Posted in Artist Profiles, South Africa

African Hip-Hop Artist #5

Kwesta

Biography

Senzo Vilakazi has been a rapper and songwriter since the early 2000’s. His stage name is Kwesta and emerging poet in high school from Johannesburg when he discovered his talent through awards and shows. The positive feedback from his audience led him to look into and expand his passion. He was so confident in himself that he decided to drop out of school and pursue his music career full-time. In 2005, he connected with a representative of Africa’s Most Southern Record Company, which created a following within his hometown. Local beatmakers passed along beats for Kwesta and another musician, Zakwe, to rap over in the studio during the creation of his project.

His victories during YFM’s Rap Activity Jam exposed Kwesta’s music to a national audience that caused people to greatly respect him as an artist. His demo was also a success and wound up on a playlist at Buttabing Entertainment offices and was proposed a business opportunity that would introduce him to the music industry. Since he was a young artist, he was at an advantage creating messages that related to his personal experiences and relaying them through lyrical content that can be acknowledged and respected by individuals around the world. Kwesta released his first album, which received an enormous amount of attention. His style and delivery through his music allowed the opportunity for him to work with various talented musicians around the world.

Artist’s Review

Kwesta’s “BoomShakaLaka” consists of many similarities to Western hip-hop. The beat is similar to a futuristic-style beat that is commonly found in the West. The artist is also dressed in urban street wear including a hat and hooded jacket instead of wearing clothes representing African culture. Kwesta crosses back and forth between English and his native language through his raps. This creates a unique sound as you decipher what you can interpret and what you cannot. The video is also reminiscent of a Western hip-hop video through the different scenes that contain women dancing and close up shots of the rappers in flashy jewelry. The women are also wearing clothes that don’t cover their bodies as most women within the African culture do. His voice is also similar to the bass that rappers that typically rap over these kinds of beats have. Even though the artist’s each possess similar rap voices, their heavy accents help to distinguish the differences.

The hook is interesting because it replicates the exact style that Western hip-hop artists use. This a song that I would definitely listen to because it reminds me of artists that execute this style but with a different approach to the delivery. The accents make the song more interesting and compliment the futuristic and cool beat that they rap over.

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