With the 25th annual South African Music Awards around the corner, it's important to revisit the history of the event and celebrate the participants that have made contributions to SA's urban culture. Unfortunately, the SAMAs have had a history of being perceived to be less than hip-hop friendly. While this may be the impact of the show's legacy over the past few years, there has been an undeniable shift in the organization's award of hip-hop culture as a whole. Below, we've listed the artists who are nominated and their contributions to the culture of hip-hop and overall urban music.
Anatii is one of those artists you'd find it difficult to assign a particular genre. What is clear, however, is that his work on IYEZA was brilliant enough to get him nominated for two SAMA awards. In past interviews, Anatii has been questioned about why he labeled his album "World" as opposed to something like "Hip-Hop." According to the rapper, this was purposeful as to make note of the fact of the different influences for the project, as well as the fact that internationally, the album will be perceived as "world music."
Another friend to the community is Sjava, the man behind Umqhele. While there is debate around whether or not Sjava's music should be committed to the hip-hop genre, there is no denying that the man raps. From the acronym point of view, Sjava has both rhythm and poetry, granted he may not lay his vocals over traditionally hip-hop beats. Nevertheless, his commitment to sharing the work of other performers and musicians doesn't go unnoticed. Finally, what he is to be celebrated most for is his work on Umqhele. Even without fully understanding lyrics, it's clear to anyone who listens that Sjava has a musical ear and a way with words.
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Bursting onto the #SAMA25 scene with four nominations is Sho Madjozi. This Limpopo Champion debuted what many have debated being something considered an album or playlist according to common perceptions around what makes an album. Nevertheless, her debut album has taken her far and wide. With hit songs like "Huku" and "Wakanda" the youthful spirit of Madjozi's work and brand of entertainment is infectious. While this moment was years in the making, Sho Madjozi has consistently contributed to South Africa's ever-growing music scene, and this being her first time at the SAMAs with an eligible body of work is no small feat.
Mlindo The Vocalist
Mlindo's Emakhaya has earned him two SAMA nominations. While he may be more known in hip-hop for his collaborations with the likes of Riky Rick, he came out strong this year. One of the awards he is nominated for is the Best Newcomer award, and in all honesty, you've got to be noteworthy and of great talent in order to come out that strong with your debut.
It goes without saying that AKA has been an active participant and contributor to South Africa's hip-hop scene. The year prior to the release of Touch My Blood, the rapper was in the news more for his personal relations than his work, however, this all changed as he debuted Touch My Blood. The album and subsequent press around it showed a candid side to AKA, as he came off contrite and reinvigorated to put out a body of work that expressed not only his faux pas as a human being but his skill as an artist. This year, AKA is up for three awards and the 25th annual SAMAs.
African Trap Movement/Music cannot be segregated from the work of Emtee. His devil-may-care attitude comes across in his music and how he engages with criticism or anything close to it. For hip-hop and the consumers thereof, Emtee is someone you keep your eyes on.
What would the summer be without Jabba, a question commonly asked upon the untimely passing of Jabba, also known as HHP. Nobody ever anticipated losing him so soon, and more so after he debuted an album. Nevertheless, fans have mourned his passing, but have at least been blessed with a body of work that connects him to hip-hop, if only for the last time.
Kid X is up for two SAMAs, one of which a collaboration, and the other his exclusively. Thank Da King is his most recent body of work, and he's been doing the rounds lately with regards to promoting it. Kid X is not only an adept rapper, but he is also an artist that consistently seeks to push their own limits. Not only limiting his work to sonic productions, but the rapper also made it a point to tap into his overall artistic side by collaborating with Dr. Esther Mahlangu for the album's cover art. While the cover didn't earn him the SAMAs, the cover is a prime example of how Kid X has contributed to the culture of hip-hop beyond the sound.
At this point, what can't Nasty C do? He has practically grown before the public's eyes, as we watched him go from strength to strength and stage to stage. Strings & Bling set him in a place that removed him from his Bad Hair (Extensions) sound and truly catapulted him into the international arena as an artist. He's surrounded himself with equally skilled musicians and has consistently given his best to hip-hop. It should thus come as no surprise why the album is nominated three times this year!
Whether or not you appreciate gqom music, It Was All A Dream, was a moment for the Distruction Boyz. With this genre, in particular, seldom is a full body of work offered to the public, as the nature of the genre is premised in the ability of people to dance at parties. The Distruction Boyz have consistently contributed to their genre, which is especially noteworthy given the longstanding back and forth over the genre's true merits. Nevertheless, the Distruction Boyz continue and off to the SAMAs they go!
Gqom Wave Vol.2 was DJ Maphorisa's contribution to the gqom scene last year. Nevertheless, Maphorisa is just as respected in gqom as he is in hip-hop. Genre-bending is the new normal, and DJ's like him who do so without making the switch look forced is commendable.
There's a particular kind of skill required to persuade people into working together. For this reason, kudos must be given to DJ's like Capital who get rap legends together on one track. "Skebe Dep Dep" features Kwesta, Kid X, Reason, Youngsta CPT and Stogie T, all of whom are major contributors to the South African entertainment industry, more especially hip-hop.
There is no denying the power of "Sebentin." Zakwe put together an all-star roster to make this remix the hit that it became. All collaborators are powerful in their own strengths, but Zawke's collaboration almost perfectly personifies the spirit of hip-hop. This being that artists come together, trading bars and firing shots at naysayers and the like. Even rap veteran Stogie T was moved by this track...well, he is certainly in good company.