Dope lyrical references by South African rappers
by: Mayuyuka Kaunda - 23 June 2017
Rappers often throw in some seemingly innocuous lines mid-verse, that let us know what they’re listening to currently, or what they were influenced by growing up. These lyrical references shed light on who some of rappers own favourites are. It’s a dream to catch these lines and serves as a little gift for the discerning listener. Here’s a few we’ve caught; these light bulb moments are hard not to share.
The best place to start is with AKA, who has a penchant for both sampling and dropping verbal cues. On L Tido’s brand new offering Thixo, the man who started his career by weathering comparisons to Jay Z, pays homage to Nas when he spits the line “don’t say my car’s top less, say the titties is out”. If that line hasn’t made you look at the origin of the phrase, compare both tracks below:
Next is a former Teargas member who always brings some friendly competition to AKA. K.O does a similar subtle hint at a rhyming influence by hiding this reference pretty deep into his verse on Pro’s Pholas. He revealed his inner Pharoahe Monch by using three words from the rapper’s track Evolve. Both these artists possess superior wordplay skills and this makes it a fitting influence. It’s a great salute to an artist who regularly displays his “spectacular, miraculous flow”. See if you can catch the line in both tracks below:
From referencing just one line or track to laying it on thick, Kid Tini’s homage to both Ludacris and Driemanskap is perfect. It’s a combination of interpolating the spaza rap group’s S’phum’eGugs hook and lifting the melody for Runaway Love that’s brilliant. You can check ’em all out below:
It’s really easy to accuse rappers of biting from their peers, but leaving lyrical trails for listeners to follow benefits all parties involved. It’s not just a cool way to surprise us fans, but it makes us check for the original song too. Like Jay Z says, these artists are writers for themselves and others, so leave a comment below and let us know what lines you’ve caught that pay homage to other rappers.
Picture: Sabelo Mkhabela