From sold-out shows, tours, endorsement deals, music labels, album sales and winning various awards, South Africa has a wide range of rappers who are dominating the music scene. According to Zalebs, even with Jay Z, Kanye West, Eminem and Drake dominating the rapping industry on an international scale, South Africa has its very own (worthy) top 10.
South Africa’s wealthiest rappers
Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known professionally as AKA gained Frobes significance after releasing his single Victory Lap which was released from his debut album, Altar Ego.
The multi-platinum selling artist reportedly started rapping at the age of 12 and dropped out of high school when he was 16 to pursue his dreams. Born and raised in Mahikeng, North West, he is regarded as one of the most successful artists in South Africa. He got his first big break when popular rapper, Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP) featured him on his song, Wamo Tseba Mtho after which he became a household name.
In 2020, the 23-year-old rapper signed a major deal with an American record label, Def Jam Recordings. This alliance was made possible through a joint venture with Universal Music Africa after it became clear that Nasty C was regarded as one of SA’s best rappers.
Kwesta was the first rapper to have seven singles on the radio charts in his first year of releasing music. His sophomore album DaKAR – Da King of Afrikan Rap made its debut at number three on the iTunes South Africa Hip-hop/Rap chart, behind Eminem’s Marshall Matthers and Drake’s Nothing Was The Same.
K.O was a member of Teargas, a hip hop group which released its debut album titled K’shubile K’bovu in 2006, followed by Wafa Wafa in 2008, Dark or Blue in 2009 and Num8er Num8er in 2012. Later, he released his first official single from his debut solo album, Mission Statement, which became a critical success and enjoyed massive airplay across South Africa.
Die Antwoord, made of Ninja and Yolandi Visser, have gained international success by incorporating what they call “documentary fiction” and “exaggerated experience” designed for shock value in their music and music videos.
Zander Tyler, better known by his stage name Jack Parow, is currently one of South Africa’s most popular artists. This often controversial rapper has managed to build a hugely successful music career, while also diversifying into other products such as his own barbecue sauce.
Da L.E.S is a hip hop artist who has released several albums. His single Heaven that was released in 2013 was among his best-performing releases.
Khulane Morule better known by his stage name Khuli Chana, is a South African rapper who gained massive success after releasing his major successful album Motswakoriginator.