Here is everything you should know about South African Kasi Rap.
A Sub-genre of Hip-Hop;
Mzansi music is just too broad to fathom but if you dedicate your time to it, you would learn all that you need to. One very exciting genre which continues to thrive in the SA Music industry is Hip-Hop. Anyone who has followed its rise over the years would know that it hasn’t really been an easy one. This is all thanks to various names in the industry, some of who are not with us anymore but sacrificed so much to make SA Hip-Hop what it is today. However, the work that they put in many years back still speaks today.
You may have heard a lot about the South African Kasi Rap. It is a sub-genre of SA Hip-hop which has had it’s story written in the realest manner. Kasi Rap rose out of the streets of Soweto, a township of the City of Johannesburg in South Africa. The rap style is usually characterized with vicious delivery and vernacular punchlines. In much simpler terms, it isn’t delivered in English but rests on a bedrock of vernacular. Kasi rappers who rise from the streets of Soweto are mostly sharp and vicious from years of being involved in street rap battles, and also having so much to unload.
Origin Of Kasi Rap;
History has it that Kasi Rap gave SA Hip-Hop its identity in the Mzansi music industry. One can not talk about the origin of Kasi Rap without crediting the man who made it what it is today, Linda Mkhize aka Pro, formerly known as Prokid. According to an article by Newframe, South African Hip-Hop was struggling to find its own voice in the mid-2000s until the Kasi Rap exploded and put it on the spot. This was all thanks to Pro’s rise to stardom quenching South Africans’ thirst for a rapper who majorly rapped in his native language.
At the time, iconic Hip-Hop crew, Swatta Kamp had gone mainstream but needed the use of vernacular for their music to be more accepted. People weren’t really interested in rappers spitting English rhymes but needed something closer to home; someone they could relate to. That person turned out to be Pro. Even with his local rap persona, the veteran rapper became one of the first SA Hip-Hop artists to achieve mainstream success. He not only represented the hood (township), he also was a complete embodiment of it.
Although, he wasn’t really the first artist to rap in his native language (isiZulu), Pro’s clever use and manipulation of the language and his aggressive delivery endeared Hip-Hop fans to him. This paved the way for him in the industry. Many years after his rise, Pro’s music still fully represented the hood. All five of his albums; “Heads and Tales”, “DNA”, “Dankie San”, “Snakes & Ladders”, and “Continua” have a song about his hometown of Soweto. Pro became the father and face of Kasi Rap.
His style and influence lead to a rise in various other Kasi rappers in Mzansi. A lot of them today, including F-Eezy, Red Button, Mickey M, MT, Siya Shezi and more credit the late icon to have been a strong influence on their style. Throughout his time in the music industry till he passed, Pro did not change a thing about his style and continued to represent the townships.
Mzansi rapper, Kwesta, who has also been influenced by Pro once stated about him “He never took off the fact that he’s pro from the township. He wore that very proudly”.
However, Kasi Rap has not been entirely embraced by the media as much as it should be. It is not yet on TV but has amassed a great number of admirers and fans all over Mzansi. This is mostly made up of young people who watch and follow it on their mobiles and on the internet.