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10 South African Musicians You Need To Check Out

October 27, 20177 min read

The South African music scene has always been a formidable one, and many of our artists have been touring the world and garnering international acclaim. Across the country, musicians are creating an entirely unique sound, and they have been incredibly successful in carving out a new vibe for South African music. The music is distinctly local, sometimes multilingual and always impactful. Some are just entering the scene, while some have been around for some time. You may already know a few who have been making the headlines recently, but, if you’re relatively new to our Mzansi music scene, these are the artists who are currently killing it. Give them a listen…you might just find your new favourite.

Nasty C

Currently South Africa’s most popular and freshest rapper, Nasty C is probably the coolest guy around right now. He continues to dominate the industry with hit after hit. He has been internationally recognised for his unabashed talent, and rightfully so. The rapper’s single, Juice Black, brought him to the forefront of the music industry, and he doesn’t seem keen to leave that spot. His debut album, Bad Hair, gave us amazing music like Hell Naw, which took over South African sound waves for a long while. Nasty C was just recently featured on Major Lazer’s explosive new track, Particula.

Check out Hell Naw:


With the release of her incredible debut album, Rose Gold, Shekhinah is on the fast track to international stardom. The album was much anticipated, as Shekhinah has only ever delivered brilliant tracks in the past. Fans will remember Back to the Beach and Let You Go with nostalgia, as these songs had become the season’s anthems in their time.  Her more recent song On It swept listeners away into a world of musical nirvana. Every song on Rose Gold takes you on a journey through the singer’s moods and expresses her pure talent in the perfect way.

Check out Suited:


Sketchy Bongo

Known as one of South Africa’s hottest producers, Sketchy Bongo is making his way to the top of the music scene. He continues to transcend genres, and his music is sparking renewed interest in the local sound. Almost every recent hit song has Sketchy Bongo behind it.

Check out Let You Know:

Kaien Cruz

Discovered on Instagram, Kaien Cruz exudes pure talent. She is also relatively new to the industry, and her music is already causing explosions on the sound waves. She was the voice behind Sketchy Bongo’s mega-hit Love Me In The Dark, and she continues to make incredible music. Her songs Body and Losing have been well-received by South African listeners.

Check out Love Me in the Dark:

Cassper Nyovest

Known for hits like Gusheshe and Doc Shebeleza, Cassper Nyovest is one of the hottest acts in South Africa right now. His music perfectly showcases the South African sound, and Cassper continues to deliver hits. Tito Mboweni, a song off his latest (and well received) album, Thuto, dominated the South African airwaves upon its release. Cassper Nyovest recently featured on Riky Rick’s new song, Stay Shining.

Check out Tito Mboweni:


Kwesta is known for his incredible rapping skills, and his ability to switch seamlessly between rapping in Zulu and English. His hit, Ngud’, had South Africa going crazy. Proudly South African, and with immense talent, Kwesta is a musical force to be reckoned with. Kwesta just collaborated with Wale on an epic new song, Spirit.

Check out Ngud’:



New to the scene, Ryki is already making waves with her incredible music. She just released a self-titled debut EP, and already, her fan base is growing. Her single, Throw You Down, caught a lot of time on the airwaves. It’s clear that Ryki is here to make her mark on this industry, and she is already off to an illustrious start.

Check out Throw You Down:

Dope Saint Jude

Dope Saint Jude should be your starting point for South African hip-hop. Dope Saint Jude is a queer rapper, with music that discusses gender, sexuality and societal expectations. Dope Saint Jude brings together sounds from the US and UK and blends them with South African rhythms to create explosive music.

Check out Romance and Realism:


Babes Wodumo

Afro house beats mixed with something that’s like rap, but not quite… ‘Gqom Queen’ Babes Wodumo is incredibly unique in her singing style. Her sound is proudly South African, and fans love it. Her most popular hit Wololo brought the gqom genre (a subgenre of house music created in the townships of Durban) to the forefront of mainstream media, and it had the whole country excited.

Check out Wololo:


Black Coffee

Probably South Africa’s biggest artist, Black Coffee makes magic with his signature house sound. His album Pieces of Me became a top-seller and he continues to bless us with hits. He has played at Coachella, and he had gigs in Ibiza, so it’s clear that Black Coffee is already worldwide. South African fans can be excited, however, as Black Coffee will be gracing us with his musical talent at Ultra South Africa next year!

Check out We Dance Again:



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Aishvarya Singh

Aishvarya Singh is an aspiring writer and law student. She is into books, Bollywood and social justice. When she's not writing, she is either binge watching series or reading. She lives in South Africa, and no, she does not have a pet lion. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @ai5hvarya Email: [email protected]

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