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A List Of Local Artists Making International Success The New Bar (II)

Let's continue looking at artists I feel have taken the bar a notch higher in defining success in the SA Hip Hop scene. I'm talking about setting international marks and representing us to the rest of the world. This is not a countdown, nor a comparison, this is an observation and appreciation of fellas putting in the work. I sited Cassper Nyovest, AKA, Tumi, Anatii and Mabala Noise in part 1 of this post. Here are the other 5:

6. Nasty C

Most of the artists mentioned above have built a following locally and used that as leverage to build relationships with the different markets abroad. Nasty C’s story is a bit different. While his name is being built in the local market, the world has been eyeing him. We all know about the Roc Nation story and I want to confirm that it’s real and it seems he chose Mabala Noise over them. It’s one thing to be identified by an establishment like Roc Nation 'cause that doesn’t always mean success, but it wasn’t until Nasty dropped his album Bad Hair that we saw how much interest he has in the international market. His album trended on an international website and he also had a feature from Omari Hardwick from the Power series who was blown away when he heard his music for the first time. Omari might also feature Nasty on his album dropping next year. Speaking of features, Davido also released his EP a week ago and Nasty C is the only African feature unless you consider Tinashe an African artist. The Nasty story is still unfolding and he could probably be the one that leads us to the next level of organic international recognition with the right guidance from his team.

We spoke to Nasty C about Bad Hair and working with Omari & Davido's EP:

7. Okmalumkoolkat

Although Malum’s international success is lowkey, he's one of the few rappers with an international deal and normally tours Europe. Malum has always been in the scene as part of Dirty Parrafin but his career as a solo artist in the local market was really highlighted after the Gusheshe feature and through BoyzNBucks. Malum is working on more new music and it should be interesting to see how his journey as an international star unfolds.

Throwback to that infectious Gusheshe:

8. Blayze

Blayze dropped a single two years ago with Bishop Lamont taken from his album Underdog. The single, 20 Gold Chains also featured Maggz. The track had a video and I remember Blayze telling me that Bishop Lamont shot his part in the states and mailed them the files and that’s how these two worlds came together. Some background on Bishop Lamont, he was signed by Dr Dre in 2002 and in 2010, he left Aftermath.

Blayze ft Bishop Lamont & Maggz - 20 Gold Chains:

9. Dj Maphorisa

Well, if there was ever a cat to school us on the 6 degrees of separation model, Dj Maphorisa would be him. Maphorisa made headlines when he was credited for co-producing One Dance on Drake’s VIEWS album featuring Wizkid and Kyla. Here is where the 6 degrees comes in.
Dj Mapjhorisa entered Wizkid's circle. This then extended to meeting Chris Brown. He then went to LA where he kicked it with Wizkid in studio and got a chance to work on One Dance which made him enter Drake’s circle. I would hazard a guess that Maphorisa planned this from the very start. He started by embracing the African sound which then opened doors for him. But the real lesson here is the WizKid co-sign that he has managed to ride on. His album is set to drop on the 15th of November and we can be sure to see the results of the 6 degrees.

Side bar - his current EP sounds like an album and you can also start hearing the African sound. It’s a mixture of Afro Pop, hip hop and house. Just listen:

10. A-Reece

When an artist announces two release dates for one album and the difference is that the one has international features and the other probably doesn’t, that's when you know statements are being made of where the level of the game is. A-Reece did exactly that this week and is probably the first artist locally, and who knows, maybe in the world to do such.
Expect #ParadiseReloaded from the boy!

If you're not convinced that these artists are shifting the bar of success locally, you're sleeping. These are the very reasons we need to support them more 'cause the world will embrace them even better once they know that they're loved where they come from.