The linguistic fraction of hip hop in Mzansi has been on the up for quite a while now, whereby rapping in vernacular has become an in thing and not a hindrance in one’s career. The power and influence of these indigenous languages have grown to a point where some English rapping artists have seriously considered being more expressive in their mother tongues.
Today’s inspirational cut, regarding our regular feature, Throwback Thursday: Now & Then is derived from the late rap icon, Prokid. Many will agree with the notion that, this particular rapper was one of many who definitely set the bar high up, were only the best new age rapper/s could climb up and continue with the baton. The rise of rapping in vernacular was primarily inspired by the need for a “South African sound”; hence English had been put on some kind of a pedestal.
The new age rappers in South Africa have now been able to express themselves in our indigenous languages, this is primarily because of the “OG’s” that came before them and absolutely made it cool to not spit in a language that is foreign to them as artists’ and their reality.
The following rappers have made tremendous strides in their respective careers paths. These prolific hip hop artists have been absolute trailblazers, taking the stance to stick to their guns and produce music that is a true representation of their identity.
This rapper has befittingly dubbed himself as the ‘Motswako Origantor’. Khuli has come a long way with his SeTswana inspired lyrics as it is indicative of his heritage. During the course of his illustrious career, Khuli Chana has garnered legions of fans that have come to appreciate him and his preferred language of expression.
The Skhanda god himself has carved an impressive solo career after the disbandment from hip hop group, Teargas. When one listens carefully to his array of records and overall albums, there is bound to be a meeting of Kwaito nuances and that alone should serve as an indication that K, O’s sound is truly and authentically South African. We see you Mr Cashtime.
Kwesta’s vernac game is definitely on a hundred. The baritone rapper is known for keeping it real in his records and that made him not to lose touch with reality as it also translates in his artistry.
Okmalumkoolkat is a definite original. No one can do what he does as his lyricism is simply out of this world. This futuristic rapper has always had an unconventional way of going about delivering his iconic and indigenous catchy words that he usually use when crafting his music lines.
Zakwe has also mastered the art of rapping in vernacular. He is shown commendable growth since the beginning of his career, and has never swayed from rapping in his mother tongue – IsiZulu.
A lot can be said about this legendary rapper’s music but one thing that sticks out about his style of lyricism is the simplicity that emanates from the soul of his music. He has somehow maintained that vibe over the years. Most of his records are mainly IsiZulu and a tinge of “Tsotsi Taal”. Ma – E is never one to shy away from music producing top quality music.
The Ndebele speaking rapper has always been entrenched in his culture. He has somehow found a way to incorporate his Ndebele language with IsiZulu in his music, which makes it an absolute delight to listen to. Kid X recently released his album, whereby the cover art was hand designed by the iconic Ndebele artist, Esther Mahlangu.
Anatii does not have a long history in creating music in vernac; however he does bring the house down when he occasionally expresses himself in his mother tongue – IsiXhosa. There is no denying that his verse on ‘Don’t forget to pray’ was a definite win and that ‘’Thixo Onofefe” is just pure genius on Anatii’s part.