Music

The 20 Best South African Hip-Hop Songs of 2021 So Far

The best South African hip-hop songs of the year so far featuring Nasty C, Blxckie, Stino Le Thwenny, K.O, A-Reece and more.

Since experiencing somewhat of a renaissance circa 2014, South African hip-hop has once more found itself at a crossroads. With the advent of trap, drill and even amapiano, the genre has had to reimagine itself to capture the imagination of its primary audience.

While fusion still plays a huge role in SA hip-hop, like its iterations including skhanda rap, mzonkonko and new age kwaito prove, there remains a golden thread that runs through the genre. Rather than a sonic quality, that thread seems to be an attitude, lifestyle or aspirational outlook and that perhaps explains why there's such a broad church of sounds from the community.

South African hip-hop is as much indebted to its street corners and nightspots as it is to the idealistic environment it finds itself in. In a sense, as society experiences fluctuations so do the sounds we hear from South African rappers. When progress is made that creates a space for more conversations from more people, but stagnation also impacts the ability to have a monolithic product to offer.

In this context, expect to hear several iterations of hip-hop from several generations of rappers from different walks of life and imagine hip-hop as the soundtrack of the current moment.

Below, we round up our picks of the best South African hip-hop songs of 2021 so far, listed in no particular order.

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