The question “Is SA Hip Hop Dead?” was a major trending topic in 2021. While Mzansi pondered the answers to it, there was no denying the fact that SA Hip Hop artists absolutely delivered in 2021. From new projects to hardcore mixtapes, and EPs, there were chart-topping releases that were hard to ignore.
Also, several SA Hip Hop artists dominated the year with hits. Every delivery they made to the airwaves left a lasting impact that was heard all over Mzansi. It didn’t really matter that Amapiano did a major takeover in the charts, Mzansi rappers focused on giving the best that SA Hip Hop has to offer. A lot of the year’s biggest songs were from Hip Hop artists, and they were well received by the fans.
Artists like Big Zulu, A-Reece, Blxckie, Emtee, and more had the most memorable year. They dished everything from projects to singles and even did collabs. Now, check out our full list of the top SA Hip Hop artists this year;
1. Big Zulu
The success of the hit song, “Mali Eningi” was exactly what Big Zulu needed to prepare him for the year. He turned to a force and unleashed more jams including “Inhlupheko” featuring Mduduzi. He later dropped one of the year’s biggest albums “Ichwane Lenyoka”, and fans have not been able to shake it off.
The Reece Effect was something we could not shake off this year. Although silent, Reece’s moves made a big noise. He dropped the mixtape, “Today’s Tragedy, Tomorrow’s Memory”, and most recently joined forces with Jay Jody to deliver the acclaimed album “heaveN caN waiT: thE narroW dooR voL 1”.
Earlier this year, Blxckie made our list of SA Hip Hop artists to look out for this year. Fortunately, we weren’t wrong about him. He gave everything, did major collabs, and also delivered the chart-topping debut album “B4Now”. Blxckie truly owned 2021.
4. Nasty C
Every year, Nasty C proves he’s a Zulu Man to watch. He remained a stunner, dropping singles from his “Z.M.W.S.P” album. He also made it into the “Rhythms of Zamunda” soundtrack album. Nasty owned the year with collabs with Blxckie, Dax, Audiomarc, and more. He also thrilled fans with the banging joint “Jack”.
The Hustla never ceases to thrill. Emtee’s impact in 2021 cannot be emphasized. The Mzansi emcee started the year dropping singles. He delivered “Wave”, “Brand New Day”, “IThemba”, and “Johustleburg”, and later dropped his highly anticipated album “Logan”. He also appeared on various collabs with Chad Da Don and more and left fans wanting more.
It would be a heinous crime to not include Madumane in this list. Definitely one of the year’s biggest shockers. Madumane delivered the killer verse in the hit song “Izolo” by DJ Maphorisa, Tyler ICU, Visca, Mpura, and Daliwonga. It became one of the most talked-about topics this year.
7. Cassper Nyovest
No matter what Cassper Nyovest does, or where he goes, SA Hip Hop never leaves him. While Cass focused on Amapiano this year, he still made a resounding impact in the Hip Hop scene. With MajorSteez, he dropped “Asbonge”, and later ran solo on “The Pressure”.
25K put in very good work this year. The talented emcee blessed the airwaves with his debut album “Pheli Makaveli”. The album was preceded by the single “Hustler’s Prayer” featuring A-Reece. The album features contributions from Zoocci Coke Dope, Emtee, Flvme, Killa-X, and Maglera Doe Boy.
Following the impact of the previous year’s EP, “Bhovamania”, AKA moved to do more this year. The Mzansi emcee took one of the year’s biggest blows and came back stronger. He teamed up with Costa Titch to drop the project “You’re Welcome”. The project was promoted with the single “Super Soft” which was well received.
At the beginning of the year, K.O announced plans to drop new solo music and collabs from his label. He delivered. He dropped the joints “Playback”, “K:Hova”, and also contributed to the Skhandaworld album “Welcome To The Planet” which received praise from SA Hip Hop fans.
Flvme remained one of SA Hip Hop’s most interesting acts this year. While fans waited on the release of his next project, he dropped “While You Wait” to keep them entertained. He has also dropped freestyles, produced hit songs, and also collaborated with big names including Blxckie, Tshego, Ayanda Jiya, and more.
YoungstaCpt remains one of SA Hip Hop’s most acclaimed rappers. The talented emcee just closed out the year with the joint album “Dreams Don’t Pay Bills” with Shaney Jay. He has also dropped solo joints like “New Takkies”, and appeared on collabs Chad Da Don, Priddy Ugly, Shane Eagle, and more.
13. Khuli Chana
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Khuli Chana didn’t do much this year. But he made a lot of impacts. Chana’s switch to Amapiano was one for the books. He dropped “Buyile” in April, and returned with an official video in May. He also appeared on Stino Le Thwenny’s “Mshimane (Remix)”.
14. Costa Titch
Costa Titch remained a rapper to follow in 2021. His return as a lead act, while teaming up with SA Hip Hop’s best-selling artist, AKA was crazy. Together, they dropped the project “You’re Welcome”. Their lead single “Super Soft”, was one of the year’s coziest joints.
Rap’s big Queen, Boity owned her throne this year. Check her awards nominations and you’d see how true this is. She dropped singles off her EP “4436”, including “018’s Finest”, and an official remix. Boity also dropped the “She Can Anthem”, and appeared alongside Moonchild on Ms. Cosmo’s joint “Bhuti”.
16. Big Xhosa
Big Xhosa’s run in the SA Hip Hop scene began after his track “Inyile” went viral. He dissed SA Hip Hop’s biggest artists on it and got away with it. Xhosa gained the approval of the fans and won big names over to his side. He has since dished collabs with Ifani and Makwa.
Lucasraps has been killing it all year long. He dropped the best freestyles, and also dished the dopest joints. He topped it all off with the “031 To The World” album which was released on the last day of September. We still cannot shake the impact of the project.
18. Riky Rick
Boss Zonke remains king of the airwaves. Riky Rick soared through 2021, effortlessly. The Mzansi star contributed to the massive hit “Mali Eningi” by Big Zulu, and went on to feature on major Piano jams including “VSOP” and more. He also collaborated with pH RawX, Frank Casino, and more.
19. Yanga Chief
After closing out the previous year with the “Pop Star” album, Yanga Chief took things slow this year. He lent a hand to a couple of his colleagues including Bravo Le Roux on “Amandla”, Kwesta on “Thandazani”, and more. He also dropped “Ntoni Na” featuring Blxckie and 25k in September.
20. Nadia Nakai
No, Bragga did not spend the entire year on a “Yatch”, she also dished dope joints and chased the bag. In July, Nakai joined Gigi Lamayne and Te Amo on “I Gotta Go”. She also dropped “Practice” with her then-boyfriend, Vic Mensa, and appeared on collabs with J Molley, Indigo Stella, and more.