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4 singers re-interpret South African hip-hop songs

by: Sabelo Mkhabela - 8 May 2017

IMG_3383South African singers sporadically give a twist to some rap songs. Lucille Slade recently covered “Tito Mboweni” by Cassper Nyovest, adding onto covers done by the likes of Thando Nje, Karrizle Sings and Melo B Jones. The latter was the first to make this whole cover thing pop. Here’s a list of some potent covers of your favourite rappers’ songs.

Lucille Slade – “Tito Mboweni”

Up-and-coming Jozi-based singer turned Cassper Nyovest’s club banger, “Tito Mboweni“, into an emotional ballad in a recent performance at SABC’s Expresso Show. She hits high notes over mellow keys. If you don’t listen closely, you might mistake the song for a tear-jerking R&B tune. She even renders the now-infamous “sha sha” in a melodic way.

Listen to more covers by Lucille Slade here.

Thando Nje – “Kontrol”

Up-and-coming Pretoria singer Thando Nje released this cover of AKA and Da L.E.S’s hedonistic hit, “Kontrol“, two years ago. She sings with ease yet it’s still effective. Her interpretation of the song is interesting – she sings over an airy beat with a wide bassline, turning the turn-up anthem into a smoky trapsoul slow burner, with her own interpolations. Solid.

Listen to Thando Nje’s latest EP New Age Soul here.


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 Melo B Jones – “Run Jozi (Godly)”

Melo B Jones is the pioneer of these hip-hop covers. Two years ago, she started posting acapella covers of popular hip-hop songs such as Drake’s “0 – 100”, Chris Brown’s “New Flame” and Juicy J’s “Bands A Make Her Dance”. Her rendition of AKA and K.O’s “Run Jozi (Godly)” caught on some serious heat – it has been played 11000 times on SoundCloud, and generated a long thread of praise comments. She sings acapella over a beatbox. She also recreates those loud horns on the original song with her voice, proving she’s indeed the don. She managed to rap melodically without losing the original song’s grit. Mos def the best cover thus far.

Listen to more covers by Melo B Jones here and here.

Karizzle Sings – “10 Fingers”

AKA and Anatii’s duet, “10 Fingers“, got covered by prolific LA-based YouTuber Kraizzle Sings. She tweeted it at the end of March, and it went viral. Even AKA retweeted it. Her cover, unlike those of her counterparts is different in that she is covering a sung hip-hop song. She owns it, though, and sings over piano keys which she plays herself.

Check out Karizzle Sings’s YouTube page for more covers here.

What other vocal covers of South African hip-hop songs do you know of? Let us know in the comments section or on social media.

Holding image of AKA, by Sabelo Mkhabela