed-Out 'Tiny Desk' Concert

Watch the 'African Giant' run through some of his hits like 'Gbona,' 'Ye' and more for NPR's Tiny Desk concert series.

Burna Boy is the latest artist to grace NPR's famous Tiny Desk.

The Nigerian "afrofusion" star took to the set for a mellowed out performance of four of his biggest tracks. Getting straight to business, the artist opened his set with a toned down rendition of his single "Gbona" before heading into the socially-aware "Wetin Man Go Do." It's much calmer of a performance than we're used to seeing from the artist.

Next he performs a funky version of "Dangote," before rounding his set out with his magnum opus of sorts "Ye." He's backed by the band The Outsiders and vocalist Christina Matovu throughout.

Burna Boy has had a stellar year, releasing his seminal album African Giant, performing at Coachella and winning several awards—including 'Best African Act' at the BET Awards—in the process.

Check out his full Tiny Desk performance below, and revisit a recent Tiny Desk performance from British-Nigerian rapper Dave from last week and check out Burna Boy's okay acoustics performance of 'Anybody' from August.

Keep reading... Show less
Featured
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Sabelo Mkhabela.

Wizkid, Anatii Win Big at BET Soul Train Awards Alongside Beyoncé

The Nigerian and South African artists, respectively, won soul train awards for their contributions to 'Brown Skin Girl."

Nigeria's Wizkid and South Africa's Anatii both earned BET Soul Train Awards last night for their contributions to Beyoncé's hit song "Brown Skin Girl."

The song, which is an ode to dark-skinned women, was one of the standout tracks from Beyoncé's The Lion King: The Gift. It earned the "Ashford and Simpson Songwriter's Award" last night during the awards ceremony in Las Vegas. Wizkid is featured on the track and has a writing credit, while Anatii is credited as a composer along with Michael Uzowuru, and others.

The song was also nominated in the "Best Collaboration Performance" category.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Image courtesy of La Sunday.

Photos: How La Sunday Became Abidjan's Favorite Party

Faced with a lack of party options, a group of friends in Côte d'Ivoire sought to revolutionize the way their city turns up.

The opening line of DJ Arafat's hit song "Maman Sery" plays and the people on stage scream it as loudly as the crowd facing them below. Lighted phones are up in the air. Where some strangers embrace one another, others clutch their chests. The setting? A garden in Abidjan's commune of Cocody on a Sunday night.

Sundays in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire had always been reserved for beach trips and family time. All of this changed dramatically in December of 2018 when Fayçal Lazraq, Lionel Obam, Aurore Aoussi, Charles Tanoh-Boutchoue, and Aziz Doumbia, better known as Bain de Foule Creative Studio created La Sunday and it took Abidan by storm.

According to Charles Tanoh-Boutchoue, co-founder of La Sunday, "The idea was to create an alternative event for fun amongst friends." The differentiating factor here was these "friends" weren't just anyone; they were trendsetters at the epicenter of Abidjan's bustling creative scene. Shares from these creatives were instrumental in creating the engagement surrounding La Sunday and its subsequent expansion.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Simi in "Selense" (Youtube)

Watch Simi's Beautiful Music Video For 'Selense'

Premiere: Simi shares the upbeat new video for "Selense," a song about time which draws inspiration from classic highlife.

Nigeria's Simi comes through with the new music video for her recent single, "Selense."

The song, which sees her sing about using your time and years on this earth preciously, gets a beautiful new video that follows Simi's verses about different characters who may or may not be spending their hours in the best way.

The upbeat new music video, which was directed by Adasa Cookey, is getting premiered here on OkayAfrica today.

"'Selense' is a song about time," Simi tells OkayAfrica. "The song draws inspiration from classic African highlife. A timeless classic that is perfect for all seasons."

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.