“Its bigger than HIP! HOP!” The words chanted by Dead Prez will echo for eternity within the hip hop fraternity, and on the 20th of November 2013, Alex Theatre in Braamfontein was filled to the brim with fans, rappers and party goers alike, to celebrate the very culture that is hip hop.
If hip hop was in the building, it would have been proud of the turn out. A couple of people followed the dress code to the T; with no marketing tees I might add, and some exhibited an eclectic flavour as we have come come to expect in hip hop circles. The fashion was crazy and flashy. The gold chains, the snapbacks all mixed in with the suits.
The initiative as a whole is a great showcase of local hip hop and celebrates the work that has been put in from rappers to producers to graffiti artists and promoters included. The statue of the awards represents climbing a mountain to reach the stars; so fitting. The statue can symbolise a lot with regards to how the event is organised. The team is climbing up a tantamount mountain of presenting awards for a genre that is growing; fast I might add, with no sponsors and backing from the big corporates.
With that said, many may see the large amount of hiccups as understandable but they still need to be attended to. The issue of time continues to haunt the event as it was reported that last year the start was also late. Proposed time was 6pm but there were still entry issues at 8pm. A crowd formed outside the gate with guests impatiently waiting for one person who apparently held all the lists for presenters, nominees and media. That is not a good start.
When we finally entered at 20:45 – almost 3 hours later than the proposed time – there was an issue of people sitting in whatever seats they found as they were not given seat numbers. The planning can be called nothing short of horrendous with such a big delay.
The show started with poet Mak Manaka giving a beautiful ode to hip hop. He took the whole crowd on a nostalgic lane with the names mentioned. Voice overs took over with witty skits about the old school rappers which subsequently brought out Cashless Society and Mizchief. Also, Senyaka came out to perform the first hip hop song in South Africa called “African Rap”.
The hosts, comedians Pule and J-Bhoboza, entertained the crowd with jokes and throughout the night were ridiculing rappers. J-Bhoboza entered the stage in a coffin symbolising that hip hop is not dead. Shugasmakx would later show his lack of sense of humour when he lambasted the jokes the hosts made about Psyfo. The two kept their act of entertaining and throwing shots at rappers throughout the whole night. It was enjoyable seeing rappers being clowned and honoured in the same space. There was also a Rick Ross lookalike who came on stage shirtless.
The joy was people carried on enjoying their thanks to the hosts and the winners taking to the stage excited and beaming in gratitude to hip hop and their fans. It was a beautiful sight seeing the hip hop culture in unison. Overall, the event went on smoothly with the announcement of the Kings’ categories. It took a sharp southward turn when they were playing the Cypher videos. The videos had scratches and the VLC control panel kept popping up mid video to many’s dismay. Which adds to the lacklustre planning.
The performances were different and varied. The artists entertained the crowd. Khuli Chana performed “Mnatebawen” right at the end. As aforementioned; Cashless Society, Mizchief, Senyaka performed as well. Dream Team DBN performed their smash hit “Tsekede”.
Cassper and Okmaloomkoolkat took to the stage to perform “Gusheshe”, which eventually won Best Collabo on the night, much to the crowd’s excitement in mimicking the 325is movement. Reason also wowed the crowd with his performance of “Switch”, “No Sleep” and the verse from “No Sleep Remix” which many may say is was the eclipsing reason he won Lyricist of the Year ahead of other talents such as Ginger Trill and PRO.
The one performance that will ring in a lot of talks would be Da Les’ performance. He came out to perform his new single “FIRE” accompanied by Diamonds, a very sexy pole dancer. A lot in the crowd can attest to being fixated on her skills more than the actual rapping Da Les did. The video can be viewed here.
The sound also was a party pooper, it was either too distorted or the mics of the presenters were not on, however when it was right, it was perfect. At one point, iFani waited on stage for a good three minutes for the nominees list to come up on the screen which he said, “Well this is awkward.”
The night wouldn’t be complete without some controversy, of course.
The big winner on the night was DJ Dimplez, scooping three awards, which in fact was a confusing moment when he won Hustler of The Year but his name was not on the nominees list on the night. Another surprise that was welcomed was Ms Cosmo winning Best Radio Show for The Stir Up with the show being just under a year old in existence.
AKA walked away with MVP second year running and delivered a 16 bar verse as his acceptance speech. A possible hint of Levels being released very soon.
It goes without saying that the whole event is welcomed by the hip hop culture as the packed-to-the-rim venue could attest. The time management issue was undoubtedly a thorn that needs to be ironed out, and the planning of the whole event has to be looked into going forward. With this one being the second one in succession, a lot more was expected on the presentation front and unfortunately they fell short.
In essence, the idea is a beautiful one but the execution disappointed. We look forward to next year’s one. We believe it can only grow from here on as long as the organising committee attends to the bad parts that were unfortunately exhibited on the beautiful night.
For a full list of winners, check it out here.
Written By: Siphiwe Zwane (@SDotJR_)