These Rappers Should Be On Your Playlist

As avid hip hop listeners, we’ve had older siblings who grew up in the 90s telling us how rappers used to drop some killer rhymes in the days of the N.W.A and Notorious B.I.G. The New Age rappers we are listening to today are often labelled as artists who only brag about money, use obscene language and objectify women. Many hip hop lovers who grew up before the force of the digital world believe that there has been a hiatus in the quality of good hip hop music and respectable crafters since the turn of the century. Well, I hold the opposite view. There are so many great accredited rappers that have rose to mainstream fame in the 2000s era. From Kendrick Lamar (U.S.A) to Kwesta (S.A), these artists have been making us clutch our non-existent pearls with their hit songs. Don’t get it twisted though, because the girls are out there killing the game as well. Have you sat down and listened to Rouge (S.A)? And if you tell me that you haven’t been screaming out some Cardi B (U.S.A) lyrics lately, I’ll tell you that you’re lying or ask what rock you’re living under. It is safe to say that this generation has acquired a number of rappers to brag about in years to come. If you haven’t listened to the work that these artists have put out, what are you waiting for?      


Chance the Rapper (U.S.A)          

Chance has been making waves since the release of his first mixtape in 2012. A proud Chicago native, he currently holds three Grammy Awards including one for his streaming-only album, the first to ever do it [and he’s only 25]. Apart from his music, he is also recognised for his philanthropy through the charitable work that he has been doing for his community. Such work include raising millions of dollars through his Social Works initiative for schools in Chicago. His best songs include the critically acclaimed “No Problem” from his 2016 album Colouring Book and “Acid Rain” from his 2013 album Acid Rap. He has also done a lot of great features with other artists including my personal favourite “All my friends” with Snakehips and Tinashe.


Logic (U.S.A)

Born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, Logic has often described himself as a guy who just wants to make people happy and spread a positive message to the world. Well, he definitely did that with his song 1-800-273-8255 featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid whose title is the phone number of the U.S National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. He has been at it since 2009 and has now released a total of seven mixtapes and three studio albums. As an up and coming rapper, Logic’s music was influenced by the hip hop group Wu Tang Clan and Frank Sinatra, and the latter inspired the title of his third mixtape Young Sinatra.


Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover (U.S.A)

I first knew of Childish Gambino when he was featured at the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards Cyphers. A familiar face on Time 100’s most influential people in the world, Donald Glover, [as he now prefers to be called] is not only a musician but a multi-talented artist who has created, written, directed, produced and starred in his series Atlanta, focussed on two young African Americans trying to make it into the rap scene. This year, he performed his song “Terrified” at the Grammys and went on to win a Best Traditional RnB Performance Award for his song “Redbone” in the same event. His politically awakening song “This is America” debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and currently has over two hundred million views on YouTube, and it’s only been a month since it was published. Phewww!!! Talk about putting in the work.


Kendric Lamar (U.S.A)

Of course Kendrick made it here. I mean, why wouldn’t he? The guy is a legend. His song “All the Stars” featuring SZA had me rapping his verse word for word all the way to the movie theatre to watch Black Panther. He is considered as the best rapper of all time by the Digital Media Company Genius and this year he won a Pulitzer Price for Music, an award often won by Classic and Jazz artists [I bet you didn’t know what a Pulitzer was before Kendrick won it, and if you still didn’t know, now you do, and it’s because of Kendrick]. Seriously, his work speaks for itself. He encapsulates the complexities of life in the U.S as an African American, often alludes to the country’s politics and culture and at the same time speaks on his emotions and motivations. It seems like he keeps getting better and better with every album he releases. Just when I thought To Pimp a Butterfly could not be outdone, he went on and released DAMN. Damn indeed!


Cardi B (U.S.A)

Love her or hate her, Cardi B has secured a spot as one of the world’s best hip hop it girls. We all said 2017 was her year but that was mainly due to the success of her number one single “Bodak Yellow”. Now she has her album Invasion of Privacy out, and boy oh boy is it something. If you have not been following her on Instagram, you can clearly get a sense of her life story from her music, such as from her song “Best life” featuring Chance the Rapper where she speaks about her past and where she is right now in her career. She has been featured on many top ranking songs including “Motor Sport” with Migos and Nicki Minaj and “Finesse” with Bruno Mars. She attended her first Met Gala this year, recently won Top Rap Female Artist at this year Billboard Music Awards and performed at Coachella.


Kwesta (S.A)

Kwesta is one local South African artist who entices fans with his relatable lyric genius [and his voice]. His album Dakar II is by far his best work to date in terms of sales and content. It has been verified seven times platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa and last year he took over the SAMAs by winning 5 awards. The success of his Album is no surprise because songs like “Ngud” featuring Cassper Nyovest and the love song “Ngyaz’fela” featuring Thabsie had us hooked. All in all, “Spirit” is undoubtedly one for the books. The song which features American hip hop artist Wale speaks on the resilience of South African people through hardship. Kwesta took us to the township with his video for “Spirit” and encouraged us to have hope and keep going in the face of adversity. A force to be reckoned with!


Rouge (S.A)

She is a rapper with a talent that is unmatched. This Pretoria born and raised rapper has been pushing through the hip hop scene since her teenage years. Her alma mater is the University of Pretoria where she graduated in Drama and Film in 2014. She has a regal personality that is showcased through her music. In 2016, her singles “Mbongo Zaka” featuring another female rapper, Moozlie and “Sheba Ngwan” were chat toppers on many South African radio stations. Her debut album The New Era Sessions which includes the single “Déjà vu” won her Best Female Rapper at the South African Hip Hop Awards in 2017. The same year, she also participated in the MTV Base Cyphers under the New Skool category alongside Maraza and Priddy Ugly. Rouge keeps coming for our coins, but we don’t mind.


Sho Madjozi (S.A)

Sho Madjozi came into the South African hip hop scene and said listen, I’m going to rap in Xitsonga and whether you like it or not, you’re going to pay attention to my craft. A rapper, poet and actress, Madjozi has been breaking boundaries in South African entertainment by rapping in Xitsonga [a language often marginalised within the South African community] and doing so as a female artist in a musical genre that is largely dominated by men. She holds true to her culture by wearing Xebelani skirts and you will always see her rocking her trademark braided hairstyle. Her songs include “Dumi Hi Phone”, “A Mi Ku Yini” and a feature on a song by the hip hop DJ Ms Cosmo titled “Ay Baby” with other female South African artists. We need more people like Sho Madjozi out here for real.