If you’re only hearing about Kwesta’s greatness now that you’re jamming to “Ngud’“, you’re late. The Katlehong-native has been killing it since 2007 when we first introduced to his infectious brand of kasi-inspired, punchline-driven hip hop.
Don’t believe us? Here are nine hits that prove he’s not too far off when he calls himself Da King of African Rap (DaKAR).
“Sharp Fede” (2007)
“Sharp Fede” was Kwesta’s introduction to mainstream South African hip-hop. And what an introduction it was! He delivers his hard hitting punchlines so effortlessly, you’d swear he does this kind of stuff in his sleep. His rhymes are always perfectly timed and every line on this song is a punchline. “The only reason you’re on fire is because ngiphethe itoss / Even when I’m touching you, si’roller nge rizzla ngikubheme ‘cause I’m done crushing you,” he raps.
“7 Day Hustle” (2010)
This is probably one of the most slept on tracks in Kwesta’s catalogue. The song first featured on the 21st volume of Hype Mag’s mixtape and went on to appear on his debut as well. The song has a soulful vibe to it and was a departure from his signature punchline-heavy rap. There was no talk about girls, liquor and all of that, just him sharing his hopes and dreams and how he plans to achieve. If anyone thought Kwesta was one dimensional, this was the initial evidence that he could easily switch up between upbeat hip-hop and more laid-back introspective joints.
“Pump It” (2011)
Remember this? Of course you do. Released in 2011, Pump It became went on to become the theme song to DSTV ad. Kwesta has never been shy to experiment with different sounds, away from his laid back flow we know him for. On “Pump It”, he rapped over a casual flute and bouncy drum pattern, yearning for a Shakira hook. Kwesta proved he could flow over any beat thrown his way.
“Take That” (2011)
If you’re looking for a marker in Kwesta’s career, a signifier of his rapidly rising popular, look no further than this. Although he’d already started establishing himself as a contender for SA hip hop’s throne, Take That catapulted Kwesta to newfound heights.
The track’s music video can be credited as the reason for its popularity. The video featured a then popular dance group called The Repertoires and they featured behind the scenes footage of Take That on their show. This isn’t to say Kwesta didn’t deliver on the song itself. Far from it. The joint was pure heat and saw him spitting punchline after punchline over an up-tempo beat.
“Thul’ Ujaive” (2013)
The featured guests Zakwe and Kid X complemented the track and Kwesta very well with their equally laid back flows. “Thul’ujaive” is a party starter; with a catchy beat and lyrics fraught with sexual innuendos, an intent to jaiva, and leave beer bottles upside down. Kid X’s catch phrases and Zakwe’s mad lyricism just complete the package.
“Boomshakalaka”, the first single on Kwesta’s second album, DaKAR, was a snippet of what heat he had in store. The album went on to win the title of Best Hip Hop Album at the 2014 Metro FM Awards. The song, featuring Kid X, solidified his mainstream presence, as his popularity began to grow exponentially since then. Kwesta was slowly finding his voice, employing a nonchalant flow, that has grown to be his trademark.
“King Speech” (2014)
“Now let me tell you how I see myself/ F*ck being a star, if I can be myself.” That line at the beginning of the song sets the tone for the rest of the song. He addressed beef in the game and his relationship with his ex-bosses at Buttabing, Slikour and Shugasmakx. This single was released after the infamous 2014 MTVBase SA Hottest MCs list was announced, where he was placed ninth. Kwesta maintains that the song was not a response to the list, but an ode to his fans who feel that he is never given enough credit.
“Awu ngithi jaiva ufuthumale nana/ Thina sibu shaya ku phumi langa tanga” This was the first single off, Dakar II. Kwesta is a self-professed beer lover, hence the lyrics to the song come as no surprise. “Nomayini” is a feel-good song coupled with a fun, yet sexually provocative music video. It has a skhanda rap feel to it, a mixture of hip hop and pantsula sound, yet again showing us that Kwesta’s sound can fit it everywhere.
“Day Ones” (2016)
If the trap beat on “Day Ones” sounds familiar, then it’s probably because you’ve heard it on Cape Town-based rapper Ejay’s single, which has the same name. The drama surrounding the Tweezy-produced beat aside, Kwesta’s track is still flames. He delivers a smooth verse where he shout outs his ‘hood. Tweezy’s Young Thug-style hook and AKA’s solid verse make for a complete song, guaranteed a spot on your playlist.