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50 South African Hip-Hop Facts

By @SabeloMkhabela_ on 08/11/2023 in Article

As Hip-Hop turns 50 today, August 11, we share 50 facts about South African Hip-Hop:

  • Ginger Trill was the first South African rapper to get verified on Twitter (before blue ticks were for sale). 
  • Cassper Nyovest’s Fill Up FNB Stadium show remains the biggest show by a rapper in South Africa. More than 68,000 people attended the 75,000-capacity stadium. Fill Up FNB only comes third after U2 and One Direction in terms of numbers in the same venue. U2 filled up the stadium in 2011. One Direction had 131,615 people over two days in 2015.
  • Blxckie’s first Rap name was Blxckie Chan. 
  • Skwatta Kamp started with 13 members. 
  • Cassper Nyovest was the first rapper to jump on Amapiano. 
  • Yo! Girls was the first all-female hip-hop group in SA. One of the group’s members was Malikah Daniels who’s married to Grandmaster Ready D. They never released any music but they used to perform in Cape Town events in the 80s and 90s. 
  • YoungstaCPT has more projects than any other South African Hip-Hop artist. He has more than 32 mixtapes, close to 10 EPs, two solo albums and four collaborative albums with producers such as Ganja Beatz, Arsenic, Maloon TheBoom and Shaney Jay.
  • MsSupa was the first female rapper to appear on the cover of HYPE in 2005. 
  • Pitch Black Afro’s debut album ‘Styling Gel’ was the first SA Hip-Hop album to go platinum (50,000 hard copies — CDs and cassettes — sold). The album would end up going double platinum, selling more than 100, 000 copies.
  • Le Club, started by DJ Bionic and DJ Blaze, was crucial in shaping the Joburg Hip-Hop scene as it is today; artists and groups like Amu, Skwatta Kamp, Zola, Mr Selwyn, Snazz D, Stogie T, Shorty Skillz and a whole lot more used to attend Le Club in the late 90s and early 2000s.
  • Prophets of Da City, one of the first South African Hip-Hop crews, performed during Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994. Most songs from their album, ‘Age of Truth’, released in 1993, had been banned by the apartheid government. 
  • Black Noise, formed in 1982, is the oldest South African Hip-Hop crew still active today. 
  • Big Xhosa has an A-Reece tattoo on his left arm. 
  • AKA was the first rapper to have his own flavour of a major alcohol brand with the watermelon flavour of Cruz which reportedly sold more than 1.2 million bottles. 
  • AKA and Cassper Nyovest used to be friends and even have some unreleased music together. 
  • During the making of Da L.E.S’s ‘On Fire’ (featuring Maggz and Bonganie Fassie), Bongani Fassie, who produced the song, called Anatii, who was in high school at the time, and asked him to assist with operating autotune. 
  • TZ Deluxe, Zubz and Stogie T’s joint mixtape 'Where Were You', was recorded in one day. 
  • Godessa was the first all-female crew to release an album, ‘Spillage’ in 2004.  
  • PRO was the first and only Hip-Hop artist to sign to TS Records in 2007. He released his third studio album, considered his magnum opus, ‘Dankie San’ later that year.  
  • ‘Caracara’ by K.O and KiD X was the first music video by a South Africa-based Hip-Hop artist to reach a million views in 2014.

  • In 1997, Rap Activity Jam on YFM, hosted by Oskido, was the first Hip-Hop radio show on a commercial radio station. 
  • Big Nuz started out as a Hip-Hop crew. So did Chiskop, TKZee, Skeem, Brickz, Zola and many other kwaito groups and solo acts of the 90s. 
  • Spex’s album ‘RhymezIWrote’, released in 1999, is considered the first solo album by a South African rapper.
  • All rappers featured on Zubz’s ‘Heavy 8’ had no idea what other rappers were featured on the song when they recorded their verses. 
  • In 2016, Cassper Nyovest became the first rapper to appear on Sway In the Morning, followed by AKA, Nasty C, Kwesta and Stogie T in that order.
  • Eargasm was one of the first indie Hip-Hop record labels to make a mark in South Africa. It was owned by Bradley “DJ Bionic” Williams and Melanie “Hypress” Ramjee. They signed Spex and the late Mizchif. 
  • The Muthaload: A Cube Collective’ is considered the first South African Hip-Hop compilation. 
  • Fifi Cooper was the first artist to sign to Ambitiouz Entertainment.
  • ByLwansta was the first South African artist to appear on COLORS in 2017. He was followed by Yugen Blakrok, Sjava and Sho Madjozi who all appeared in 2019.
  • Hymphatic Thabs was part of the crew that shot Mapaputsi’s music video for ‘Izinja’. 
  • Around 2006, Blaklez was a writer for HYPE Magazine. He wrote about 15 cover stories including those of ProKid, HHP and Flabba. 
  • Hugh Masekela released a Rap song in the 1980s titled ‘Don’t Go Lose It’ while signed to Jive Records in the US. 
  • AKA’s ‘Levels’ was inspired by JR’s ‘Kool 4ever’ album. 
  • In full, Nasty C’s stage name is Nasty Cat. He broke down his name in a 2016 interview on Cliff Central: “The first guy who recorded me, my brother’s friend… I was inspired by T.I and Lil Wayne, so I used to rap about a whole lot of stuff that I didn’t even know at that time… very vulgar. So, he used to tease me and be like, ‘you a nasty cat.’” 
  •  When Tweezy started messing around with Fruity Loops as youngin, he thought it was a video game.
  • HHP was the first Hip-Hop artist to win the Best Male award at the SAMAs in 2008 for his album ‘Acceptance Speech’. 
  • Okmalumkoolkat designed the cover for AKA’s ‘Caiphus Song’ single. 
  • ‘Levels’ by AKA was the first South African English Rap album to go gold.  
  • ‘Couldn’t’ was the first song A-Reece recorded after his first meeting with Ambitiouz Entertainment. 
  • As of 2023, Nasty C is the most streamed South African Hip-Hop artist on Spotify. 
  • The now-defunct Hip Hop Headrush (HHH) was the first ever website to exclusively document South African Hip-Hop. It was followed by websites such as Streetsheet, Africasgateway, Ventilation.co.za and a few others. 
  • Nas was featured on HHP’s 2009 album ‘Dumela’ on the song ‘Keledimo’. He would later recycle the same verse on ‘Leaders’, a song from his 2010 joint album with Damian Marley, ‘Distant Relatives’. 
  • AKA’s hook to Stogie T’s ‘Miss Joburg’ was originally recorded for ‘Diamond Walk’. 
  • Prophets Of Da City’s debut album ‘Our World’, released in 1990, was the first South African Hip-Hop album ever released. 
  • Kwesta’s ‘Dakar II’ album is the best-selling South African Hip-Hop of all time. It was certified 7x platinum in 2018.
  • Amakipkip started as a stall in Rosebank. Da L.E.S found a t-shirt they had printed to promote the shop and started rocking it, for the first time on the ‘What’s With The Atitude’ music video. When the demand increased, they printed more t-shirts and it ended up becoming a brand. 
  • Riky Rick designed the artwork for Da L.E.S, AKA and Maggz’s ‘Heaven’ single.
  • “Butan” is an anagram for the word “Bantu”. According to the brand on its website, “The brand name pays homage to our roots and heritage while the re-arrangement of the letters signifies a changed, entirely new mindset and outlook on life in contemporary South Africa.”
  • Reason has been on the line-up of every Back To The City from 2007 until 2019. Last year was the only Back To The City he wasn’t on the line-up. 
  • Stogie T has appeared on all of AKA’s albums (‘Altar Ego’, ‘Levels’ and ‘Touch My Blood’) except ‘Mass Country’.

 

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