Last week a video of Jabba saying he was going to “moer” rappers who mention his name and disrespect him, surfaced on the Internet. He’s got a point, and here’s why.
1. He mixed hip-hop and kwaito before it became cool
Jabba was rapping over kwaito beats and repurposing popular kwaito lines, before it became cool. Check out “Tswaka”, “Bosso”, “Make Monyeke”, “Wamo Tseba Mtho”. Even his name Hip Hop Pantsula is testament to the duality of his music.
2. He “made Tswana fashionable”
Alongside Morafe, Jabba is one of the pioneers of motswako – a sub-genre of rap that’s done mostly in seTswana. Jabba made motswako famous with songs like “Tswaka”, “Music and Lights” and “Bosso”. He also won awards and endorsement deals. He paved the way for the likes of JR, Cassper Nyovest, Tuks Senganga and Fifi Cooper.
3. He was the first rapper to win Best Male at the SAMAs
In 2008, Jabba walked away with two SAMAs, one for Best Hip Hop Album for Acceptance Speech, and another for Best Male. That made him the first hip-hop artist to win the latter award, which had previously been taken by artists from more popular genres.
4. He was one of the first to collaborate with big names like Nas and Talib Kweli
Jabba collaborated with international stars way before it became prevalent. He had Nas on his 2009 album Dumela, even though the verse was recycled from The Distant Relatives album (but that’s a story for another day). He collaborated with more American stars, like Asheru, Talib Kweli and Raheem DeVaughn. Jabba’s a serial collaborator in general, he has worked with respected African artists like Naeto C, M.anifest, Nazizi, among others.
5. He’s an outstanding performer
In 2008, Jabba won the Best Live Performer award at the Hype Awards. The man’s live performance game is among the best in South Africa. He was one of the few hip-hop artists who started performing with a band, after Tumi and The Volume. Even with the conventional DJ-and-rapper configuration, Jabba’s live set will leave you begging for more.
6. Jabba sold gold when not many hip-hop artists were
Jabba has two gold-selling albums under his belt, namely YBA2NW (2004) and Acceptance Speech (2007). He achieved this feat when not many hip-hop artists were doing it – only Skwatta Kamp and Pitch Black Afro.
7. He won Strictly Come Dancing
In 2007, HHP won the SABC 2 Strictly Come Dancing competition. While this might not seem like a great feat for a rapper, it did expose him to a market that he, or any other rapper, wouldn’t have been able to reach – he became a household name.