Female & Southern African Rappers — Putting Themselves on the Map

A woman stepping into the male-dominated field of hip-hop is revolutionary in itself. Hip-hop was created by men like DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, in the South Bronx of New York City. Upon its creation you did not see too many female emcees and the weight of hip-hop was carried on the shoulders of men, who objectified women in their music. Nonetheless, there are still women who helped shape hip-hop to what it is today. Women like (not limited to) Salt-N-Peppa, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, Left Eye, and Da Brat set a standard for women that is obviously inspiring women today to enter the industry, whether they know it or not. Each of these women had their own message but carried it with a fierce and independent voice. Today we have women who not only attempt to create a rap career for themselves, but succeed and have seen larger success than some male rappers have. Today our biggest stars include (but are not limited to) Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, and Nicki Minaj. Black women in the hip-hop landscape in America have truly broken down barriers while inserting themselves in the music industry and there is a strong sisterhood around it. This experience is no longer limited to the American landscape as now we see South African female rappers inserting themselves in the conversation as well. As you take a listen through the playlist, it will introduce you to some of the most talented women in the Southern African rap scene.

“FEMALE & SOUTH AFRICAN RAPPERS — PUTTING THEMSELVES ON THE MAP” Playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDFwkbcPwlsEGkIXlZP4BYITPif0LrVDJ

First up on the playlist is Kanyi Mavi and her new single Umsindo. Kanyi Mavi is an emcee based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a Xhosa-speaking artist, the second most common South African language after Zulu. Her sound is raw and unlike anything you have ever heard. Her lyrics will move you whether you can comprehend Xhosa or not. She uses her platform to talk about a range of social inequities like sexuality, abuse, and drugs. Her particular song in this playlist is titled Umsindo, meaning anger in Zulu. You can feel the emotion as she moves through the song and its cover is filled with red and orange hues. Kanyi Mavi will continue to see success off of the strength of her unconventional sound and recognition of her South African roots. She is easily one of the most popular female artists hailing from Southern Africa.

Next up is Gigi LaMayne with Fees Will Fall. Gigi LaMayne, born Genesis Gabriella Tina Manney in Lenasia, South Africa, is an award winning artist at twenty-four years old. Her stage presence is high and so is her versatility. She has been rapping since she was sixteen and this song is one of the earlier ones from her career. This song is a powerful one, urging its listeners of the importance of education and holding her government accountable. Gigi LaMayne uses her platform to sing the struggles of her peers & neighbors but also has super fun and energizing songs. Gigi LaMayne is pretty well-known and I see her success reaching new lengths.

Up next is Moozlie’s S’funukwazi. Moozlie is from Benoni, Gauteng and raised in a small suburb in Johannesburg. Unlike others in her field, Moozlie attended college at the Varsity College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences. After college she won the MTV Base VJ Search which sprung her career into action. Since then she has one studio album by the name of Victory. S’funukwazi is an upbeat song which has a sing-songy chorus to accompany the hip-hop heavy verses. This song breaks up the serious nature of the playlist and represents the versatile nature South African women have in hip-hop. 

The second to last song is Boity’s Wuz Dat. Boity is an award-winning rapper from Potchefstroom and began her career in media as a TV commercial model. Boity also began college at Johannesburg’s Monash University but dropped out to pursue a career in entertainment. Boity is a relatively new emcee as her first single (see playlist) was released in 2018. Boity’s image is reminiscent of Lil Kim and from a first glance at her, she is an obvious star. Wuz Dat is upbeat, catchy, and makes you want to memorize every lyric. This song is a collaboration between Boity and Nasty C. Wuz Dat is an example of women breaking through barriers so much that men have become featured on their songs.

The playlist concludes with Rosa Ree’s Up in the Air. Rosa Ree was born Rosary Robert, in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, and began her career as a singer. At twenty-four years old, she has countless singles that her listeners enjoy. Her energy is high and it comes through in her lyrics. Up in the Air makes you feel like you are exactly there due to its quickness and quirky sound. Rosa Ree’s flow is unlike anyone in this playlist as it gives a New York hip-hop feel. She is by far the most underrated but will not be for long.

These five songs are completely representative of the sounds, significant social issues, lyrics, and identities of Southern African women who rap. Since the scene is up & coming, there are artists who are more well known than others. It is my hope that this playlist will uplift those voices that have not yet reached stardom and generally help support the scene of Southern African women in hip-hop.

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