South African listeners continue to elevate Mzansi Hip hop

Written by on 22 August, 2023

As the world marks the 50th anniversary of Hip hop, locally per Spotify data, South African Gen Zs between the ages of 18-24 years lead all Hip hop streams in South Africa with 55% of the streams. They are followed by 25-29 year-olds at 19%, with 30-55+ year-olds clocking percentages under 10%. From a gender perspective, South African Hip hop music appeals overwhelmingly to males more than females, with recorded streams of 75% versus 24% respectively.

Drake, J Cole, 21 Savage, Metro Boomin, Future, and Kendrick Lamar are the top streamed artists of the genre in South Africa. AKA, is still topping charts posthumously, as the most streamed South African Hip hop artist, followed by Nasty C then Blxckie.

Earlier this year, Spotify partnered with Cotton Fest to showcase the history of the Hip Hop movement in South Africa, and celebrated some of the pioneers of the genre in an installation at the event. Titled Black and White: Wall of Legends, the installation celebrated the genre’s pioneers, as well as key milestones in the South African Hip hop scene.


The installation took Cotton Fest attendees through different stages that have contributed to South African Hip hop’s current status. Skwatta Kamp were highlighted as the genre pioneers, HHP for collectives that helped local Hip hop break through, Nadia Nakai as a woman in Hip hop, and for breakthrough artists, A-Reece was profiled.

South African Hip hop continues to travel locally and internationally, fuelled by streaming services. Spotify’s launch in South Africa in 2018 simultaneously birthed genre-specific playlists like Mzansi Raps, a key playlist housing South African hip-hop music. Mzansi Raps’ growth of 865% since launch, is a testament to South African Hip hop’s viability. The playlist gets love across the continent, counting Botswana, Nigeria, Lesotho, Kenya, and Eswatini as some of its fans.

Occasions like the 50th anniversary of Hip hop are opportunities to celebrate and honor culture-defining moments as a result of music while implementing effective programs to export our music globally. South African Hip hop is a force to be reckoned with; established artists like Nasty C and Blxckie are holding their own, while artists like Loatinover Pounds and Wordz are coming up, and listeners are paying attention”, says Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s Head of Music for Sub-Saharan Africa.

In South Africa, most of Mzansi Raps streams come from top 5 cities;  Johannesburg, followed by Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth.

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