There are those artists that will just excel on features or posse tracks. In no particular order, we list six of the ones who kill it, consistently.
A consistent emcee, Reason, is also a multi-faceted writer. He can tell a story, he can floss with simple, yet witty, punchlines and can switch flows to match any beat thrown his way. That comes in handy when he’s a featured guest, as he murders everything no matter the subject or tempo. Take for instance his “No Sleep” remix where he came victorious over fellow beasts likes Tumi and Ginger Trill, and he spat the most heart-felt verse on that joint, about losing his son. Remember how he owned G.O.O.D Music signee, CyHi The Prince’s “Mandela” remix with relentless bars? How about “Freedom Or Fame Reloaded” by Blaklez? How about that other track your favourite rapper featured him on?
While still known as Koleps, as part of Teargas, K.O always outshined his crewmates on tracks. Remember his verses on “Champions”, “Rise” and most of all “Go Away” where he made simple lines like “Tsek, sani/ Money talks ang’hlek’ sani” sound like a line off a classic anthology entry. The emcee’s strongest trait has mostly been his charisma; it has seen him come victorious on tracks like L-Tido’s “We Rollin’”. He stepped it up when he went solo; his bars became as strong as his charisma – making him an indomitable guest. On DJ Vigilante’s “God’s Will”, he spat a flawless verse with a delivery laden with sporadic pauses and lines only K.O can pull off (“You can’t fill my shoes, o-size my babo”). The culmination of this good streak, though, came through his verse on AKA’s “Run Jozi”, where he made the Super Doro Mega an obsolete addition to his own song.
Known more to the average music fan for his guest verses than his solo stuff, Maggz is one of the best in South Africa. He flips between English and vernacular effortlessly. He has swag, street cred, and more importantly, skill for days. He has been consistent since his days with Saudi Western. His brief stint with Fassie Records, around 2010, resulted in one of his most famous guest verses on Da L.E.S’s “On Fire”: “You dudes better shut up now or get shut/ ‘Cause we don’t only get bucks, we get bucked/ You throwing your sets up, we get you set up/ While we throwing your set up, we getting set up”. He’s bodied rappers on tracks like AKA’s “Do It” remix, Da L.E.S’s “Heaven” (that verse!), Riky Rick’s “Amantombazana” remix and more.
Mos Def called her the queen of South African hip-hop. Listen to her verse on Driemanskap’s street classic “S’phum’eGugs” and you’ll understand why. Kanyi’s vicious delivery and confidence always makes sure her verse sticks out on any posse track, even if you don’t understand her textbook Xhosa rhymes. Remember how she breathed life into the otherwise-flat “Aweh Four Corners” alongside E-Jay, Youngsta and Markus Wormstorm, the first single off the Four Corners soundtrack? The sad thing, though, is a year can pass without Kanyi blessing us with a new verse.
Before he released his brilliant mixtape 3 Quarter Pace, about a month ago, there were claims by some hip-hop fans that Kid X couldn’t stand on his own. His legacy was built on impressive guest appearances and his contribution to Cashtime songs. The rapper’s style fuses a mumble-delivery and Tsotsi Taal that will fly over your head at times. Kid X is technically skilled (notice how he will break his words to make them rhyme sometime) but still it doesn’t take an esoteric ear to appreciate him. Some of his best verses are on Riky Rick’s “Amantombazana” remix, DJ Vigilante’s “Pasop” and of course K.O’s “CaraCara”. In the words of Tumi Molekane, “I feel like X do things that people can’t see or hear, like those frequencies only dogs can hear”, that’s how deep the rapper’s skills go. You might take time to “get” him but when you do, you will be awed.
Rappers should stop featuring Brickz if they know what’s good for them, or at least keep him on the hook like Tumi did on “Bambezela”. It’s just embarrassing for them when they, as emcees, get killed by a kwaito artist on a track. Brickz has a captivating delivery, fluid flows, and witty lines. He did it to Pro on “Umfutho” and Sugasmakx on “Imisebenzi Yakho”. He does the same on kwaito tracks – “Volvo” by Trompies, “Ngeke Balunge” by Spikiri. His biggest hit “Sweety My Baby” was birthed through another stellar guest verse he did on Brown Dash’s “Vum Vum”. Brickz is an emcee.
All images supplied by artists, except K.O’s, taken by Thabiso Molatlhwa for Live SA.
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