Emerging out of the shadows of Kwaito, South African hip-hop has grown to become a dominant force in mainstream South African music. Hip-hop combines two slang terms. HIP, which means ” in the know”, has been a part of African American vernacular since the late nineteenth century. HOP, represents the hopping movement done by hip-hop performers.
1988- 1999, these were the formative years of South African hip-hop, a time when a fringe of curious South African youth were fully influenced by hip hop in all it’s elements- a time were groups were more prominent than individuals.
The last three decades have seen it grow from being a form of a political expression in it’s birthplace Cape Town to artists such as AKA, NASTY C, GIGI LAMAYNE, NADIA NAKAI and CASSPER NYOVEST being embraced by fans from around the world.
Black noise, a break dance crew founded in 1982 from the Cape flats became South Africas first complete hip hop outfit. The show ” rap activity jam” for local rappers was created by YFM in 1997 às a platform for local muscians to share their music. Skwatta Kamp won a SAMA award for best Rap album ” Khut En Joyn” in 2003, leading to the crew being signed to Gallo Records. This was a shift in local hip-hop to the mainstream. Motswako, which is a Setswana based hip-hop had it’s roots in the early 90’s with Bongo Muffin and then HHP in the mid 2000’s who created it into the movement we see today with Artist’s like Cassper Nyovest flying ťhe hip-hop flag high. These moments amongst others led to the genres rise.
Places like Randlords, poolside, Kospotong amongst others are some of the places that offer hip-hop music for its lovers. BACK TO THE CITY, South Africa’s biggest and most diverse hip-hop festival offering all elements of hip hop- DJing, rapping, graffiti, basketball and skateboarding. Event’s like Sneakers Exchange also celebrates and embraces the “hip” part of the hip- hop culture.
One can confidently say that hip-hop plays a huge role in our street culture and everyday life…. from the fashion, right down to the language. Hip-hop is a lifestyle on its own, loved and embraced through music by it’s lovers. Offering a platform for artists and fans to express themselves through sound, hip-hop is one of the best cultures that will live throughout all generations.