Well its not a far fetched question cause some of the most diverse hip hop sounds and artists are all coming from that piece of the land thats next to the sea. Durban is the only city that has a group of hip hop artists who are not only unique through their image but also their sound.
They have a very good work ethic and their constantly releasing quality material that resonates beyond their city.
They also dont have the presence of SABC or DSTV like Joburg therefore most of their success is based on aggressive online strategies.
Consider this for diversity though you've got an artist like Zakwe and Duncan who probably would be considered underground cause of their lyrical output. Truth of the matter you'll also find a lot of artists like Zakwe and Duncan in Joburg who are masters with the words and vernacular but you'll hardly see any of them on prime time tv or star studded awards ceremonies like this duo.
Then you get new acts like WTF.A lot of new artists are trying to break in the industry yet WTF are unknowns but their song Nomusa is a smash. I still dont know whether they are a group or one person and I wouldn't be able to point them out in the streets but believe MTVBase has already exclusively premiered their video, then a week or two later Live Amp which doesnt even allow some of the most established artists to perform on their stage allowed them to grace their studios.
Nomusa is so huge somebody went to one of the major companies and claimed its their song. The major recording company put it up on iTunes and now the custodians of the song are taking legal action against the label. When people claim your song and it leads to such legal action with players of that magnitude you doing something right. Now think of any unheard newcomer in Joburg with a hit like Nomusa without a co-sign from a gang or clique........Thought so.
The Rookies of the year Dreamteam have also crafted their own boy band image which is a move not similar to WTF or Zakwe. Their place in the industry cant be ignored and they've also lived up to their self-proclaimed alias Rookies Of The Year.The Joburg Hip Hop scene is also filled with cliques,squads etc and many rappers are struggling to be accepted. Now how do three guys from Durban end up being co-signed by the A Team (AKA,Da Les and Burna Boy)? Ever since DreamTeam dropped their first single Tsekede they've been developing themselves to be more than just a hip hop outfit catering for rappers, their collaborations with Tira,Fisherman,Donald and Naak Music shows a trio thats trying to touch the hearts of every South African -their new album is also available on iTunes as a pre order.
The boy band approach is intentional and they do it well and this has definitely been their gap so you won't only hear some dope party songs but the ladies will also have some wetdream-teams....ok that never worked but you see what I tried to do there:)
So lets recap quickly before we get to the last one. Durban has produced vernacular lyricists who are in the mainstream,last time we saw that was Pro Kid,they've produced one of the biggest hits from WTF without a co-sign and they have a boy band.
The last one is probably the least expected cause the sound is so abstract or futuristic. Aewon Wolf has been making waves after the Durban July with his masked partner Sketchy Bongo.
Last week he was on SABC1's Live Amp and he just dropped a dope single with Tribal that people are requesting everywhere.
Aewon has a different sound that needs you to have an ear for hip hop to appreciate. His current singles have been a lot more friendly to radio though. When I saw he was on Live Amp this weekend doing this single,
then I saw Khuli Chana and Okmalumkoolkat messing with his team mate Sketchy Bongo it sealed the deal for me.
There's something in that Durban water and its slowly shaking South African mainstream hip hop.
I had a chat with Riky Rick a few weeks ago and he felt that hip hop might have a dry summer if Joburg cats dont push harder.
But is it possible that the game is shifting?
Do you think Durban hip hop is going to take over the country the same way they did with Kwaito?
Only time will tell.