Cape Town hip-hop: where community and culture meet

Cape Town’s hip-hop legacy is heralded for pioneering the movement towards community development and change for good. DJ Angela Weickl gives a glimpse into the scene.

Organisations such as Heal The Hood use hip-hop music, b-boy culture and related activities to encourage youth to rise above their circumstances and not succumb to the gravitational pull of crime and gangsterism. By emphasising the importance of art and culture, there is a better sense of unity and strength that is vital in these circumstances.

Uppercut is a weekly party that takes place every Friday at The Waiting Room on Long Street. An institution amongst hip-hop fans, each week the event offers a different take on the genre. Their Golden Era events pay homage to the prime of hip-hop in the late 1980s and early ’90s, while their Now Era events feature latter-day hits.

Red Bull Studios collaborates on projects with Cape Town hip-hop and urban artists regularly, opening up the studio space to rising rappers and producers and releasing their music through the studio’s channels. Red Bull itself hosts events like Corner 2 Corner, which follows hip hop artists as they perform in their communities, as well as local qualifying legs of the prestigious worldwide BC One B-Boy competition.

Hip-hop in Cape Town covers the spectrum from socially conscious rap music to carefree dance parties. It has infiltrated most mainstream events and clubs with almost every venue in the city featuring at least one hip-hop influenced party or event every month.

Hip-hop is alive and thriving in Cape Town!

It may not be as visible as other genres, but Cape Town’s hip-hop scene is robust and kicking – particularly in Afrikaans. Rapper Lee-ursus breaks down who you should be seeking out.

With apps, programmes and the Internet in general making it easy for everybody and their mother to “drop a project”, authenticity is somewhat lacking in the greater hip-hop mix. But as what excites me is the growth of spaza, and Afrikaans rap in particular.

I’ve either performed or collaborated with these folks and can say they’re certified – hood approved. Simon Witbooi is currently one of the emcees at the forefront of Afrikaans rap, an “edutainer” and a great advocate for the movement. Apart from his appearances on television as either performer or presenter, he’s also actively involved with the akTV  as part of their songwriting school.

In my humble opinion, Siepsokkie (Martin Muller) is without a doubt one of the greatest –your favourite Afrikaans emcee’s favourite Afrikaans emcee. Part of the Boesman Kamp Collective and Ill Major Movement, this brother is active in the community using hip hop and skating as media to guide the youth in seeking alternatives to a life of crime.

For live performances, but mainly spoken word events try Inzync poetry sessions in Stellenbosch.

And an honourable mention to Sir Isaac mutant – Dookoom frontman and one of the forefathers of Afrikaans emceeing.