Music
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

South African rap veteran Stogie T wants to keep the art of lyricism alive.

Stogie T is '#MakingSARapAgain' with #FreestyleFriday Series

South Africa's finest lyricists are participating in Stogie T's #FreestyleFriday series.

For the past few weeks, South African hip-hop veteran Stogie T has been giving rap fans something exciting to look forward to every Friday. The rapper picks a beat and laces it with a freestyle verse. The challenge is then passed on to lyricists he handpicks himself.


Asked what inspired the series, the rapper simply says, "I wanted to do my part to keep the art of lyricism alive."

Some of the country's most gifted lyricists—Kwesta, Ginger Trill, PDot O, Kid Tini, Touchline and many more—have each followed Stogie T's lead and rendered a freestyle verse over instrumentals for classic hip-hop songs such as "Grindin'" by The Clipse, "Hell on Earth" by Mobb Deep, "Pound Cake" by Drake, among a few others. Rappers from outside of SA, including Ian Kamau (Canada), John Robinson (NYC) and M.I Abaga (Nigeria) have also been invited to participate in the challenge.


#FreestyleFriday is one of many amazing series of content artists have been creating for fans while they are forced to stay indoors during the lockdown. If you are fan of bars, #FreestyleFriday has enough bars for you to play over and over and pick up those Easter eggs.

South Africa has some of the finest lyricists in the whole world, and #FreestyleFriday showcases some of them, both big and small.

Stogie T is passionate about the art of rap. Apart from being an otherworldly lyricist himself, he hosts the YouTube show Verse of the Month on the website Slikour on Life's YouTube page. In the show, he picks the best verses by South African hip-hop artists and breaks down what impressed him. So, #FreestyleFriday is on-brand.

View some of the best freestyles from the series below, and follow the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for more.











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A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

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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