Much like the cowboy that ran up the hill to see how many arrow-wielding Indians his battalion faced, Hip-Hop historian and authentic Xhosa entertainment narrator Scoop Makhathini took a lot of hits for his comments on the state of South African Hip-Hop.
Why is SA Hip-Hop mad at Scoop Makhathini?
In particular, Scoop directed his thoughts on the dwindling future of the genre in Mzansi towards its custodians, the likes of AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Kwesta and whoever else has a commercial catalogue older than a decade.
For the sake of impartiality, we can’t speak on the POPcast co-host’s behalf. However, we can try and contextualise his thoughts without misrepresenting facts and assess what it is he was actually trying to say.
You can watch the clip that rubbed up South Africa’s second-generation Hip-Hop originators the wrong way but this is the gist of it:
“A lot of the dudes that are veterans in the game, I feel like (they) should take a break. AKA, Kwesta, Cassper, I feel like should go a year and just not release music and just chill. A part of me will always gravitate towards what they have to say because I know their story, but I feel like there are a lot of new artists that we might not be playing that are making much better music than the established cats.”
Scoop went on to draw ire from the SA Hip-Hop community, prompting responses from AKA, Kwesta and Nyovest who, we’ll just say, did not agree with his views.
Top SA rappers fry POPCast co-host for his ‘wild’ comments
This was their reaction to Scoop’s comments:
Is Scoop misunderstood? This is what we think he was saying
To try and understand the message Scoop was trying to convey, we need to look at how Hip-Hop has maintained relevancy for so many decades.
As the genre ages, it rebirths itself, borrowing from the death of others and changing its form much like a snake shedding skin or a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly,
In the United States (US), the birthplace of Hip-Hop, passing the baton is a way of carrying on the tradition. Artists, with the help of music labels, establish their brands and grow into imprints (a label used as a trademark or brand and not a company) that attract new talent and that’s how the wheel keeps spinning.
The label signs the artist and grooms them into becoming a superstar. In return, the established artist brings new talent, via his imprint, to the label for a stake in his or her masters and while that’s an argument for another day, a new star is born.
In South Africa, this tradition is not practised. Artists often sign to a music label and fail to use their influence to draw new talent to the mainstream.
This is not to say that it doesn’t happen. It may be that Focalistic owes his career to Nyovest, or that Yanga has AKA to thank for his stardom.
However, the scale of which this occurs is negligible at best. Proof of this is in a simple fact that SA Hip-Hop — not Hip-Pop — has not birthed a breakout star in years.
This could what Scoop was trying to say which, in our impartial view, is not a slite to established Hip-Hop artists. Instead, it may be a challenge to the genre’s authority: “step it up and bring new narratives to the fold”.
Of course, this was not reciprocated by the higher-ups.