Who’s making music for the old heads anymore?
Most of the people that know me will be quick to let you know on my opinion on so called “Old Hip Hop Heads” aka “Staunch Heads” aka “the old guys who are too negative to appreciate anything new and are stuck in the past”. The rise of mumble rap has had these old heads foaming at the mouth with hate, which got me thinking, is there NO artist at all making music for the old heads these days??
No doubt that the South African hip hop scene is flourishing right now. If the gram is anything to go by, we can safely assume that artists are eating. Global appreciation of our local vibe is growing, with the cross-border collaborations that keep popping up. I would imagine this is the ideal thing any hip hop artist and fan alike would want, a flourishing industry that can sustain careers and livelihoods. In terms of content, however, it was inevitable that the local scene was going to emulate the trap wave that took the US by storm.
For a while, credibility in the game was given in the form of how underground of a rapper you are but let’s be honest, that’s not a sustainable form of business. Hip Hop was inevitably going to catch up with the ‘mainstream’ mainly because that’s pretty much the only way to be profitable. Bars alone won’t put food on the table, hence the evolution of hip hop to what it has become today.
So this got me thinking, is there justification for anyone to be making music that’s not for radio anymore? The hottest selling album right now without a doubt is Cassper’s Thuto. He’s been boisterous about the fact that he dropped a successful album without going trap but I wouldn’t be too quick to call Cass a representative of the old heads. We haven’t seen the likes of Mkhukhu Funkshen or Headphone Music In A Parallel World blaze the charts in a while. Old heads been blowing the dust off their CD’s to get that kind of boom bap.
Nowadays it’s rare to get an artist with both the bars and the sound, and many artists that used to rep the old heads switched up to chase that paper. I’d say Kwesta is the most successful artist to encompass both fields. He’s finally got the awards (if that sort of thing matters to you) to prove that with hard work, you don’t have to sacrifice the bars to sell. Guys like Youngsta fit this category too but if we’re keeping it a red underlined hundred emoji, I had high expectations for Big Star Johnson. Dude had fire bars on his come up on the first season of Vuzu Hustle. I peeped he dropped the Just 2 Flex single recently and the bars are definitely there, my personal opinion is that I think he could have taken his sound in a different direction. If there ever was a prodigal son that the old heads could have backed up to carry their torch for them, it’s Blackstar.
That’s all I got to rant about for now but always remember: these were just opinions, Nomzamo Mbatha is a goddess and The Vaal is the greatest place on earth.