Sjava, Ruff, Emtee and Saudi. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

How Sjava, Emtee & Saudi Turned 'African Trap Music' Into An Internationally Recognized Sound

We dive into what African Trap Music (ATM) is, how it started, and what it means for South African hip-hop.

South African artist Sjava recently won the BET Viewer's Choice "Best International Act" award. Earlier this year, the singer and rapper was handpicked by Kendrick Lamar and TDE, alongside three other South African artists—Saudi, Babes Wodumo and Yugen Blakrok—to appear on the soundtrack of the movie Black Panther. Sjava rendered a show-stealing verse on the song "Seasons," alongside rappers Reason and Mozzy.

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Future Africa. Aewon Wolf, Mnqobi Yazo, Sibu Nzuza and S'phephelo Bulunga. Photo by Sabelo MKhabela.

Future Africa Wants to Make Traditional Sounds Cool Again

This new South African group blends influences from maskandi and mbhaqanga with pop & hip-hop.

South African artist Aewon Wolf has lived many lives—he's a member of The Wolf Pack, a singer, rapper and director, among other things. He calls himself an all-arounder. On his debut album, Mural, released in 2017, Aewon introduced himself as a versatile artist who mixes various genres. He has collaborated with a diverse array of artists such as Khuli Chana, Sketchy Bongo, Shekhinah, Mashayabhuqe KaMamba, among others.

He recently expanded his scope when he became part of a crew called Future Africa, which consists of members Sibu Nzuza (vocalist, poet, rapper and guitarist), Mnqobi Yazo (vocalist, producer and guitarist) and S'phephelo Bulunga (percussionist, producer and rapper), who are all based in Durban.

Future Africa makes music Afrocentric music with touches of hip-hop and pop. Their first song "Ntombi Endala" is a great place to start to get a taste of their sound, which has traces of maskandi and mbhaqanga. "Potoza Game" by Sibu Nzuza and Aewon Wolf featuring Simmy Sims will also give you further understanding of their music.

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