You’ve heard the the tag – the “Ambitious” whisper at the beginning of your favourite SA trap songs. Ambitiouz Ent is undebatably the best hip-hop stable in South Africa currently. It’s home to Emtee, Fifi Cooper, A-Reece, B3nchmarQ, DJ Citi Lyts, Miss Pru DJ and Saudi and their latest signee, Amanda Black. The label has been releasing massive hits, like “Roll Up”, “Vura”, “Washa”, “Bonang”, for the past two years. Emtee and Fifi Cooper also have SAMAs and Metro FM Awards under their belts. We bring you, in no particular order, our favourite hits from the stable:
DJ Citi Lyts ft. Sjava and Saudi “Vura”
This is the latest hit from the Ambitiouz crew. It’s probably one of the best songs to come out of the label and one of the biggest songs in South Africa this year. The production – a simplistic slow burner with a prominent bassline – isn’t the only thing that makes “Vura” dope. The vocalist, Sjava, fuses some mbaqanga swag with new school freshness, emphasising his syllables, making you wish you had a Vura with “umtwana o-yellow on the passenger seat,” as the chorus goes.
Saudi ft. A-Reece “There She Go”
The bassline thumps hard. The beat alone teleports you to a dimly-lit nightclub with a low-hanging cloud of smoke. Which is what the song’s video depicts. “There She Go” is a tad disrespectful – it’s two teenage boys rapping foul about a teenage girl who’s “wherever the weed is”. “Mawungam’bona let me know, I need my ganja from her/ Owethu sonke, that’s one thing about her,” sings Saudi. But then again, hip-hop and misogyny go way back. “There She Go” is catchy and is quintessential trap from the production to the lazy enhanced singing style that Saudi deploys.
DJ Citi Lyts (ft. Fifi Cooper, Emtee & B3nchMarQ) “Washa”
“Washa” is apparently the first South African hip-hop song by a deejay to reach a million YouTube views. “Washa”, just like most Ambitiouz songs, is nothing innovative. But the catchiness of the hook and the beat will have even purists bobbing their heads, if dabbing is too much. All Ambitiouz Ent signees at the time (Emtee, Fifi Cooper and the B3nchmarQ duo) contributed a verse each. Emtee also provided another one of his melodic hooks. For a posse track, “Washa” doesn’t offer much lyrically, but then that’s not what this stable is about.
Miss Pru (ft. Emtee, Fifi Cooper, B3nchMarQ, Sjava & Saudi) “Ameni”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t get what Sjava is saying on the hook – but that doesn’t take away from the grandeur of “Ameni”. The kick is solid and it pulsates alongside a droning bassline. A selection of synths complete the beat, which plays the perfect backdrop for the ever-growing Ambitiouz Ent roster to display their singing and rapping skills. I once saw this song being performed live, it became a mini cypher. The less said about the last verse the better; “The SAMA is mine, you can call me Zahara/ Like na, nigga don’t call me Zahara” Huh? So should we call you Zahara or not? Track still bangs, though.
Fifi Cooper “Monate C”
“Monate C” was one of the songs that showed that The First Lady of Motswako, as Fifi Cooper is called, could rap. You don’t have to understand Setswana to catch the holy ghost on this track. Fifi’s flow is captivating and straight up solid. The beat, with a big bassline, compliments her well. For a label mostly known for trap, “Monate C” is the most rappity rap Ambitiouz Ent has ever gone.
B3nchMarQ ft. Tweezy “Get Lit”
“Bonang” may be B3nchMarQ’s most successful hit, and it was dope, but we feel “Get Lit” was nicer. The bassline alone deserves its own write-up, Tweezy just has a way with those. His Young Thug-esque hook game is also on point. The beat to “Get Lit” is simplistic and the duo meet it halfway with swag-dripping flows. “Get Lit” is nothing short of lit.
A-Reece ft. Emtee “Couldn’t”
19-year-old A-Reece is the most lyrical rapper from the label. “Couldn’t” was his first song under Ambitiouz. And he was out for the kill. With lines like “Some of y’all are rapping like you still got something to prove, I got over that so you know/ I don’t like rappers who say they got next when they been in the game for like 10 years or so”, the young rapper wasn’t out to play games. Emtee’s hook earned the song a spot on radio and TV playlists, and A-Reece had officially arrived. His album Paradise, which just came out, is also money.
Sjava is that dude. Alongside Mashayabhuqe KaMamba, who makes digital maskandi, Sjava managed to strike the balance between vintage mbaqanga and popular music. “Ekseni” is a trite love song but it’s still special because of the way the man sings. He doesn’t try at all, but walks over that bass with the swagger of David Masondo (from The Soul Brothers). His album Isina Muva is one of the best albums you might not have heard this year. Don’t sleep.
Fifi Cooper ft. Emtee “Kuze Kuse”
Emtee can’t do no wrong, vocally. “Kuze Kuse” is a party starter produced by Tweezy, one of the best trap producers in the country (AKA’s “Sim Dope”, L-Tido’s “Dlala Kayona”). The pads are breezy, the bass and 808s knock. The rhythm is catchy and “Kuze Kuse” is not sure if it’s hip-hop or pop, not that it matters. Fifi Cooper is her usual confident self, and you don’t have to understand what she’s saying to appreciate her. This is one of Emtee’s best hooks thus far. Read our profile of Tweezy here.
Emtee “Roll Up”
“Roll Up” was the label’s first major hit. It did a great job of introducing Emtee to music fans. It was catchy, and it was a shameless lift of O.T Genasis’ equally catchy “Coco”. But it still banged. You don’t have to admit you liked it, we know you did. Even though the song became a hit, many fans dismissed it as beginner’s luck, because it wasn’t a lyrical masterpiece. But Emtee went on to drop a scorching album, Avery. “Roll Up” got the attention of industry heavyweights – two of them being AKA and Nigeria’s Wizkid, who went on to drop verses on the remix. Revisit our interview with Emtee here.
Image of Ambitiouz Ent at Swaziland’s Hipnotik Festival taken by Sabelo Mkhabela
What Ambitiouz Ent hit do you feel should have made our list? Let us know in the comments section, below or on Facebook and Twitter.