Cultural exchange with Europe and the United States was widespread since the 19th century when gold was discovered in Johannesburg and people began to migrate there.
Because of this, there was rich diversity in the area and the traditional music of South Africa mixed with European and American music, which lead to the development of a different sound.
The musical movement of hip-hop in South Africa has grown ever since but it was the social side of hip-hop that took over and made it a dominant force in the country.
Hip-hop culture in South Africa emerged from kwaito music – a style of popular music in the country that is similar to hip-hop.
Like with American hip-hop, it started in SA as a form of political expression in one of the three capital cities of the country, Cape Town.
The breakdancing crew Black Noise, which founded in 1982, became SA’s first complete hip-hop outfit addressing social issues in their lyrics.
Hip-hop as a form of social backlash became commonplace, with rap groups lyrics often revolving around the residue of the political system from which the country has only recently emerged. Topics such as the prevalence of HIV and AIDS, violence in major cities, and what it means to be South African.
Cape Town’s craziest duo, scrap that, the world’s craziest duo Ninja and Yolandi Visser make up the counterculture movement that is Die Antwoord. Yolandi’s high pitch vocals compliment Ninja’s more conventional (if you can even associate that word with this group) rap style. Die Antwoord are extremely experimental with their heavy bassline beats and insane music videos, with them having a close cult following because of it.
Regarded as the king of SA hip-hop by his fans, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes (AKA) has produced award-winning, chart-topping hip-hop. He’s a 6ft5 figure that is passionate about the ‘awakening’ of South African artists and is known for sparking controversy, commonly changing his image and his egotistical lyrics.
Cassper is regarded as one of the most successful artists in South Africa. Hailing from Mahikeng, the rapper established his own record label Family Tree Records and rose to fame with his critically acclaimed debut studio album Tsholofelo in 2014. Nyovest’s success resonates in his ability to sell out stadium gigs across the country.