South Africa is a land filled with a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds, this has evolved a range of musicians with unique and interesting elements of sound. From the birth of Amapiano and Gqom to the conquering of Hip-Hop and R&B, South Africans have an outstanding musical landscape that’s full of hot bangers and potent lyricism. It’s time you lend an ear to the South African musicians in this article.
Of course, we had to start this list with a brand new heavy hitter on the Hip-Hop scene. Blxckie made a breakthrough in 2020 after releasing his smash hit “Big Time Sh’lappa” featuring his tag team partner Lucasraps. The song caught the attention of millions with its heavy flows and pungent lyrical finesse. Blxckie’s ability to sing, rap and produce his own beats has given him a competitive advantage over some of the biggest names in Hip-hop. Being part of the ever-growing new Durban rap scene, he has clearly defined how he plans to lead the new wave.
Elaine is one of our generations next greatest talents. The 21-year old singer and songwriter from South Africa blend Trap Soul with other genres in an entrancing way as to give her listeners an earful of emotions. Her melodic tone backpacks on her powerful lyrics of being a hopeless romantic. Since the tender age of 6, her experiences have shaped the mould that makes her music so heartfelt in the ears of those that stream her playlist. Elaine’s versatility flows have propelled her 2019 album, “Elements” to the top of Apple Music Charts.
3. Sha Sha
Charmaine Mapimbiro commonly known as Sha Sha is a Zimbabwean-born vocalist that’s well known in South Africa due to her smashing features in various Amapiano singles. She has collaborated with many big-name artists such as Samthing Soweto and Kabza de Small. Her songs encompass the depth of emotion she’s undergone as she’s navigated the rollercoaster of her life between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
4. Kabza de Small
Often referred to as the King of Amapiano, Kabelo Motha aka Kabza de Small has clearly marked his throne in South Africa’s music charts. Often credited with popularising and leading the Amapiano Genre, Kabza de Small is no stranger to starting trends through his songs. With December being a hot, busy and party-filled month, South Africans have labelled his albums as the anthem of December. This has given him the platform to release an album every December to a dedicated fanbase waiting to blast his album in the club and down a drink.
Azana is a South African singer from KwaZulu-Natal, she has an explosive musical flair that mixes Jazz, African melodies and Pop beats. Azana expresses her music as being influenced by legends such as Camagwini, Simphiwe Dana, Nina Simone and Erykah Badu. Azana uses her music to stencil the lives of women and break down preset beauty standards. Her powerful statements of being a Queen allude to her fans and women all over the continent.
6. Nasty C
Nasty C has topped South Africa’s charts for four years now, hit after the hit he has written the anthem for South Africa’s Hip-Hop scene. With fans embracing him as such a prominent figure in Hip-hop, he chose to break their allusions of his talent by releasing an emotional R&B classic called “You Okay”. After letting his fans realise that he isn’t just punchy flows and 808’s, Nasty C kept releasing emotions R&B songs and ushered in a new phase in his career. One of his most prominent R&B songs, “SMA” is certified 3x Platinum. Having conquered his home continent, Nasty C has been set his sights on conquering the Globe after recently signing to Def Jam Records in 2020.
7. Joda Kgosi
Born in 2002, Joda Kgosi has made quite the name for herself among millennials, with only two songs under her discography it’s astonishing how big her name has grown due to Twitter users loving and sharing her charismatic flows. In 2020 she released “Truth is” and “Lunatic” which boomed to over 156 000 streams on Spotify within the first three months. Her relatable lyrics, resonant vocal range and beautiful melodies on beats produced by Elizée allow her to body three minutes of anybody’s playlist. Having just finished high school she is ready to focus her efforts on releasing an album. With a Twitter army of GenZ’s promoting her music, we can only wait to see her name pop up on our charts again.
8. Sho Madjozi
Maya Christinah Xichavo, commonly known as Sho Madjozi is a South African musician and poet. She is known as one of the most colourful and diverse artists in South Africa due to her multilingual raps and colourful dressing style. Sho Madjozi’s Pan-African rap style has caught the attention of major artists around the world including The Weeknd, Cardi B, Janelle Monae, he has also shared a stage with Jay-Z and Beyoncé at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg. Sho Madjozi sings and raps in Tsonga, Shona, English and Swahili whilst often punching in a French bar or two. Her energetic performances, wearing a traditional Tsonga skirt called a “Xibelani”, outmatch even some of the best Tsonga dancers, who adore and applaud her unique skills. The Xibelani is notorious for being a heavy and hard dress to dance in but Sho Madjozi makes it look flawless. Songs that have circled the world include “John Cena”, “Huku” and “Wakanda” Forever.
9. Ami Faku
The latest star in South Africa’s R&B/Soul Roster, Ami Faku rose to fame after her modern take on Afro-Soul propelled her as a contestant on the TV-show, “The Voice SA”. She didn’t win but her talent caught the attention of the record label “Vth Season record label” which elevated her career and bolstered her name in thousands of households across the country. Now she has collaborated with big local artists like Sun-El Musician and Mthunzi before releasing her debut album “Imali”.
10. Amanda Black
Amanda Benedicta Antony is a singer/songwriter with a passion for equality and empowerment. Idols such as Beyoncé and Whitney Houston are prevalent in her music style, whilst many fans believe he vocal range mirrors that of Beyoncé’s. Amanda Black expresses her Xhosa-heritage by singing in Xhosa and English. Her breakout single “Amazulu” is an Afro-soul hit with a beautiful melodic journey for the country to sing along to. The single fuelled the release of her debut album of the same name. “Amazulu” the album was certified platinum. The success of Amazulu nominated her for several South African Music Awards.
With an ever-growing industry and opportunities open for the most talented of South African musicians, its no wonder that new and diverse artists on the music scene have been embraced and followed by South Africans whilst setting global trends.
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Mxolisi Ndlovu is a 19-year old writer from Pretoria, South Africa. Started writing blogs for fun but quickly turned his passion for writing into a way to pay for Flight School. He loves airports, airplanes and basically anything in the sky above him.