2020 is receding, beckoning to a new year, 2021. Many would tell you that 2020 was a mixed year, especially for the entertainment industry and its denizens: a year of wins and a year of losses.
The coronavirus pandemic was a jarring intrusion in the dreams and hopes and plans of many out there, especially in music. Amid the COVID-19 storm, which is yet to abate, several south African artistes managed to have a brilliant year… managed to rock the year 2020.
In this article we bring you a short list of them: 5 South African artists that rocked 2020. A list is subjective, of course. And the list given here is no different. The list is given in no particular order, if you please.
1. Nasty C
The de facto Coolest Kid in Africa rocked 2020 like a dream. After teasing fans with the prospect of releasing “Zulu Man with Some Power” album in 2019, he had marched into 2020 and unleashed that body of work – a fine testament of his artistic range. He had also visited Japan and, back home, got many vibing with him during his Ivyson Tour.
2. Master KG & Nomcebo
One can’t be listed without the other here in that the two are behind “Jerusalema,” one of the songs of global resonance in 2020. The song had spawned a challenge, which had gone global and been endorsed by the Government of South Africa as well as by some notable international celebs like the Portuguese footballer Christiano Ronaldo and the American singer Janet Jackson.
3. Big Zulu
Big Zulu is big not just in his adopted stage name but in his ability to drop hits back to back and woo the Rainbow Nation. The songster has released a couple of hits this year, the most recent being “Imali Eningi,” a collaborative work with Riky Rick and Intaba Yase Dubai. It is the song of the moment in South Africa, and it looks like Mzansi will be carrying the “Imali Eningi” energy into 2021.
Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, who goes by the stage name of AKA, had the singular distinction of trending on Apple Music South Africa’s album’s chart with his “Bhovamania.” EP even before he released the project. He maintained the position briefly after release, leaving no one in doubt he is a warrior in Mzansi rap. He rocked the year.
Oh, well, we know this is a little of a stretch, lumping three singers as one. But we cannot help it. The troika merits a place on this list. Mr Music, Zama, and Brandon Dhludhlu were undeniably magical on the Idols SA circuit.
From the outset, they left no one in doubt they have what it takes to get the nation singing. Their soulful, lyrical energy took them far and to the top three positions on the show. And when they released their first singles, as signees to kwaito legend Oskido’s Kalawa Jazmee Records, they snapped spots on Apple music South Africa’s singles chart.
Mr. Music was No. 2 on the chart with his song “Ngikhethe Kahle,” just below Big Zulu’s “Imali Eningi.” Zama was next behind Mr Music, at No. 3, with her song “Ndizobizwa.” Brandon Dhludhlu snapped the 4th spot with “Uhambe,” a collaborative work with veteran rapper Duncan.
With their debut singles, the troika has made 2020 memorable for many in the Rainbow Nation. Their debut singles might be taken as a prelude to something even greater. Having displayed extraordinary talent in 2020, should the world expect something less in 2021?
2020 also belonged to “Sghubu Ses Excellent” crooner Focalistic. The songster, who evinces great faith not only in his talents but in his destiny to end up as the greatest artiste this side of the world, rocked the year with “Ke Star” and other charming numbers.
He is one of South African hip hop’s strong voices. Not surprisingly, he was justly rewarded at the SAHHA.
7. Scorpion Kings (DJ Maphorisa & Kabza De Small)
Scorpion Kings is the stage name of amapiano duo DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small. The name is taken from one of their soar-away projects – since certified platinum. The coming together of these two artistes is unarguably a big triumph for South African music, as the pair has been releasing hits back to back.
In fact, whatever they release, their fans lap up immediately, making them the strongest two-man army in South African music right now.
8. Costa Titch
Mzansi rapper and dancer Costa Titch dropped his debut “Made In Africa” album this year and got the Rainbow Nation talking near instantaneously. The songster deftly weaves local lingo into his lyrics, leading to accusations of cultural appropriation. But then respectable voices in South African music had defended him. He is one of the artistes who rocked the year.
What do you think of the list? Are there artistes you think should have made the top five but who somehow got omitted