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Sjava. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 14 Best South African Songs of the Month

Heaters from Sjava, Nonku Phiri, Nasty C, J Smash, and Umaah, among others.

Our list of the best South African songs of the month includes new singles that dropped in July alongside those that were highlighted by getting the visual treatment.

Check out our selections below, which feature Nasty C, Nonku Phiri, PH, J Smash and more.

The list is in no particular order.


Nonku Phiri "Sîfó"

On her new single, Nonku Phiri's still singing over electronic production effortlessly. In "Sîfó," she stacks her vocals when she harmonized to make them sound like synthesizers, thus using her voice as an instrument which blends with the beat.

Nasty C "SMA" (ft Rowlene)

Nasty C and Rowlene have great chemistry. "SMA" from Nasty C's stellar sophomore album Strings and Bling, is as emotionally intense as "Phases" from the rapper's debut album Bad Hair.

AKA ft. Kiddominant "Fela In Versace"

AKA highlighted "Fela In Versace," one of the strongest songs from his latest album, Touch My Blood, as a single. What do you get when you mix Naija's afrobeats with South African hip-hop and pop? A massive banger.

Read: 'Touch My Blood' Is AKA's Most Layered Album

Manu WorldStar "Nalingi"

Manu WorldStar, the up-and-coming South African-born Congolese hip-hop artist's latest single is an Afropop smoothie that's currently melting everyone's hearts (hash tags don't lie). The song sees Manu taking a break from the bars he's known for, and opting to serenade a lady who stole his heart, over smooth keys and cloudy pads, surrounded by layers of percussion.

Amilca Mezerati "Milly Rock" (ft. TRP, Dee Koala and DJ Fabo)

Amilca Mezerati and his collaborators have rich personalities, and on "Milly Rock," they showcase it by way of black Cape Town slang and convincing delivery over a trap beat. Get the bag, dab and milly rock. In that order. "Milly Rock" is from a scorcher of an EP, Road to Ringz, which you can check out here.

Priddy Ugly "Reminder II"

In his firsts song this year, Priddy Ugly does what we fell in love with him for, and that's rapping like his life depends on it. The song is a sequel to "Reminder To Myself," which Priddy dropped three years ago. The sequel is as introspective as its predecessor. Priddy gives himself a pep talk, reminding himself (and us) how great he is, and how much he still has to achieve.

Umaah "Baptist"

"Baptist" is the opening song of Umaah's Sheila EP. She sings convincingly without even trying over a spacious boom bap instrumental by Micr. Pluto. Don't sleep on the EP and Umaah.

J Smash (ft. Emtee) "Never Fall"

"Never Fall" is classic Emtee—he reminds you that he's the head honcho of this shit, (he shows you the receipts, too), and he will never fall. His rapping and singing are impressive as usual, and he appropriates the hook of "Many Men" by 50 Cent. Trap king in full force.

LaSauce "Ncese"

LaSauce recently highlighted "Ncese," a 2017 song from her debut album Broken Lipstick, with a music video. The video plays out like a short film, and just like the song, tells the story of endurance, mistakes and forgiveness.

PH "Fire" (ft. Bongani Radebe)

The latest from PH is a catchy hybrid of jazz and hip-hop. He croons with the aid of auto tune, while a saxophone solo by Bongani Radebe creeps in the background.

Sjava "Confession"

The opening song of Sjava's EP Umphako is one of the strongest on the project, and all four songs go in. On "Confession," Sjava sings about fearing giving his love to a woman because he feels she might not reciprocate. The music on here is reminiscent of the artist's debut album Isina Muva.

Stilo Magolide "Boo'd Up" Remix

Rapper and member of Boyzn Bucks, Stilo Magolide recently released his take of Ella Mai's viral hit. He spits some lovey-dovey sing-songy raps and gives the hook a South African flavor by incorporating some IsiZulu. Stilo is smooth as usual, and sounds comfortable.

Zakwe "Roots" (ft. Stogie T and Jay Claude)

Zakwe enlisted the rap skills of Stogie T and the vocal skills of Jay Claude for "Roots" from his third album Cebisa. T's verse steals the show with a verse that tells the story of how far he's come with impressive penmanship (nothing new there). "Roots" is emotional and personal, and has soul, and stands out on Cebisa, which is a potent album.

Muzi "Zulu Skywalker"

"Zulu Skywalker," the latest single from Muzi's debut album Afrovision, got the visual treatment. On the song's animated video, a 4-year-old black princess takes off to space.

Read: Muzi's 'Afrovision' Album is the Soundtrack to "Real-Life Wakanda"
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(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The 10 Best HHP Songs Ranked

On the second anniversary of HHP's passing, we rank 10 of the South African hip-hop legend's best songs.

Jabulani Tsambo, popularly known by his alias HHP, was a pivotal part of South African hip-hop. Renowned for trailblazing the motswako sub-genre in the early 2000s, the rapper sadly passed away on October 24th, 2018 after a long and much publicised bout with depression.

During his active years, which span two decades (from 1997 to 2018), he was instrumental in breaking barriers and bridging the gap between kwaito and hip-hop in SA, from the late 90s to early 2000s.

He became a household name in the 2000s as he spearheaded the motswako movement, propelling it to the mainstream and solidifying his legendary status in the process.

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