1987 Cnr Ill and Rap Avenue
Post Beat Box 1
Hip Hop Land
Dear South African Hip Hop
I write you this letter – no its not an open letter – to share some of my thoughts and feelings over what has transpired in your vicinity recently. Please note I write this with a mixture of a heavy and grateful heart. This is because of how you have somewhat influenced my mood both negatively and positively.
Before we embark on the purpose of this letter, happy birthday. Turning 28 years old is an achievement of note from when your baby steps were noticed in a Senyaka video called “African Rap”. The first time I saw the video I had a feeling you’ll grow up to be different and special. I can’t help but smile at the achievements you have attained over the years.
The point of this letter is to tell you that we as your fans and multiple lovers, we cherish you, but you have hurt us countless times with empty promises, halfhearted performances and rude remarks towards us. Understandably it’s been a long, hard journey for you but we ready to carry you on our backs and let you breathe life into our iPod. You mean a lot to us. To me, you are life.
Your teenage years were rough and I understand that being in school with the likes of kwaito and house must have been a hard phase in your life. No one took you seriously; anyone who partook in the culture was called “American wannabe” since your family tree does stem from the USA. You grew up with all that and right now you are one of the most prevalent cultures influencing many other cultures swiftly. We recognise your scars and the insults you were subjected to by the non- believers. Let us not forget that the SAMA committee disrespected you in the utmost of ways when they gave Zwai the award for Best Hip Hop at their inaugural event. I’m certain you were thinking, “Do the judges know what hip hop is?” – I know I did. I feel your pain.
You also introduced us to talents like P.O.C and BVK, for whom we are eternally grateful. Ready D who is member of the former mentioned group is world-renowned; thanks to you SA has a representative at the world stage.
Remember The Motherload? I sure do. That’s when I had a crush on you. The compilation exhibited skill and talent from rappers ranging from Mr. Selwyn to Proverb. Oh how I wish you I saw how you touched and changed souls at Le Club. But since we’ve now moved into the digital era, I miss the times I’d check you out at street corners and cyphers. Seeing all the people who loved you like I do is something special. I do however have to confess; Diepkloof was my hangout spot on weekends just so I could witness rappers showing love to you, hip-hop, at Slaghuis.
I love how you have influenced my life. How you speak to me via a beat, rapper and a microphone. How the slang has become a part of my life. Yes I avoid words like “Dzuey” and “Cav” on personal preference but my connects know what it do when I drop jewels in my speech.
You are also a welcoming soul which is evident to the likes of Zeus, Adrianto, Black Vulcanite to name a few who are not of SA descent but because of the love they have for you, you have let them in with open arms. More so, their input has grown the whole industry that we are now mentioned as one of the top music players in Africa.
I see you also have your foot in the door with a bevy of corporates companies, opening up opportunities for our artists to earn endorsements in their trade. Kudos to you, its about time you get taken seriously.
Despite negative situations involving certain rappers, a lot of people most likely didn’t even notice your presence in the form of AKA at a political party rally when he performed in front of scores of possible new fans. Hip hop, you touched a new ground on that day. You spread your wings just a little further.
I’m excited about this year my dear hip hop, I see a lot of music videos, songs and proposed dates, and I promise to make time for all of them. Devil’s Playground by P Dot O, Levels by AKA, Dreams A Plenty by Solo, man! I promise to support you when you are released.
With the last year behind us, I am looking forward to another year together, another anniversary, another gold SA hip hop album, another sold out show showcasing local hip hop talent. I am looking forward to another year of memories with you.
Written By: Siphiwe Zwane (@SDotJR)