7 of the best South African hip-hop verses of 2016 so far
by: Sabelo Mkhabela - 27 June 2016
Moozlie on Rouge’s “Mbongo Zaka”
Moozle showed great improvement on “Mbongo Zaka”. The verse is one of her strongest to-date. Its strongest trait is her delivery. Her subtly hoarse voice plays to her advantage, as she spits with an menacing conviction, making sure you believe when she says, “I’m ‘bout that Blanco money/ That when I step up in the room, you better focus money/ And if you standing in that way, I have to take your money. ”
Nasty C on Stilo Magolide’s “Day Off”
Stilo’s not a lyrical rapper, so Nasty C didn’t have much to compete with, but he still brought his A-game. He wastes no time. The first four bars are fire: “I heard if you stay on it pays off/ So I took a day off from day-offs/ I want a 368 with the head off/ Okay, that’s a couple of Ks taken care of.” Nasty C has one of the most solid deliveries in the game right now, and it never gets old.
Youngsta on Priddy Ugly’s “Come to my Kasi”
Youngsta’s verse on “Come to my Kasi” is intimidating. His delivery is vicious, and so are his lines: “Fuck a social life, on the corners is where I chill on/ Rappers want beef, I hang them up like biltong/ You just a [?] man and pussy with granny panties/ Don’t call me fam or family, keep it clean like Handy Andy”, reveal a hungry rapper out for the kill. Priddy Ugly’s verse was also dope, but it couldn’t survive Youngsta’s.
Nasty C on DJ Vigi’s “Bang Out”
“Bang Out” is a difficult song to judge. DJ Vigi assembled three of the most technically-skilled rappers, in what could be the best rap song of the year. All three rappers, especially K.O. and Nasty C, had scotching verses. I like Nasty C’s better. He surprises me all the time. It’s hard to tell when he will end his lines and that creates anticipation. His lines are simple yet potent.
Reason on DJ Switch’s “Now Or Never”
This is another difficult track to judge because every verse is proper. The second half of ProVerb’s verse is perfect – his flow’s accurate and his rhyme scheme is complicated but he pulls it off so well. Reason’s whole verse is what the second half of ProVerb’s is. On lines like “To you who enter with new perceptions choose your dilemmas/ Do what you do how you do it or just do what the rest does/ Either way, know you’re going toe to toe with the Kwestas, the Xs/ And that’s just you keeping up with the Kardashians”, Reason applies his wide vocabulary on coherent lines that make sense and display his flair.
AKA on Ma-E’s “Don’t Lie To Me”
With accurately timed pauses and a natural conviction in his voice, AKA owns Ma-E’s song. AKA brings us a conflicted human being on his verse. He begins with some self-reflection ends the verse by reflecting on how far he has come in the game. From his flow patterns to how the verse transitions from an aspect of his life, it’s clear AKA did more thinking before putting pen to paper.
Okmalumkoolkat on Kwesta’s “Mayibabo”
It’s not because of the lyrics that Okmalumkoolkat’s verse on “Mayibabo” excels. It’s the flows – if Phuzekhemisi or Bhekumuzi Luthuli were rappers, they would probably sound like Future Mfana on this verse. He fuses those rueful maskandi drawls into his raps, and does it so effortlessly, you ask yourself what it is the man can’t do.
Image of Nasty C, by Sabelo Mkhabela