State of South African Hip Hop

The rise of hip hop in South Africa began with Prophets of Da City when they performed the song “Excellent, the First Black President”, said Lee Kasumba, a DJ, writer, and all round authority on the rap scene there. That song put hip hop on the map in South Africa. Prior to that, hip hop had been an underground movement who fans are mainly poor, mixed-race kinds living in squatter camps outside Cape Town. But Prophets of Da City changed all that. Before most people had heard about hip hop, Kasumba has been growing up listening to hip hop music brought back by her Dad from the trip to UK. According to Kasumba, hip hop music caught people’s attention when the song, “Harambe”, which is Swahili for “let’s pull together”, became huge. Then South African Music Awards put in a best rap category, the rest is history.

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